BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Teresa Langebrake, BOARD CHAIR
I have been involved with 502 Dragons since 2020 as a board member and paddling enthusiast! Dragon Boating is one of the most unique sports and gives everyone involved an opportunity to make new friends, get in a good physical workout, and give back to the community. I love our dragon boat family! In 2022 I was honored to lead our very first racing team--502 Dragon Envy--which competed in the Kentucky Dragon Boat Festival. When I am not on the dragon boat, I enjoy attending Lou City soccer games, hiking, biking and being outdoors. Look forward to seeing you on the boat--Paddles Up!
Cheryl Thesier, VICE CHAIR/SECRETARY
I am a quality engineer at GE Appliances. I became involved in dragon boating in 2019. I have always loved water sports and dragon boating was a new way to enjoy the water and nature, all while challenging myself. Our community is very welcoming and we hope to keep expanding its membership. I have a Level 1 coaching license and will attend the Pan Am training camp for the 2nd time in April. In addition to paddling, my husband and I enjoy hiking, kayaking, and traveling (soon to see the first grand baby)!
Tammy Atkinson-Harmon, TREASURER
I work for Bank of America and just had my 37 year work anniversary! I love hiking, trail running and anything to do with nature. I also love traveling and reading. I have only one year of experience with Dragon Boating but it has been one of the most positive, fun experiences of my life. I wasn't much for teams before, but I absolutely loved our team and I loved every single thing about it. I did not expect to love it as much as I do but it has been such a rewarding experience and I feel like I have made some lifelong friends.
Bill King, FUNDRAISING DIRECTOR
After moving back to Louisville in 2018, my wife and I were looking for something to do together. Dragon Boating seemed the perfect fit. It was something we could do together and we met a lot of wonderful people. After a couple of sessions I was hooked. I eventually got drafted into leading a couple of teams for the company I work at. 2019 saw a deeper dive into the sport by completing my level 2 coaching training and attending the PanAm training camp in Tampa. The best thing about dragon boating is that almost anyone can do it, from petite to XXXL and the comradery can’t be beat. There is no better feeling then when 20 people work in unison for a common goal.
Nancy Schmidt, VICE TREASURER
As the oldest member on the board, I fell in love with Dragon boating when I joined a team through work (GE). Bill was our captain who inspired me to enlist my daughter Sarah. Getting to spend time with her and being part of a team motivated me to want to become involved in getting others to enjoy dragon boating. My mission is to let others know that you don't need to be an athlete and you're never too old to be part of the 502 Dragon Boat Team. When I'm not paddling on the river with 502 Dragons, I enjoy spending time with my two daughters and three amazing grandchildren. We love hiking, kayaking, and making chocolate chip cookies together.
Erin Kelleher, VOLUNTEER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND FFC CHAIR
I started as a dragon boat organizer in 2014 and started paddling in 2015. Kind of backwards, but once I got involved, I knew this was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life :) I am very passionate about dragon boating, because it's something pretty much anyone can do to stay healthy: physically, mentally, and socially! My favorite part is that it is all about teamwork, and people working together.
Max Martin, PROPERTY & EQUIPMENT DIRECTOR
New Albany, IN
After I had retired, I saw something on the internet about an outfit inviting people to try dragon boating. The article said to try it without obligation, everything provided: boat, paddle, and life vest. At the end of July 2021, I submitted my reservation information at the internet site and took advantage of the two free paddles offer. After participating in a couple of paddling sessions with this group of welcoming people, I signed up as an official member of 502 Dragon Boat Community the following week.
While dragon boating is a great athletic team activity in which almost anyone can participate, just as important are the friendships and camaraderie that develop among the members.
Laura Roberts, VOLUNTEER PROGRAM DIRECTOR
Hello, I’m Laura Roberts. I have lived in southern Indiana my whole life. I work at UofL in dining services, and I am currently majoring in Community Advocacy and Social Policy and minoring in Personal Wellness at Arizona State University and should graduate in 2023. I hope after graduation to work in mental health/wellness advocacy. I am also the Education Chair for the Kentucky chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I also started doing pageants this past year and hold two titles. I’m a mom to three children and several fur babies.
I got involved with the 502 Dragons after seeing a news story on one of the local channels. They were having a christening of the boat and I decided to check it out. After that visit, I signed up to try it out and found that I really enjoyed it. It has been not only physically good but also mentally good for me. I love being on the water. During the off-season, thanks to my dragon boat friends, I have found I enjoy hiking, even in the cold winter months.
Leslie Rayborn, MEMBERSHIP DIRECTOR
I found out about dragon boat while mindlessly scrolling social media a few years ago. My initial thought was that there was no way I would be able to do it. (Anyone else find that they are their own worst enemy?) Since it was free to try, all equipment provided, I decided to take the metaphorical dive.
When this group says that there’s room on the boat for everyone, we mean it. Apprehensively walking down the dock to my first paddle session, everyone welcomed me immediately. For once, it wasn’t about my size or inexperience, it was about my potential and sharing the fun of dragon boat. For the first time in my life, I found a way to exercise that is enjoyable.
I’m a momma to two kids. I advocate for mental health and neurodivergent acceptance. For my day job, I teach elementary school music and have been known to sing on the boat. I am also a member of the Kentuckiana Marching Pride and the Community Music Alliance.
Laura Sanchez, BOARD MEMBER
My husband and I visited the Dragonboat festival on the Louisville waterfront in 2018. Seeing a 40 foot long boat with a dragon head was intriguing. It was incredibly easy to connect with the community (502dragons.org) Eryn Kelleher was the 'ambassador' that immediately won us over with her enthusiasm and personality. She convinced us no experience was necessary. . and it was true!! Everything was provided, all the equipment, training, boat, and enthusiasm. My husband and I were Immediately hooked.
Being part of a team, practicing and preparing to compete in a race environment is an exhilarating experience! I love anything outdoors and being part of this supportive group expands the possibilities. Come join us!!
Lynette Galloway, OUTREACH Director
I found the 502 Dragons in 2022 an an activity to do with my mom and sisters. I immediately loved it and even joined the race team. When I am not paddling with the dragons I am an APRN and nursing professor to the University of Louisville. This is my first year as a board member and chair of the Outreach Committee.
John learned to stern a dragon boat in 1984 on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, as a member of Team USA. He was trained by head Coach Joe Sweeney, Detrick Rose and sternsman Mike Cipollone.
Dragon Boating was introduced one year prior to the United States and the skill, technique and requirements of a stern were very different from his previous four years’ experience as an eight-man rowing shell coxswain.
Prior to sterning dragon boats, John was a successful Drexel University coxswain and St. Joseph’s Prep High School rower and coxswain. He coxswained for John B Kelly’s master eight during a number of Regatta’s held by the Schuylkill Navy.
In 1985, John earned the Sternsman position for Team USA. He competed in Hong Kong with Captain’s Carl Viola and then paddler Bob McNamara and John B Kelly, Jr. In 1986, John sterned for the Philadelphia Dragon Boat team in the first American Dragon Boat qualifying races. The Philadelphia Dragon Boat team narrowly missed an opportunity to return to Hong Kong that year.
After an intermission due to his career, John resumed his passion as coach and stern for the Windy City Dragon Boat Club in Arlington Heights, IL. In 2013, his team won the US Nationals Championships in Mercer, New Jersey. In 2014 at the World Club Crew Championship in Ravinia Italy, Senior A division, his team earned Gold in the 500M and 2000 Meter races.
John was the Director, National Dragon Boat Program for W.W. Grainger. Grainger’s program started in Chicago in 2012 with Senior Executive Sponsorship and strong engagement from team members. A debt of gratitude is owed to the Asian-Pacific Islander Business Resource Group, its founders Erwin Cruz and Randall Tom for setting the vision for a sustaining program that grew to include over 120 Grainger Team Members across five markets (Chicago, Philadelphia, Portland, LA, and Greenville). Grainger’s corporate program consistently performs in the top divisions.
In 2016, John, his wife Kathy and three others founded the Greater Chicago Dragon Boat Club based out of Chicago. It is the first city center Dragon Boat team on the historic Chicago River. He serves as Chief Safety Officer, Head Coach and Competitive steersperson.
In 2019, John returned to Team USA Sr. A division as one of five steers selected for the World Championships in Thailand.