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.”
Phyllis Headshot

Phyllis Simpson

Call Care Agent
Phyllis is the CEO and Founder of Phyllis M Simpson, LLC, a Christian transformational life coach and leadership development consulting business. She is a servant-leader, entrepreneur in the personal and professional development industry, passionate about making a difference in the lives of others. As an Executive Director of The John Maxwell Team, Phyllis is a Maxwell Method Certified DISC Consultant and is certified to coach, speak, train and facilitate in the area of leadership development, personal growth and professional skills. She has over 30 years of experience in HR and holds a BA in Interpersonal Group Communication from Trinity International University, Deerfield, Illinois. She is an ordained commissioned minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a Doctorate of Ministry Degree. She is a cheerful addition to our first-resonder team!
sschneller (002)

Steve Schneller

Development Support
We welcome Steve Schneller, a native Kentuckian and a big fan of the Univ. of Kentucky Wildcat basketball team. He has had ministries in Virginia, North Carolina and Florida as youth minister, associate minister, and preaching minister. 30 years of experience in sales and recruitment, He has worked with Dignity U Wear, American Heart Assoc. and American Cancer Society. He loves to engage people and meet their needs. He is also known as Pops to his children and grandchildren and Mr. Fixit to those who know his love of fixing things. He is so glad to be a part of the family of ministry with Mercy Support Services, helping others to live full and enriched lives. He is married to his wonderful wife Kay, going into their 46th year. They have 3 incredible children, 2 girls and a boy, who are grown, with 8 of the best grandchildren anyone could have. He stays active with volleyball, biking, and flying drones - not all at the same time of course!

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!

Laura Hardegree

Program Assistant
Laura, a mom of two amazing kids, and her husband Adam have been in full time ministry for over 14 years. As Charleston, SC natives, they moved to Orange Park in 2017 to follow the call of God to Journey Church where she serves on the creative, prayer and kids ministries. She is passionate about serving others so they can experience the tangible, vast, and intimate love of Christ. Laura joined the Mercy staff August of this year as Program Assistant. Her level of integrity, faith and tremendous work ethic have proven to be a wonderful addition to our team! She helps us in handling the onslaught of COVID cases, working with the Call Center and Programs.