The United Way of Lamar County announced today the new Board of Directors members starting their terms in January 2022. Joining the Board are Kristi Hodgkiss, Swati Prakash and Russell Thrasher.
Kristi Hodgkiss is the Director of Public Relations for North Lamar ISD. She taught foreign language and coached speech and debate at North Lamar High School from 1990 to 2021. She is a 1986 North Lamar graduate and holds degrees from Paris Junior College, the University of North Texas and Purdue University, where she holds a Master of Science in Communication with specializations in Public Relations and Crisis Communication. During her tenure as the debate coach at North Lamar, she coached 23 state champions in debate events and served in advisory positions at both the state and national levels. She was named Teacher of the Year for both North Lamar and Region 8 in 1998 and National Speech, Debate and Theatre Teacher of the Year in 2014. Kristi and her husband, Dennis, a 42-year social studies teacher at North Lamar High School, have three children, Carver (27), Colin (21) and Katie (19) and are life-long residents of Lamar County. Kristi and her sister are co-owners of Crossroad Acres Ranch in Hopewell.
Swati Prakash left behind a promising career in corporate finance to support her husband’s career and raise her children in the safe, quiet, small town of Paris, when she moved here almost twenty years ago. She has volunteered and held leadership positions on numerous local clubs, charities and school programs- including PISD Parent Association, Booster Club, Project Graduation, PISD Ambassador, Operation Save your Skin, Project Bike, Melanoma Color Run, Garden club, North East Texas Trail Coalition, Lamar County Medical Alliance, and she also co-chaired PISD tennis courts expansion efforts. She and her husband, Dr. Chris Prakash, are active philanthropists in the community.
Russell Thrasher is a Paris native whose great grandmother was born here in 1882. Since 1996 he has worked for Paris EMS, beginning part time then moving to crew chief and supervisor before becoming EMS Director in late 2020. He has been involved in the COVID vaccination clinic from its inception and operated the vaccination clinic at the civic center last year. As EMS Director, Mr. Thrasher currently oversees seven ambulances and 30 paramedics that respond to nearly 10,000 calls for service per year. He has three children Alison (22), Matthew (27) and Andrew (30) and four grandkids – Lexi (12), Maggie (8), Caroline (3) and Keeley (2).
UWLC Executive Director Jenny Wilson stated, “We are so excited to welcome Kristi, Swati and Russell to our Board of Directors! And we thank them for their willingness to serve and look forward to the perspectives and insights that they will bring to the Board.”