FirstLight is About People
Home Care is Not a Career, It’s a Calling
We know your first priority when choosing a home care provider is finding someone you can trust and rely on… someone who will care for your loved one as you would, and as we would our own. We’ve been where you are, and this is one of the main reasons we chose to be in this business.
Ken Fleming – Owner/President
Since I was a boy, I have always enjoyed being around seniors: making weekly visits to my maternal grandmother and grandfather in their nursing home, sitting around the potbelly stove in my paternal grandfather’s house, singing in nursing homes as part of a youth choir, sitting at the foot of my neighbors’ rocking chairs on their big porch, and later on in life spending four days in the Okefenokee swamp in a wooden canoe that was built by my 82-year-old paddling partner, and performing tasks and projects for my wife’s grandmother and great aunt in their 80s and 90s.
After a professional career leading large departments and organizations with hundreds of people at Fidelity Investments and Ceridian Human Capital Management and helping those same companies, as well as Wells Fargo Securities, with their technology, compliance, and operations projects, I am delighted to bring over two decades of leadership experience to my own company with a direct mission to help others. As a veteran-owned home care company that is contracted with the Veterans Administration, I especially enjoy assisting our nation’s Veterans. I know that everyone that served gave a lot and deserves to be cared for when they need assistance.
Ken is a board member of the NC Association for Home Care and Hospice, on FirstLight’s Corporation National Advisory Committee and Technology Committee, a member of the Metrolina Business Council, an officer with American Legion Post 235, and an officer of the 40/8.
Mary Ellen Fleming – Owner/Vice President Client Relationships
Being a caregiver is both the toughest and most rewarding job that someone can do for another person. Coming from a large family, I have often been in that role, helping senior members of my family. In addition, I have experienced what it is like to have someone else come and care for those you love. As a parent of a young adult with special needs, I have seen how rewarding and empowering it can be for our son to have a caring and compassionate caregiver. The right person can enrich his life in so many ways.
After many years working in hospitals and medical practices, as well as financial services, I have combined the skills I have learned with my personal experiences to help families find the right caregiver for their loved one. Because seniors often face many health, social and financial issues that affect their lives, I studied to become a Certified Senior Advisor®, a designation that requires a commitment to high standards, continuing education, professional ethics, and trust. This certification helps to provide me with the knowledge and information necessary to assist seniors at a time when they need it most.
Ann Majors – Community Relations Manager
Meeting new people and fostering relationships is at the forefront of Ann’s position as our Community Relations Manager. A graduate of Ohio University with a degree in Journalism, Ann worked first in advertising and purchasing for the Camelot Music retail chain store based in Canton, Ohio. From there she moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia joining a distribution company that shipped products to US military markets worldwide. As Marketing manager Ann’s responsibilities included implementing cooperative advertising programs, planning special events and managing vendor partnerships. Upon relocating to Charlotte, Ann also worked for several years at Wells Fargo.
“When my Dad’s health began to decline several years ago, I started rethinking my career path, says Ann. “The healthcare professionals who cared for him were amazing and such a help to our family. They were so inspiring. Joining the FirstLight team has given me the opportunity to help families like mine. I love giving back – that really fills me up.”
Ann loves cooking, gardening, and taking long walks in the fresh air. She and her husband Andrew have three girls, Julia, Camille, and Anna.
Debbie Brindley – RN
Debbie is a native of Georgia where she earned her nursing degree from Gordon College. She has extensive experience in a broad range of medical settings, including hospital care, home care case management and 14 years as a hospice/palliative care nurse. Debbie provides the best possible experience for families needing assistance with home care, focusing on client satisfaction with every step she takes.
“What motivates me most, says Debbie, “is the opportunity to share kindness and compassion with others. I love the satisfaction that comes from working out a solution for someone who calls us for help. I feel good when I am able to make things easier for our clients and families – that I can help them improve their quality of life and bring them happiness.”
Debbie, who has two grandsons and four great-grandchildren, loves her cats and making jewelry.
Sara Jackson, CNA – Care Coordinator
Sara began her career with Firstlight Home Care as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and was promoted to Care Coordinator after earning her bachelor’s degree in health care administration from the University of Southern New Hampshire in 2020. Today, she works primarily from our Fort Mill office, coordinating client care throughout Fort Mill, Rock Hill, and South Charlotte.
“I’ve always wanted to be a caregiver but wasn’t at all sure I’d be good at it,” says Sara. “But from the moment I became a CNA and began hands-on care and talking with my clients, I knew this is what I was meant to do. I love and appreciate the wisdom seniors share with me. They’ve made me a better person. They’ve made me a better mom.”
Sara and her husband, Rasheem, have two children, Mia and Daylan. Together they enjoy traveling to the beach and mountains, playing games, and watching movies.
Susan Bowers – RN
Susan has been a member of our Firstlight family since 2017. She was born and raised in Charlotte and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1989. She brings a valuable depth of clinical experience to our team, from staff nursing to supervisory roles, including managing a team of operating room nurses specializing in neurosurgery.
Susan’s compassion for the elderly was fostered by the care her parents provided for her grandmother who lived in their family home until she passed away at age 100.
“Having my grandma at home with us as she aged really made an impression on me,” says Susan. “It really made me appreciate and cherish the elderly and what’s important to them. It’s a privilege to help seniors age in an environment where they feel secure and loved.”
Susan and her husband, Joe, enjoy swimming and watching science fiction movies with their daughters Elizabeth and Annika.
Kara Kilby – Scheduler
A 2019 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Kara helps keep everything on track as scheduler. She joined our team shortly after earning her bachelor’s degree in communication with a concentration in health. Her previous experience includes staff scheduling for The Greater Charlotte YMCA and the YMCA of Western North Carolina.
Kara, originally from Asheville, has always had a love for helping others, and that shines through with the work she does every day, interacting with clients, caregivers, concerned family and our care coordinators to make sure everything runs smoothly. She got her CNA while in high school.
“I really enjoy meeting and getting to know everyone, especially our clients,” says Kara. “I love being able to help them get the care they need.”
When she is not working on the schedule, Kara may be out running (loves long-distance), swimming (former coach at the Y) or tutoring her twin siblings with their college classwork.
Beckie Rushing – RN, Director of Nursing
Originally from Wilmington, Ohio, Beckie Rushing has joined our Firstlight team as Director of Nursing. She is a graduate of Wright State University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing. Beckie has enjoyed a variety of nursing position throughout her career including working in intensive care and step-down units, caring for seniors at a Long-Term Care facility, and serving as a hospice nurse. Most recently she was Director of Client Services at Firstlight Home Care’s corporate office in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Through her involvement with the Alzheimer’s Association, Beckie began exploring the teachings of Teepa Snow and earned Teepa’s “A Positive Approach to Care and Training” certification. She is also a Certified Dementia Practitioner and a certified trainer of “Ageless Grace,” an exercise program promoting health and longevity for the body and mind. “My grandmother suffered from dementia and I remember what a struggle it was for my family to care for her,” says Beckie. “I often think about what a difference I could have made in her life if I had known then what I know today about caring for someone with this disease.”
Becky has three sons and 5 grandchildren. After living in a small town most of her life, she is looking forward to exploring the city of Charlotte and all it has to offer.
Portia Leverette – Recruiter
Portia moved to Charlotte in 2011. She got my CNA from Queens University and began working in a skilled nursing facility. She got her Associates Degree from Central Piedmont Community College in Hospitality Management. She also worked as a Lead specimen Collector in drug addition clinics. To learn more about the HR part of management she became a People Lead at Walmart. She takes what she has learned from each experience to fulfil the role of Recruiter at FirstLight Home Care.
Portia grew up with a passion for helping and caring for people. That is what drew her to health care. In the past she has watched people grow from their addictions, and she learned history and timeless love from seniors. Making people happy and watching them succeed brings her joy.
Outside of work she is a mother who enjoys spending time with her child and family as well as taking trips and going on adventures.
DebSue Griffin – Scheduler/Care Coordinator
DebSue was born in the jungles of Ecuador as the daughter of a missionary pilot, she rode in airplanes long before riding in cars. Her family relocated to the Philippines when she was a baby, so that is where she grew up until she moved to the Charlotte area at age 12.
She earned a BS in Biology at UNC at Charlotte, and while a student there she cofounded the Carolina Raptor Center. She worked as its Education Director and Volunteer Coordinator for 20 years. When she retired, she worked as a birth doula and assisted a homebirth midwife until her daughter came into her life.
Having cared for her father for five years, then her mother and mother-in-law, she is now the primary caregiver for her father-in-law. She dealt with several different agencies over the years of handling parental care and was impressed by FirstLight’s commitment to hiring quality caregivers and the level of support that they provide their caregivers which then reflects on the quality of care their clients receive. She was a caregiver with FirstLight for almost 4 years before moving into an office support role.
It has always been in her nature to be a caregiver, first with animals, then new mothers and babies, which flowed naturally into caring for her aging parents. She truly loves knowing that the work we do with our clients makes their lives better, that our presence does make a difference in the quality of their lives. She enjoys being in the outdoors, watching birds, butterflies, and identifying wildflowers. She has really enjoyed sharing this passion with many of our clients also. She lives in south Charlotte with her husband Steven, daughter Caitlin, dog Vivi, a snake and two fish.
The FirstLight Home Care team in Charlotte strongly believes in the mission of providing exceptional care to those in need. We hire and train only the best caregivers in keeping with our ‘Culture of Care’ philosophy and provide uncompromising customer service. The ability to help seniors who are intrinsically susceptible and being able to provide stable and satisfying employment to local community citizens, is an opportunity that we whole-heartedly embrace.
FirstLight Home Care Charlotte provides caregiving services throughout six North Carolina counties including Mecklenburg, Union, Cabarrus, Iredell, Gaston, & Lincoln.