Our Team

Board of Directors

photo of David JonesDavid C. Jones, Founder / Past-President It is rare that someone can take a “tragedy” as an opportunity to change their life and help others. That is exactly what David Jones did. His injury became a personal commitment to help others. In 1988, David Jones was shot in a hunting accident resulting in a serious head injury that left him with permanent paralyses of his left leg, limiting mobility and no use of his left hand. David utilized a wheelchair for one year and gradually increased his mobility to the point where he could walk with a walker and now walks with a slight limp without any device. He remains paralyzed in one arm. In the process of his rehabilitation, he became aware of the importance of recreation for rehabilitation – not only to improve mobility, but to improve mental well-being. David saw this event in his life as a challenge and an opportunity to assist others. This life changing event developed into his personal crusade.  David went back to school and received his Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Florida State University. David Jones overcame the challenge of his disability utilizing sports for himself and others by forming the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association in 1990. This organization came out of the positive experience David had from using sports and recreation for his own rehabilitation.

photo of Gordon PalmerGordon Palmer,  President - Gordon Palmer is a senior attorney with the Florida Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission, where he has worked for over 25 years.  He was injured in an automobile accident in 1977 where he became a C4-5 quadriplegic.  Not long after his injury, he started doing volunteer and advocacy work for people with disabilities.  His volunteer efforts include: Spinal Cord Society; the Center for Independent Living of North Florida; the Florida Transportation Disadvantaged Commission; the North Florida Spinal Injuries Association; the Florida Independent Living Advisory Council; the James Patrick Work Incentive Program for people with disabilities; and others.  Since the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association was founded in 1990, Gordon has been involved as a participant and volunteer and subsequently a board member since the board's foundation.

Photo of Kristy CarterKristy Carter, CTRS, Vice-President -  Kristy is the Assistant Program Supervisor at the City of Tallahassee Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Affairs.  Upon graduating from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation and Leisure Services Administration she holds her license as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist while assisting with training and advocacy within the community.  Prior to that time, she served as the Inclusion Specialist for Florida Disabled Outdoors Association along with serving in the community as a recreation therapist in a variety of settings from community recreation, rehab hospital to adult day care.   She has been involved with the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association as a volunteer and then board member since 1998.

Photo of Bliss ColaoBliss Colao, Secretary - Bliss started as a youth board member through Youth Leadership Tallahassee in 2015 and has served as the Board Secretary since 2018. She graduated from Florida State University in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology. Bliss has always been passionate about working with people of all abilities, and she was a caregiver for a young adult with disabilities for five years. She is currently in medical school at the University of Florida in Gainesville. In her spare time, Bliss loves to travel, get outdoors, and spend time with her two dogs, husband, friends, and family.
photo of George CoackerGeorge Coaker, Director at Large - George Coaker has been involved with the SportsAbility Alliance Association since its inception. He has an Associates of Arts from Tallahassee Community College (formerly Tallahassee Junior College) and a certificate in Graphics from Lively Technical. He worked in the printing industry in Tallahassee for 34 years. George also received Journeyman Status in Graphic Arts through the State of Fl and the International Printing and Graphics Communication Union Local 193. He served as President of Local 193 from 1978-1985. He has one son, four grandchildren - two sets of twins. He is an avid hunter and a disability advocate. George was hit by a drunken driver at the age of 17 crushing the left side of his body. George spent approximately four years recovering from the accident. Since that time, George realized the importance of active leisure in his recovery. 

photo of Jeff DouglasJeff Douglas, Director at LargeAfter graduating from Florida State University with a Master's in Social Work, Jeff stayed and continued working for two decades at the Florida State University Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC), where he provided crisis intervention to students and parents. As a volunteer with the Red Cross Disaster Action Team, he has helped families cope with emergencies and assisted in smoke alarm install installations. Since 2014, he has provided emotional support, financial assistance, and information to help families begin the process of recovery after a fire or other disaster. As an Adult Program Specialist for the Lighthouse of the Big Bend, Jeff provides job assistance, independent living skills, and vocational rehabilitation services to clients who are blind and/or visually impaired. He is someone who loves life and strives to be a better person today than the day before. He spends his leisure time Living. He has been involved with the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association off and on since 1991, as a participant and volunteer and subsequently as a board member.


photo of Fran GilbertFran Gilbert, CAE, Executive Director - Fran Gilbert, CAE, has more than 25 years of experience in the association management industry.  Her experience includes founding her own association management company, as well as serving as Executive Director of the Florida School Nutrition Association and for the Tallahassee Society of Association Executives. She began her association career with the Florida Press Association and quickly realized she had found her career path. Fran has a Bachelor of Arts from Florida State University where she graduated with honors in English—creative writing. She obtained her certification as a Certified Association Executive through the American Society of Association Executives. She has been active in her association community through the Florida Society of Association Executive. She served on the FSAE Board as a Director and Treasurer; and she served as a Trustee and Chair for the FSAE Foundation. Fran participated in sports throughout high school, college and beyond. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking with her dog and spending time with family and friends.

image of Kasara BartoKasara Barto, Communications & Events Manager - Kasara is a Florida native with a background in communications and event management. She is a graduate of Florida International University with a degree in Hospitality Management - Upper Division and is also a licensed realtor. Kasara has worked in marketing for government agencies and private companies, assisting with public relations, social media management and website development. When she is not working, Kasara enjoys traveling, biking and hiking with her husband and their two rescue dogs.