Belinda Fugate- Founder
We are Mike and Belinda Fugate and Brandon is our son. The simple fact is, if Brandon had been wearing his life jacket, he would not have drowned. We raise money for search and rescue, but more importantly to educate the public on the importance of life jackets. Drowning prevention is not about blame, it's about education. Please learn from our stories so there will never be one more.
Bill is a Senior Vice President at Bank of America where he has responsibility for Release and Change Management for the consumer banking business and technology organizations. He has over 25 years experience in the financial and technology industries.
Previous to Bank of America Bill served in the US Army as an Airborne Field Artillery officer, where he led various military units.
In his role as President of the Board for the BMF Project Bill provides direction and strategic direction in all aspects of the organization operation, marketing and finances.
He is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys hunting, fishing and most importantly spending time with his wife Christie and their three children (Taylor, Heather and Will),
Garry K. Collins—Vice President
Garry was elected to the board of the BMF Project in 2016. Although having been involved in the
organization since its inception. Garry was the commander of the search that recovered Brandon from Lake Ray Hubbard.
Worked in Law enforcement since 1973. Went to work for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Law Enforcement Division in 1980.
In 1998 was promoted to Captain Game Warden in the Garland District. The District included 8 counties in the Dallas area. The District contains the second most public water in any Game Warden District in Texas which meant supervising a lot of water safety patrols, boat accident investigations and drowning victim recoveries. Retired in 2011 and has lived in Forney, Texas since 1998.
Married to his wife Beth since 1974 and has 2 children and 3 grandchildren.
Michele Trongaard, CPA, RTSBA - Treasurer
Michele, serves as The BMF Project, Inc. Treasurer since inception in 2009. She is a true believer in safety awareness and benefiting search and rescue teams across the country. She is currently employed with the Wylie Independent School District as Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations overseeing $256 million budget including state and federal grants. Trongaard is also a board member for the Texas Association of School Business Officials instructing others across the state and selected as the only school district in Texas and amongst six nationwide to be on the Alliance for Excellence in School District Budgeting for the GFOA (Government Finance Officers Association).
She is married to Jeff and together they have six children.
Retired from the Corporate world with 28 years experience as an Executive Administrative Assistant for Presidents, Vice Presidents and Directors. I’m excited to use my experience and skills as Secretary for the BMF Project. I eagerly support their Mission Statement and welcome the opportunity to be a part of this Non-Profit organization honoring Brandon Michael Fugate and the education of water safety.
Married 48 years to her husband Melvin and has two children and 4 grandchildren
Melvin Crews—Board Member
Retired from AT&T management and currently a professional commercial real estate appraiser. Melvin is an avid outdoors man and is a integral part of our board.
Brandi Hodge—Board Member
Brandi was elected to the board of The BMF Project in 2017.
Brandi is a native Texan with a BFA from Texas Christian University. She has spent nearly 10 years in advertising and marketing, most recently at Boot Campaign, a nonprofit dedicated to helping wounded military service members, veterans and their families. She is excited to lend her talents to The BMF Project as she grew up on the lake and knows how important life jackets are. She dreams of owning a home on Lake Grapevine but for now she lives in Lewisville with her long time boyfriend, two crazy cats and a dog. All of them are excited to help make a positive impact in the water world.
Kellye Vierling—Board Member
A stay at home Mom for many years raising her son Reed, Kellye currently is employed by Fort Worth Custom Pools as an Administrative Assistant. Married to husband Derek for 23 years and they have a high school senior, Reed. Kellye brings to the board an insight and makes all of us better at what we do.
Michael Vondra—Board Member
Michael has served as a board member of The BMF Project since 2011. A native North Texan, he was born and raised in the DFW area and holds a BS in Accounting from the University of North Texas. Mike is currently a Manager in UPS’ Global Accounting Center, where he has been employed for the past 27 years; he has served as UPS’ local annual United Way Fund-Raising Coordinator for several years, and has also previously served on United Way’s Grant Committee. Mike is a long-standing member of UNT Alumni Association and the Lambda Chi Alpha Chapter Alumni. When he isn’t working, you can usually find Mike camping, attending local football games, and spending time with his wife and two dogs.
Don was born and raised in Dallas, TX and is married to the love of his life, Barbara. After retiring from the corporate world, he assumed the position of Executive Director after serving on the board of directors since the inception of the BMF Project. When not working on BMF Project related items, he spends his time working on restoring a 1954 Chevy Sedan Delivery or is in the pool.