Nebraska Peer Advisory Board
The Mission of the Nebraska Peer Advisory Board is to build and maintain cohesiveness and sustainability of the peer movement in the state of Nebraska. They work in a collaborative manner to serve over all six regions.
Tommy Newcombe, CPSS
Advisory Board Chair
Tommy Newcombe is dedicated to the success of peer support in Nebraska and across the nation. He is a member of the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Advisory Council for Disability Rights Nebraska, the Region 4 Behavioral Health Advisory Board, and formerly sat on the Nebraska Office of Consumer Affairs People’s Council. Tommy is the Executive Director of The Connection Project, Inc., a peer-run organization in Norfolk Nebraska. He has practiced, taught, and advocated for peer support in Nebraska since 2014. Mr. Newcombe is a certified instructor for Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), Advanced Level WRAP Facilitator, Intentional Peer Support, Mental Health First Aid, and Youth Mental Health First Aid. He is also a Certified Peer Support Specialist through the State of Nebraska. He has an Associate of Arts in Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Management. Tommy is working towards completion on his Master of Public Administration.
Lisa Guell, CPSS
Advisory Board Secretary
Lisa, growing up in the panhandle of Nebraska and ultimately it becoming home, has worked with the public her entire life. She has a passion for caring for others needs. Scottsbluff is home to all of her education including several courses at WNCC, working with elderly in their homes for over 15 years but it is her compassion, empathy and concern for others that she was able to care for these women, becoming like family, creating comfort for them in their own homes and being there supporting the families through to the end. She has established herself in the community as a leader by turning a traumatic event in her life and an acquired disability to support and inspire those reaching out for guidance and support to become independent and reach goals that they define as success. Through this journey, Lisa has acquired many certificates including being certified by the state of Nebraska as a Peer Support Specialist. Being exactly here has left Lisa feeling fulfilled but still always searching for ways she can make a difference for others.
Tammy Fiala, CPSS
Tammy Fiala serves as the Region 3 Consumer Specialist for 22 counties in south central Nebraska. The primary responsibilities of the Regional Consumer Specialist are to provide for coordination of processes
for working in close collaboration with consumers of behavioral health services as well as professional staff and state administrators within the regional behavioral system, advocating for consumer views, and to achieve meaningful integration of consumers as a priority in the Nebraska Behavioral Health
System. Tammy developed the Region 3 Consumer and Family Coalition which serves to advise Region 3 and gives representation of consumers and family members in our community. She also serves on the board for the NAMI Affiliate of NAMI Central Nebraska. Tammy has been a trainer of Mental Health First Aid and has facilitated the Wellness Recovery Action
Plan (WRAP) training with individuals within the Region 3 service area. She serves as a resource on current local issues regarding recovery and shares that information to provide assistance to consumers throughout Region 3. She also serves as a spokesperson to the general public on consumer initiatives.
Tammy participates in peer support training and organizes peer support co-reflection calls within Region 3. She received her initial Peer Support and Wellness Specialist certification in 2011 and completed Certified Peer Support Specialist certification again in 2019. She promotes the emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of her peers. Tammy is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Kearney with a B.S in Journalism, endorsement in education, Art Education, and a minor in Telecommunications. She currently lives in Kearney, Nebraska.
Jon Thomsen, CPSS
Community Alliance Program Manager – Peer Crisis Diversion Services
Jon is a Certified Peer Support and Wellness Specialist and is the supervisor for two peer support programs with Community Alliance. Jon is a certified facilitator in WRAP and Rentwise, has previously facilitated support groups such as NAMI Connections, and has recently established Safe Harbor’s first support group Spiritual Recovery. Jon is involved in Crisis Intervention Training for the Omaha Police Department as well as the training of peer support specialists in the state of Nebraska. His primary goals are to support individuals who struggle with their personal wellbeing, to share the knowledge he has gained in his own recovery, and to walk with people while they explore their authentic self. Jon maintains his personal wellness by spending time with family, being active in his community, and fostering his own authenticity through music, books, and communion with others.
Kevin Karmazin, CPSS
Kevin is a Peer Support Specialist for Mental Health Association of Nebraska, working out of the Honu Home, a transition home for people with behavioral health disorders coming out of incarceration. Kevin was raised in the small, rural town of Lawrence, Nebraska. Calling Lincoln home since 2000, Kevin earned his dual degree Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Administration from Doane University (then Doane College) in 1998. Kevin then went on to take the core curriculum needed to become a certified drug and alcohol counselor. In 2008 Kevin got his start in Peer Support when he was hired as the Recovery Specialist for the Community Mental Health Center of Lancaster County, and then eventually the Mental Health Association of Nebraska at the Keya House, a mental health respite home. During this time, Kevin was trained in Intentional Peer Support, ASIST, QPR Training, WRAP facilitator training, NAMI Connections, Be Your Own Voice, and Peer 2 Peer Facilitator Training. Kevin served
on NAMI Nebraska’s State Consumer Council. After an absence from the profession for a period of time after 2012, Kevin came back to the field when he started back with the Mental Health Association of Nebraska in 2019, working at the Honu Home. Kevin got recertified in WRAP facilitating, has a refresher on Intentional Peer Support, trained in
SMART recovery facilitation, CALM, & Mental Health First Aid, and became State Certified. Kevin also serves on the Consumer Health Advisory Council for Region V, is a member Nebraska Appleseed’s legislative sub-committee, and is a member of the Governor’s Brain Injury Oversight Committee. Kevin was a graduate of the Leadership Lincoln Advocates 13 class. Kevin volunteers as a TeamMate
Corey Brockway, CPSWS
Corey Brockway has served as a Region 2 Human Services Consumer Specialist since 2007. Region II serves 17 counties in west central Nebraska. As Regional Consumer Specialist he is honored to promote wellness and recovery while serving as an advocating voice for consumers at local, regional, and state levels. Becoming a Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) facilitator, adding training in Intentional Peer Support (IPS), and becoming certified as a Nebraska Certified Peer Support & Wellness Specialist (CPSWS), have all proven valuable on a professional and personal level. Serving on the Governor’s State Advisory Committee on Substance Abuse provided the opportunity to observe and participate at the State Behavioral Health level. Peer Support has played a key role in Corey’s own journey. The more we can connect people to share lived experience, hope, and human connection, to know they are not alone or unique will have value. Inside connection encouraging each other to move towards wellness, as they define it, will all contribute to an ever growing more supportive recovery community. Wellbeing Initiative, Inc. is one of the state leaders in recovery through Peer Delivered Services development and I am honored to serve in an advisory role within their organization. Corey grew up in West Point, NE, before moving to McCook, NE, area in high school. After living in Colorado, North Carolina, and Tennessee, over 15 years, Corey returned home to Nebraska to be near family, in 1999. After returning home and being a businessman, in McCook, he followed his heart into the then new Regional Consumer Specialist position, with Region II, where he is honored to offer guidance to the system and continue to carry to message of hope, recovery, and healing, as the individual defines and chooses.
Deb Turner, CPSS
Deb Turner is a certified Family Peer Support Specialist for Independence Rising, where she will be working with families to provide services and supports to families raising a child or young adult who is experiencing social, emotional, addiction, or behavioral health challenges in their home, school, community and/or placement. Deb has many years of experience working with families that have youth with mental and behavioral challenges and has provided support to the parent/caregiver. Deb graduated from Central Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Human Services and a Chemical Dependency Technician Certificate. Deb completed her studies at Doane College, graduating Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in psychology. Currently Deb is completing her practicum hours for her PLADC counseling license. Deb lives in Overton, Nebraska with her daughter and two of her three sons. In Deb’s spare time she enjoys spending time with her children, baking, crafting, watching K-State Football, and being with friends. She is a member of the Guardians of the Children Flat Rock Chapter in North Platte Nebraska, advocating against child abuse, and spending time with other guardians riding her motorcycle and taking part in activities for children.
Abigail’s interest in community building started 10 years ago, working for UNMC’s College of Public Health. While at the College of Public Health, she led workshops between medical students and members of Omaha’s homeless and recovery communities, in an attempt to foster empathy, decrease stigma, and improve care between doctors and patients with lived experiences they may not inherently understand. Abigail also helped pioneer a mentorship program with Omaha Creative Institute (now Amplify Arts) to connect homeless youth with established visual artists and writers in the community. Before joining the behavioral health field, Abigail worked for a private life flight company that services 250 hospitals and trauma centers in the United States. She trained in peer support with Community Alliance in 2019 and also received certifications in WRAP and Mental Health First Aid Training. Abigail is proud to be a Peer Support Specialist at Safe Harbor in Omaha, NE, where outside of her position she’s been able to develop cultural competency programming and co-lead their Spiritual Recovery support group. When she’s not working, Abigail nourishes her soul by spending time with her incredible family and taking advantage of Omaha’s rich visual art and music scene.
Michelle Gerdes, CPSS
Michelle Gerdes is a Nebraska State Certified Peer Support Specialist with Lutheran Family Services. She has worked as peer support in the Region 6 area for 3 years. Michelle began her peer support career with the Salvation Army, working in the Emergency Community Support program. Michelle has studied at Metro Community college in Human Services with an emphasis in chemical dependency counseling. Michelle is a board member with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) in Omaha, focusing on NAMI’s representation in the CIT program. Michelle has spent the last year working with Region 6, Sarpy County Sherriff’s office, and the Sarpy County Jail as the peer support for the Specialized Transition Program for inmates transitioning back into society. Michelle holds certificates as a WRAP facilitator, Seeking Safety, Beyond Trauma, and Mental Health First Aid. She also volunteers with the Nebraska chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, advocating state representatives for more funding towards suicide prevention. She also spends time volunteering with other individuals in recovery.
Ken Timmerman, CPSWS
PEER ORGANIZED • PEER DRIVEN • PEER RUN
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