Board of Directors

Neema Village Board of Directors

Michael Fortson

Michael Fortson is the Founder and Executive Director of Neema Village. Beginning as a young missionary in 1965 in Mbeya, Michael has a long history of service in Tanzania. Michael graduated from Abilene Christian University with a B.A. in Biblical Studies and served as Campus Minister at Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas from 1976-2005. He has also served as a senior minister at other churches and is proficient in planning and implementing new projects/programs.

Dorris Fortson

Dorris Fortson is the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of Neema Village. Dorris has a true understanding of the plight of these children as she was raised in an orphanage from age 4 to age 18. She is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University and retired from there as the Events Coordinator and also received the President’s Achievement Award and Distinguished Alumnus Award. She served with Michael as a missionary in Tanzania and as a pastor’s wife for many years. She is also the author of 6 children’s books.

Dr. Sue Hamby

Dr. Sue Hamby is a retired nursing administrator from Department of Veteran Affairs. She is also a real estate entrepreneur and has owned her own business for the past 28 years. Dr. Hamby has served on many Board of Directors including Compass Bank, American Heart Association, Temple Chamber of Commerce, Citizens for Progress and many more. She received her PhD from Texas A&M University and is co-author of two books. She has been recognized as Outstanding Citizen, Small Business Person of the Year and Notable Women of Texas. She has volunteered in orphanages in Japan, Russia, and Tanzania in the past. Sue has been to Neema Village as a volunteer.

Dr. Jack Pape

Dr. Jack Pape served churches as preaching minister and senior minister from 1962 until his retirement. He retired from the ministry in 2005 as the senior minister from Eastside Church of Christ in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He received his Doctorate of Ministry from Abilene Christian University. Dr. Pape has served as Director of School of Preaching in the Mbeya region of Tanzania East Africa and has spent several months volunteering at Neema Village with his wife, Sylvia. He has been the keynote speaker at Oklahoma Christian University and guest teacher at Pepperdine University, Oklahoma Christian University and Abilene Christian University.  Jack goes regularly to Neema Village as a volunteer.

Sylvia Pape

Sylvia Pape is a retired educator. She received her B.S. in Education from Abilene Christian University and has done post graduate work at Stephen F. Austin University, University of Texas at El Paso, Chapman College, Colorado State University and University of the Rockies. Sylvia was a school director for 10 years and is listed in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. She and her husband, Dr. Jack Pape visit regularly at Neema as volunteers.

Robert Dale Fortson

Robert Dale Fortson is the son of Michael and Dorris Fortson and was born in Tanzania. He attended Abilene Christian University and graduated from Oklahoma Christian University. Robert and his wife Becky were youth ministers for 19 years. Robert now owns his own business and visited Tanzania with his parents in 2008.  He lives in Robinson, Texas with his wife Becky.  They have three grown children, Hayley (married to Rob Foster), Hunter, and Hope and one grandchild Emory Jo Foster.

Scott B. Lockett

Scott B. Lockett graduated from University of Texas @El Paso with a degree in mechanical engineering. He worked in the aerospace since 1983 and is now retried. Scotts serves in many volunteer projects both in his church and in mission work but especially in the water well drilling program at Neema Village  Scott and his wife have been to Neema Village a number of times.

Sarah L. Lockett

Sarah L. Lockett graduated from University of Texas @El Paso with a BSN degree. She worked as an RN in a hospital setting for 20 years and is currently a volunteer RN with church camps and Mission Waco in Waco, Tx. She was the Director of RCC Preschool for four years in Robinson, Texas.  Sarah was the Clinic Director of Mission Waco Donation Health Clinic for seven years.  She serves in a volunteer capacity as Book-Keeper, Treasurer of Neema Village Board of Directors.  Sarah has been to Neema Village as a volunteer.

Dr. Kevin Huddleston

Dr. Kevin Huddleston graduated from Texas A&M Medical School and has been a staff OB/GYN physician for the past 22 years at Baylor Scott & White Hospital in Temple. He is also an Assistant Clinical Professor of OB/GYN at Texas A&M Medical School. Dr. Huddleston lived in Tanzania from age 2-5 with his family as his father was a Medical Missionary. Dr. Huddleston has visited and volunteered at Neema Village.

Debra Hicks

Debra Hicks is a Tax Manager at Patillo, Brown & Hill, L.L.P. and has over 30 years experience as a Certified Public Accountant. She graduated from Abilene Christian University summa cum laude with BBA in Accounting. She is a member of Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants, & American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.  Debra works as a volunteer bookkeeper for Neema Village.  Debra has also been to Neema Village.

Birdie Jones

Birdie Jones is an attorney. She received her B.A. in International Studies from Baylor University, M.A. in Christian Education from Dallas Baptist University; and her JD from Texas Southern University. She is now practicing criminal law but has a real interest in helping non profits. She has had success in implementing creative & effective public awareness for municipal projects, resulting in significant public and political support. Her husband, Dr. Kenyatta Jones is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at Metroplex Pavilion Behavior Health Center. 

Becky Fortson

Becky Fortson works at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She is a graduate of Oklahoma Christian University with a degree in math and statistics and special studies in actuary. Rob and Becky have three children, Hayley, Hope and Hunter. Hayley, who is now married, has volunteered at Neema Village several times. and is now an RN in Fort Worth, TX.  Becky serves in a volunteer capacity on the finance committee of Neema Village.

Kim White

Kim White is a graduate of Abilene Christian University. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband Bruce.  She has two grown children, Rachel and Tanner, whom she home schooled for 18 years.  Rachel is now married.  After her children were grown, she returned to work as an insurance agent in 2013.  She was on the board of directors of Sage Cooperative Schools.  She is an active fundraiser and supporter of Neema Village, leading several trips and bringing volunteers and sponsors.

Kelle O’Pry Samsill

Kelle Samsill is a graduate of Abilene Christian University where she received her B.S. in education. She taught first grade for 10 years before becoming a stay at home mom in 1996. She and her husband Mark live in Keller, Texas. She has three grown children, Tyler (26), Colton (24), and Katie (22) who is a senior at Harding University. She also serves on the board of directors at Christian Works for Children. She is an active fundraiser and supporter of Neema Village, leading many volunteers and sponsors to visit Neema.


Kathy Strong

Kathy Strong graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a degree in Education.  She taught special ed classes for six years in Nacogdoches, Texas.  Kathy has served on many boards and committees always serving the needs of others.  She is the standard of what a great volunteer servant should be.  She started a Mother’s Day out program at her church and became the Executive Director of the Nacogdoches Treatment Center, a nonprofit for the elderly and special needs patients.  She and her husband Terry have two children and 4 grandchildren and many special babies at Neema Village who call her Aunt Kathy!  We are excited that Kathy has chosen to join our board at Neema Village.


Dr. David Vineyard

A practicing OBGYN for many years, Dr. David is now a teaching professor in North Texas.  Many varied interests keep him involved with the community, his church and his family.  A pilot, a lawyer, a mountain climber, Dr. David has never been afraid of a challenge. He has climbed the highest mountain in Africa twice, leading a group the second time.  David and his wife Lindsey have had strong ties to Neema Village as fund raisers and supporters for many years.   We welcome Dr. David to the board of Neema Village. 



When you leave this earth you can take nothing you have received, only what you have given.
St. Francis of Assisi