Mark 9:35

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

The board of Directors:

David Peters


I was born in a small town in West Virginia, where I lived until the age of 5, when my family relocated to Northern Virginia.  This is where I met and married my wife Karen.  I began working construction right out of high school at the age of 17.  By the age of 24, I owned and operated my own class “A” general contracting company.  My wife and I moved to Texas in December of 1992 with our 3 children.  I continued in my chosen vocation until semi-retiring in August 2007.  This allowed me more time to spend with my family as well as be more involved with the church.  In March 2010 I took a part time position with USPS, and continued there for 5 years.  In April 2015 I accepted a position as Vocational Instructor/Community Service Coordinator Supervisor for Smith County Juvenile Services where I have the opportunity to share my knowledge in construction, and oversee the auto mechanics, welding, and horticulture department, making a difference in the lives of our youth. 

I have been blessed by God in so many ways.  He has provided a wife, children, grandchildren, as well as brothers and sisters in Christ.  He affords me the privilege to serve others.  I will continue to strive to find God’s grace and blessings in all He provides for me.  It is with this servant’s heart that I have come to start Sheltering Arms Coalition. 



Christopher Bankhead

Vice President

I was born in Uniontown, PA.  My family would later relocate to Missouri and eventually settle in Texas in 1988.  I attended school at a few different school districts, before we settled into Whitehouse, where I would eventually graduate in 1996.  After high school, I attended Tyler Junior College where I pursued a degree in Computer Science.  My wife Amanda and I were married in 2012, and I have three beautiful daughters: Taylor, Kayte, and Emmalyn.

I have spent the last 18 years in the solid waste industry in a variety of positions from driver to Operations Manager.  I am currently an Operations Supervisor for Waste Connections, Inc out of Palestine, Texas.  Through the years of working in the solid waste industry, I have seen numerous people in need and homeless on our streets living in alleys, eating out of trash cans, sleeping in dumpsters and dumpster enclosures, just to stay warm.  It wasn’t until recently, that I have really felt the call to help.  So here I am, passionate and ready, to take on the fight to lift the homeless off the streets and empower them to succeed.



 BJ Carns


I was born in Pecos, TX, my Grandfather was Pete Peters, he was the Fire Chief, I stayed with my grandparents quite often.  Our Family moved to Jacksonville Texas about the time I started school, and graduated in 1983, after that I attended Tyler Commercial College and completed the Legal Secretary Program, but decided to seek a career in Health Insurance.  I have three children, two boys and one girl, my daughter works for the Laradon School for troubled teens where she is a counselor, and my youngest son is a student at TJC enrolled in the Economics program.
I have been in the Health Insurance Industry for 27 years as an agent helping people with their healthcare needs.  I am currently Manager of Group Benefits at Feliciano and have known my Boss since High School.  My ministry background has always been in street ministry, I love to go out and be among the people, not afraid to go up and talk and pray to and for anyone.  Sometimes we go to Wal-Mart and just walk around talking to people about Jesus.  I recently served on the Board of my church as Secretary and hope to be of help to Sheltering Arms in this same capacity.  It is my mission to help as much as I can, wherever I can, and never grow weary of doing good.



David Dobbs

Board Member/Legal Council 

David is admitted to practice before the Texas state courts, Fifth Circuit, and the United States District Court, Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas. He is a member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and Texas Trial Lawyers Association.

David was a prosecuting attorney for the Smith County District Attorney’s office for twelve years serving as Chief Felony Prosecutor and First Assistant District Attorney. He served as the lead prosecutor in numerous capital murder and murder prosecutions, including seventeen death penalty cases.

Professional experience and honors include the following:

  • Service Commander’s Award – Texas Department of Public Safety
  • Director’s Award – Texas Department of Public Safety
  • Numerous Certificates of Merit from the United States Department of Justice
  • President’s Award – Tyler Police Department Patrolman’s Association

David now represents injured clients throughout Texas. He is recognized by his peers and was selected to Texas Super Lawyers, a part of Thomson Reuters, for multiple years, including 2012 and 2019-2021. This selection is based off of an evaluation of 12 indicators including peer recognition and professional achievement in legal practice.


Sidney Riley

Board Member

I am a native of east Texas having been born in Henderson.  I married my high school sweetheart Dolly and we have 2 grown children and 4 beautiful granddaughters.  After attending the University of Oklahoma where I majored in Business Administration, I served for 28 years in the US Army Field Artillery.  I commanded at the Battery and Battalion level achieving the rank of Colonel.  Since retiring for the Army, I have served as a financial advisor for an independent national financial company and have most recently served the citizens of Cherokee County as the Emergency Management Coordinator, Director of Human Resources and as the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Branch Manager for the Cherokee County Department of Public Health.

I dedicated my life to Christ and to serving others.  I serve with groups whose aim is to help others wherever they are in life.  I want to continue to work with others by becoming a part of Sheltering Arms Coalition to end homelessness for our veterans and those needing a friend in our community.



Dana Monkress

Board Member

I was born and raised in Plano, Texas. I then  attended Stephen F Austin university and graduated with a bachelor of science in interdisciplinary studies and a specialization in early childhood. I met and married my husband  of now 25 years and have two beautiful daughters, Delaney and Mackinly. I have taught pre-K in both public and private schools for the last 24 years.  I recently retired as I feel God is pulling me in another direction!
My passion is the youth, and getting them to help serve the Lord and our community. I want to get them involved to help be a part of the solution to homelessness in East Texas. I felt led to sheltering arms coalition about two years ago, and God has opened a new door on how to be involved! I am so excited to serve our community and get the youth involved !




Jeff Pelletier

Board Member

I was born in Battle Creek, MI and adopted a few days later. My family moved to St. Louis where I was raised in a Catholic Church. I was active as a child participating in Boy Scouts, and quite athletic, going to state in the 9th grade for swimming. I was an Explorer Scout in Law Enforcement. During High School I toured the Midwest working for local bands, learning the music industry. Once I graduated I attended Belmont College studying Music Business. I met and Dana in St. Louis, and we have been married since 1986. I was able to attend a few colleges early in our marriage and ended up with a Bachelors in Communication, and have completed my studies for my Masters in Digital Communications.

I have worked in Television News as an Assignment Editor, and Assistant News Director, was an independent Media Producer and Director, Marketing Manager and Director, and now currently in Entertainment Transportation as an Owner Operator and co-owner of a transportation brokerage. Dana and I gave our lives to Christ with our son Vince and when our youngest son Max was old enough, did the same. We moved to Texas in 2020 and by God’s grace ended up in Jacksonville. I feel that God moved us to Texas to serve the people here in Jacksonville, and feel blessed to be able to serve in many capacities. 



Sharon Simms

Board Member

I’m a Jacksonville native and graduate, who’s blessed to wear the hats of a daughter, sister, mother, granny, and great-grandmother. The most undeserving role of which I’m humbly grateful is daughter of the Most high God. He has never left me in the transition from wife to widow. My employment career initiated with Safeway, in 1975, through DECA in high school, until the store’s closing in 1992, It was there that a love for people, customer service, and my first introduction to computer input developed. I cashiered and loaded weekly ad information as the file maintenance clerk. My work career ended after completing 20 years as a state of Texas Corrections Employee in 2013, where God taught me humility. I have served as church secretary for over 20 years, taught children, and women’s Sunday School classes, and mentored teenage girls ages 12-17. My husband and I often cooked extra and made to-go plates for others. My heart’s desire is to please the Lord. He has given me a desire to encourage and pray for others. I pray to be His hands and feet at Sheltering Arms’ Coalition. I currently spread the gospel via video on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, write devotions, teach Sunday School, and volunteer on a supervisory board.

Sharon Simms