Mercy Support Services is fortunate to have a dedicated board of volunteers representing many parts of our community.


R. Patrick Hayle

Executive Director and CEO
In 1997, Patrick joined the City Rescue Mission where he served in various capacities, eventually assuming the role of Executive Director and CEO in 2003. He left in 2010 and enjoyed a brief period of semi-retirement while doing consulting work with his wife. Having been a Clay County resident for 21 years, and knowing the need for improvement in homeless conditions here, Patrick now serves as Executive Director and CEO at Mercy Support Services. His experience and leadership in the community have produced growth and a vision for Mercy that has a major impact in Clay County.

Jeff Boyer

Director of Resource Development
Jeff Boyer began his relationship with Mercy Support Services as a volunteer in March, 2016, and joined the staff in January 2017. He retired from the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast in June, 2011 as Chief Operation Officer. He was integral in the growth of the YMCA in Clay County, including the expansion of the Dye-Clay YMCA and the development of the Barco-Newton YMCA in Fleming Island. Jeff’s position includes direct oversight of Marketing and Development. He believes “we should help make a difference in the lives of others with basic needs – a roof over their heads, food, clothing and support of someone who cares.”

Dena Collins

Director of Operations
Dena Collins has been a Jacksonville/Orange Park native for 45 years. Coming from corporate America to the Mercy family in 2017, she brings extensive administrative leadership skills. Also deeply involved in ministry leadership and missions over the last 16+ years, she directly oversees the Programs of Mercy – the client call center, intake and screening, rapid re-housing, eviction prevention program, self-sufficiency program, and care coach training.

Sophie Dentiste

Development Assistant
With a diverse background in marketing, business development, and community relations, Sophie has created incentive programs for JAA as well as being VP of Compliance for a Healthy Products company. She was brought in as Project Manager for Recovering Clay, a special project to help Hurricane Irma victims, and fell in love with the Mercy’s mission. She was hired as Administrative Assistant to the CEO in 2018. She also has been a licensed artist and designer with her own business online since 2015.

Frances Walters

Lead Care Agent
Frances has lived in Florida for 7 yrs. She retired in 2014, and within a few months, entered a Senior Program that partners with organizations to enhance their skills. She came to Mercy in 2015 for training, and part-time assistance and in 2017 she was hired as Lead Care Agent. Frances is usually the first touch that clients experience at Mercy, assisting them with available resources, solutions and many times, hope. She says, “I love Mercy and being placed here to help people.”

Melissa Whitaker

Program Manager
Melissa has had a sincere passion for the issues surrounding homelessness in Clay County families since her 12 years of working as the homeless advocate for the Clay County school system. She brings extensive knowledge of the issues and a personal rapport with the clients that helps her to be the perfect choice in helping to manage the growing programs and needs. From initial intake, evaluations and the details of daily management for the families in residence, Melissa is a cheerful addition to our Mercy family!