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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.

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!

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.

JoLynn Carter

Assistant Development Director
JoLynn's entire life has been associated with the United States Military. Growing up as an Army brat; then marrying her Navy service member, she has moved 14 times, and has a world of experiences with different parts of the country and different walks of life. With a Marketing Degree in Business Administration, JoLynn’s corporate work experience includes Media Buying, Radio Sales and being the Marketing Manager at Thrasher-Horne Center. She has volunteered for almost 30 years putting together events for various organizations including Mercy Support Services since 2015. She also continues to teach fitness classes. JoLynn feels humbled and grateful to be a part of Mercy’s Christ-centered mission of helping people in need in Clay County.
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Phyllis Simpson

Programs Associate
Dr. Phyllis Simpson is the CEO and Founder of Phyllis M Simpson, LLC, a Christian Counseling, Transformational Life Coaching and Leadership Development Consulting ministry. She is a servant leader, passionate about making a difference in the lives of others, empowering them to discover their potential, passion, and purpose (helping them to deal with their past as well as closing the gap between where they are and where they want to be). Dr. Phyllis is an ordained minister of the Gospel of Christ, credentialed in Transformational Life Coaching, through Dream Mentors International, Orange Park, Florida, received her Doctorate of Christian Counseling degree from Jacksonville Theological Seminary (JTS), and is a Maxwell Method Certified DISC Consultant through the John Maxwell Team. She has over 30 years of experience in HR and holds a BA in Interpersonal Group Communication from Trinity International University, Deerfield, Illinois. Dr. Phyllis is a cheerful addition to our Programs team!
Cynthia Hale

Cynthia Hale

Staff Accountant/Operations
Cynthia has over 15 years of experience in finance. Cynthia has owned and operated several successful businesses here in Clay County that include a pizzeria and trucking company that her husband, Mike still operates today. In her spare time in the past, she has worked with the Clay County School Board and The Clay County Chamber of Commerce. Cynthia is a devoted wife and mother of two teenagers. When Cynthia is not calculation numbers for you, she can be found at Clay High cheering on her daughter and the softball team. Cynthia’s likes are spending as much time as she can with her family. She enjoys watching sports especially her children, playing fetch with her dogs, sitting on her front porch with her husband taking about their day, and Sundays spent in church. Cynthia and her family attend Cornerstone Baptist Church in Middleburg. “I am so blessed to be apart of such and amazing team here at Mercy Support Services. I truly believe in this organization and what it stands for. I’m speechless on the number of people Mercy Support Services has been able to help during hard times in this world through programs and collaborations with so many agencies here in Clay County and most importantly through the word and hands of our lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “
Mary Joy

Mary Joy Fiore

Lead Care Agent
Mary Joy has volunteered for Mercy Support Services alongside her husband, Tony since 2017. She recently transitioned on staff as a call center care agent. Mary Joy assesses phone calls from our local community in need of spiritual or financial assistance; all while maintaining Mercy’s core values of self sufficiency. As an Orange Park native, Mary Joy has worked with local churches in the Jacksonville and Orange Park community helping to pursue the Kingdom of God. She is an advocate for youth ministry and has served faithfully as a Youth leader at the Celebration Northside center. Mary Joy enjoys spending her free time paddle boarding and exploring many of the beautiful State Parks and crystal clear springs. She is honored to be a part of the Mercy team and serve the Clay County community.

Laura Hardegree

Administrative 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.
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Brandi Tubbs

Development Associate
Born and raised in Clay County, Brandi has a passion for helping others which led her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Florida. As a single mother working her way through school, she has become a “jack of all trades” but says she has found her purpose here at Mercy. Our newest addition to the Mercy team, Brandi is excited to develop our volunteer program, ministry partners, social media, and donor management system. Brandi also serves at Highpoint Community Church as assistant worship leader and spends the remainder of her free time on the football field with her son.

Sophie Dentiste

Development Associate
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 now assists the development team with Communications She also has been a licensed artist and designer with her own business online since 2015.