Eric Wells was born and raised in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Eric attended Northeastern State University and obtained a BBA in Information Systems in 2012. Currently, Eric is Director of Information Systems at Muskogee Public Schools.
Eric was unaware of the growing epidemic of sex trafficking. In his capacity at the schools, Eric has seen firsthand how severe the damages of sex crimes can be. Sadly for girls in the sex trade, help may come too late. Eric understands and sees the need for organizations like RISE to come to life. He is intent on spreading awareness to others about sex trafficking.
In his spare time Eric enjoys cycling, water sports, washing cars, and spending time with family
Rob was born and raised in Muskogee, Oklahoma and is a graduate of Hilldale High School. He served in the U.S. Marines from 1988 - 1992. He is a combat veteran of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. He is the recipient of the National Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with 2 bronze stars, Good Conduct Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon 2nd Award, Arctic Service Ribbon, Combat Action Ribbon, and Letter of Appreciation 2nd Award.
Rob served on the Muskogee Police Department from 2006 - 2016. He was involved in the Patrol Division, Special Investigations Division (undercover and drug investigations), and Investigations Division (led and assisted in violent crimes within the city of Muskogee). He also served on FBI District Violent Crime Task Force, where he led and assisted with violent crime investigations (state and federal) within the Eastern District of Oklahoma.
Rob was elected to serve as the Muskogee County Sheriff from 2017 - 2020. As the Sheriff, he operated the Sheriff's office on a limited budget, oversaw operations at the Muskogee County jail, oversaw security operations at the Muskogee County Courthouse, and oversaw patrol duties throughout Muskogee County.
Rob is a 2019 graduate of the FBI National Academy and currently serves as the Police Chief of Ft. Gibson Police Department.
Steve Strode grew up in Schenectady, New York, where he graduated from Linton High School, and attended Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa, before transferring to Oklahoma State University. He graduated from Central State University in Edmond, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree with a double major in Psychology and Sociology. He worked for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections in the Division of Probation & Parole for 23 years, and then worked for nearly 10 years for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, in Child Welfare Services, until retiring. While at DOC, Steve obtained his MS in Criminal Justice Administration from OSU, and also became a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor in Moral Reconation Therapy, a cognitive behavior modality. Throughout his 34 year career with the State of Oklahoma, Steve has worked to ensure that children are protected and safe, and that the adults and parents address the issues that brought them to the attention of the court system.
Steve took early retirement from the State of Oklahoma in 2008, in order for him to be better able to care for his mother who came to live with him in 2006. After retirement, he continued to volunteer with the Post Adjudication Review Board, and currently serves on the board of Directors of the Child Abuse Network (CAN) in Tulsa. In his spare time, Steve enjoys keeping up with Oklahoma State University sports and spending time with his granddaughters
Sherry was born in Muskogee, making her an Okie from Muskogee. She was raised a country girl outside of Warner. Sherry graduated from Northeastern State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education, her major being Special Education with a certification in Elementary Education. She is the mother of seven children and grandmother to five. At the age of 16 Sherry became a Sunday school teacher and was also active in her country church as pianist and song leader.
She is currently a business owner in the textile arts industry, but is planning on returning to teaching in the near future.
Sherry was looking for a ministry in which to serve and became aware of the RISE ministry around the time they opened their doors. She began a sewing class there that is ongoing to teach the girls a life skill and give them another outlet for their creativity.
Sherry and her husband, Steve, have been married for nine years and enjoy spending time together gardening, doing home improvement, sky diving (once!) and digging deeper into their Christian faith.
Nick was born and raised in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Nick is currently attending OSU IT and is scheduled to graduate in the Spring of 2021 with a BAS in Digital Forensics and Cyber Security. Nick is currently the Network Administrator for the Muskogee City/County 911 Center.
Nick became aware about the issue of sex trafficking when RISE was under construction. At the time he was working for Muskogee Public Schools technology department, and those employees volunteered to install cameras, networks, and computers. After learning about and seeing firsthand the work RISE was doing, Nick knew he wanted to be involved and spread awareness.
In his spare time Nick enjoys being on the lake, spending time with the family, and being a father.
Shelly is an Agent and Financial Advisor with Oklahoma Farm Bureau. But her greatest achievement is being the mom to two beautiful daughters, Aspen, 24, and Autumn, 22; and Gigi to a precious almost 2 year old named Brighton.
Shelly has a passion for girls trying to find their way in this crazy world. With her faith in God and life experiences she is able to show girls love, compassion and guidance without fear of judgement or condemnation. She is proud to be on the RISE Board and contribute where she can to this more than worth cause.
Founder & Executive Director
KERI SPENCER, J.D.
Keri Spencer grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma, graduated from Hilldale High School and holds an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Connors State College, a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Williams Baptist College and a Law Degree from the University of Arkansas. She is a licensed attorney in the states of Arkansas and Oklahoma. Keri has spent her entire professional career as an attorney advocating for at risk youth. As a prosecutor in juvenile court, then as an attorney for DHS handling foster care cases, her life’s work has been to ensure that the children and youth of her communities are safe, loved and equipped to become healthy, happy, productive adults.
She has been an adjunct instructor of criminal justice at Bacone College in Muskogee, and has worked on the pastoral staff at New Community Church where, among other things, she provided legal consultation and oversaw the church’s policies on child abuse reporting. In her capacity as Founder & Executive Director of RISE, Keri has worked tirelessly alongside the Board of Directors in seeing RISE opened and operational so that the girls RISE will serve will become survivors living restored lives free of the sex trade.
Married for 25+ years, Keri and her husband, Steve, have 2 grown daughters. They enjoy spending time at the beach when they are not both traveling for work
Dr. Lynett Rock was born and raised in Oklahoma. After several years living in Dallas her family decided to move back to Muskogee for good, Lynett is employed at Connors State College where she is the Division Chair of Mathematics, Science, and Physical Education. Dr. Rock recently received her Doctorate in Education from Oklahoma State University. Dr. Rock was unaware of the scope of domestic trafficking in the United States until her research turned her attention to the current epidemic.
Dr. Rock is the mother to three wonderful children: Scarlet, Tyler and Harrison. When Dr. Rock is not inside a classroom you can find her riding one of her horses or spending time with her family
Wendy Qualls was raised in Tahlequah, Oklahoma where she graduated from Northeastern State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration and Accounting degree. Wendy is currently pursuing a MBA in Managerial Accounting and Financial Analysis at Northeastern State University. She is currently V.P. of Finance at Burrow's Post Frame Supply in Ft. Gibson.
Wendy was introduced to human trafficking while searching for a ministry to devote her time to. She was unaware of the magnitude of the human trafficking industry at that time. Today she is passionate about educating youth to detect human trafficking among their friends and schoolmates.
Wendy is married to her husband, Jason, of 19 years and they have 2 daughters. Wendy currently lives in Warner and enjoys spending time with her family.
Kristy Carlton is a shareholder at Beaird Harris & Co., P.C. (a Texas CPA Firm). Kristy is actively involved in the firm's Practice Management and Process Development Team. As the shareholder in charge of Accounting Services, Kristy also oversees the firm's Financial Statement and Payroll division and is responsible for keeping the firm apprised of the latest industry compliance and regulations.
Kristy graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor's of Science in Accounting from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2000 and became a CPA in 2003. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Oklahoma Society of CPAs.
Kristy lives in Muskogee with her husband, Ryan, and their four children. In their free time, they enjoy being outdoors and attending kids' extra - curricular activities.
Kayla was introduced to the issue of sex trafficking at age 13 when a documentary was shown at her youth group. This issue absolutely broke her heart. In 2013 she approached her mom, finally ready to "do something" about human trafficking. While she immediately knew that helping to open a shelter was the end goal, she and the small team that had formed decided it would be best to start with awareness and education for themselves and the community. In 2015 her mom formed RISE and the work began. Kayla has worked to help spread the word about RISE and the work being done there. In 2020 she became a member of the board and serves as the fundraising chair.
Kayla is a hairdresser and owns a salon suite in Edmond, Oklahoma. She works as a Brand Influencer for ELEVEN Australia. She also started a women's ministry called Pursued that puts on an annual women's retreat as well as a retreat for the girls living at RISE.
In her free time, Kayla enjoys watching movies or playing with her two pups Bentley and Winston. She and her boyfriend Dillon travel any time they get the chance!
Sommer was born and raised in Oklahoma. She graduated from Okay High School and went on to get a Bachelor's Degree in Business with an emphasis in Accounting. She is currently working on her Master's in Social Work from the University of Oklahoma.
Sommer has worked in the field of child welfare and advocacy for almost 20 year and is an adult survivor of sex trafficking. Sommer began her career at the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and continued working there for 15 years aiding the vulnerable and oppressed families in her community. Sommer went on to work for Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare. She has always valued her opportunity to work with child sexual abuse and trafficking victims as well as the families in the community where she lives. She has devoted her life to advocacy and change of the system that represents vulnerable and oppressed. She feels blessed to serve on the board of RISE and led to continue working in any capacity to help her community understand the importance of advocacy, prevention, and treatment of child sex trafficking victims.
Sommer has 2 daughters and one son. When she isn't working she is spending time outdoors with her family and two dogs. Sommer values self-care and is very mindful in the physical, social, spiritual, and psychological health of herself and her family. She refills her cup through spending times with her family, friends, attending church and working out.