Administrative Staff

Bethany Garth

Executive Director

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Bethany started at First Choice in 2014 as Advancement Director, and became the Executive Director in January 2017. She graduated from Auburn in 2007 with a degree in journalism and went on to work at the pregnancy center there doing marketing and development. Before moving to Montgomery, Bethany and her husband Dave took two years off from work to explore the world and travel by bicycle. Bethany is a mom to three young children, Kirby, Hannah and Davis. She says she loves the opportunity she has to know that the work she does every day is making a real, positive difference in the lives of others. She also loves getting to know the people who support this ministry and make our work possible.

Melinda Stewart

Operations Director

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Melinda has worked at First Choice since 1986. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in counselor education, both from Western Illinois University. As our operations director, Melinda keeps our day-to-day operations running smoothly and efficiently. She has been married to her husband, Don, for 20 years.  Melinda says she loves knowing that her “behind-the-scenes” work at our center supports others in presenting God’s love and truth to women and men facing unplanned pregnancies as well as those suffering from the emotional, spiritual, and physical effects of past abortions.

Rachel Thomas

Development Coordinator

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Rachel started as our development coordinator in February of 2020. Rachel is a Montgomery native and has completed her master’s degree in Christian education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She previously graduated from Auburn University in 2008 in public relations. Rachel is married to Dale and they stay busy raising two young boys and teaching in their church. Rachel assists with fundraising efforts, grant writing, and overall public relations for First Choice. She is most excited about First Choice’s vision of leading others to pro-abundant life, both in giving support and medical care to clients, and also in providing opportunities for others to be involved with this unique ministry.

Cindy Lesinger

Administrative Assistant

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Cindy began working at First Choice in July 2022 after volunteering at the center for a total of three years. Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Cindy has been a resident of Wetumpka for the last 16 years with her husband, Lex. She has two sons, one daughter-in-law, and two grandsons, Bodhi and Maddox. Cindy is a graduate of Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in health service administration. She previously served as the immunization division director for the Alabama Department of Public Health. Cindy enjoys being at First Choice, because she “desires to share God’s truth about abortions and the real emotional consequences. All babies are a gift from God.”

Client Care Staff

Lynn Higbe

Center Director

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Lynn joined the First Choice staff as Center Director in October 2021. Coming to us from Eastern Hills Baptist Church, Lynn most recently served as an administrative assistant to the senior pastor and children’s pastor. She is originally from the small mill town of Rumford, Maine. Lynn now resides in Montgomery with her husband of 20 years (Trey) and their three sons: Fraser, Joseph and Phillip. In working with First Choice, Lynn loves that she can connect with women each and everyday. She loves meeting women where they are and letting them know they are loved and not alone!

Laura Williams

Client Services Director

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Laura Williams joined our staff in 2017, shortly after completing her master’s in counseling from Faulkner University. As Client Services Director, she oversees all client care programs and trains all our volunteer client advocates and receptionists. She is originally from Montgomery, and married her husband, Cory, in October 2017. They both work with the youth at their church home, First Assembly Montgomery. Laura says she enjoys being able to minister to women and men in need of support and encouragement in their pregnancy. “Our goal is for our center to be a safe haven where people can come and receive what they need physically, emotionally and spiritually,” she says.  “It is so rewarding to see our clients feel valued, understood, and loved.”


Taron Jordan

Fathers First Coordinator

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Taron started working for First Choice in February 2021 as our Fathers First Coordinator. He is from the River Region and currently lives in Millbrook with his wife and daughter. He graduated from Liberty University in 2016 with a master’s degree in Christian ministries. Taron is continuing the growth of our ministry to dads. We believe it is essential to educate and equip fathers to be engaged and effective in their role in their children’s lives. “Fatherhood is a glorious privilege to relay God’s love and perspective through a father-child relationship,” Taron explains. “It is so important to comprehend the value, love, and the awe-inspiring grace surrounding fatherhood. I’m so happy to point people to Christ, who reconciles all things!

Joanna Hodges

Parenting Education Coordinator

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Joanna began working at First Choice in April 2022. She is originally from an area outside Chicago, Ill., and graduated from Trinity Christian College with a bachelors in communication arts and a minor in theology. Joanna continued her education at Westminster Seminary California and graduated with a masters in Biblical studies. She has been married to her husband, Ross, for nearly 10 years. When asked about working at First Choice, Joanna exclaims, “I love working for a ministry that promotes both physical and eternal life in Christ for its clients and children. It is a ministry very close to my heart. As an adoptive parent to four precious children, I am very grateful for the selfless birth mothers who chose life for their children and gave me the gift of being a mother.”

Medical Staff

Valerie Waddell

M.D., Medical Director

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Dr. Waddell is a graduate of medical school at Texas Tech University and completed her residency at The Ohio State University.  Dr. Waddell began practicing with Montgomery Women’s Health Associates in 2016.  She became our medical director in 2019, and in this role she has oversight of all clinic operations at the Center. We are thankful for the professional expertise she brings, as well as a genuine desire to serve and empower women to make a decision for life.

Taylor Namburu

Staff Nurse

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Taylor volunteered with First Choice as a nurse in 2019-2020. She and her husband have been married for eight years, and the couple has one 6-year-old son, Caleb. Taylor’s family currently resides in Selma, Ala., with hopes of moving to Pike Road in the near future. She has a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Alabama. Taylor is excited to use her medical knowledge to work with women who are facing a challenging time in their lives. She shares, “Being able to share the love of Christ and watch a scared mom choose life makes this all worth it!”

Dana Wingard

R.N., Nurse Manager

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Dana joined the First Choice staff in March 2022. Originally from Montgomery, Dana now lives in Wetumpka with her high school sweetheart and three children. She graduated from Auburn University Montgomery in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Dana has worked in the areas of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, and spent four years as a school nurse. As nurse manager, Dana provides oversight and administrative support for our medical services. When asked why she feels called to serve at First Choice, Dana said, “I get great satisfaction in being in a role where I can make a small difference in someone’s life.”

Amy Luck

R.N., Part-Time Staff Nurse

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Amy is one of the staff nurses at First Choice. Amy graduated from nursing school at AUM in 1996. After working as a stay-at-home mom for 10 years, she started volunteering here in 2007 and came on staff in 2008. She and her husband, Aaron, have two children, Lacy and Adam. Amy says she loves doing ultrasounds and having the opportunity to show moms their baby for the first time.


Julia Smith

R.N., Part-time Staff Nurse

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Julia started working with us part-time in 2018. She graduated from nursing school at Auburn University in 2009. She and her husband, Grady, and their three children moved to Montgomery in 2016. Grady is the pastor at Gateway Baptist Church. Julia says she loves using her medical skills and training to meet physical needs of our clients while also getting to share the love of Christ. We are thankful to have her on our team.

Board of Directors


Bill Thompson

Board Chair

Pam Newman

Finance Chair

Anthony Poellnitz

Vice Chair and Secretary

Anna Applin

Jessica Spurlin

Corky Hawthorne

Jannai Washington

Mike Humphreys

Caroline Johnson

Liz Owen

Sarah Barry Spooner