Board of Directors

Charles Gates, President

A graduate of Thomas College, Watervile, Maine (Class of 1973) with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Education. Graduate studies at Georgian Court University (Class of 2001) with a Masters of Arts in Theology. Charlie held various corporate level positions achieving Vice Presidency at JP Morgan Chase -Special Projects.

Charlie left corporate life to work in the educational field in 1998 and became a member of the faculty at Red Bank Catholic High School, Red Bank, New Jersey. While continuing part –time teaching assignments in the Religion Department, Charlie became the Campus Minister at the school. His position requires the development of service projects to allow the students to become involved with their community. Most notable of which is his co-founding of the Maryknoll Affiliate, charged with raising funds and awareness of the missionary work in missions throughout the world. As an affiliate member of the Maryknoll Sisters of New York they have supported missions in Cambodia, Nepal, El Salvador and Kenya, to name a few. Additionally, Charlie has also helped in activities of the LIFE club at RBC that is outreach to the local communities in the area. Their main service is in support of the Food Banks in Monmouth County. Charlie has also led RBC’s response to the tragedies in Haiti (raising over $10,000) and Sandy (raising $8,000). Charlie is co-founder of the Casey Volunteers, which sends 20 – 30 students annually to New Orleans to help in the on-going relief effort cause by Hurricane Katrina.

Vice President


Vincent Alo, Founder

Vincent attended Red Bank Catholic High School before going on to earn his Political Science degree from Villanova University in 2006. Shortly after graduating, Vincent took a position teaching Contemporary Global Issues at Red Bank Catholic High School.  After a year in this position, Vincent went to work in Human Resources at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, he became a Family Focal Point and HR Specialist providing support to the families of UN staff members who lost their lives in the earthquake. In Vincent is the Founder of Hearts & Hands Disaster Recovery, as well as maintaining a seat on the board of directors. Vincent plays a vital role in the strategic planning of the organization and establishing relationships with the local business community to support the work of HHDR.

Leah Barber, Secretary

Leah is currently a Senior Associate with Policy and Program Development for the American Red Cross, Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) in Washington, DC where she develops and creates guidance, policy and programming for implementation across the SAF footprint. Prior to her arrival in Washington in January 2015, she served as Station Manager at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany from 2012-2015 and at Fort Sill, Oklahoma from 2010-2012. From 2008 to 2010, she served as an Assistant Station Manager at Fort Carson, Colorado and Camp Casey, South Korea.

Prior to her tenure with Service to the Armed Forces, Leah served as an Emergency and Social Services AmeriCorps member at the Kalamazoo, Michigan chapter from September 2007 to July 2008. During this time, she deployed to two national disasters – wildfires in San Diego, California and flooding/tornadoes in Spencer, Indiana – in both Client Services and Mass Care capacities.

Leah received her undergraduate degree from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia and her MPA with a concentration in Government Administration from Upper Iowa University. Leah is a voracious traveler and has spent more than a few Christmases far from home! In addition to traveling, in her free time she enjoys photography, hiking, writing, improv and cooking.

Thomas Corbett, Treasurer

Tom Corbett was born and raised in Old Bridge, NJ. He majored in Economics at Rutgers University, leading him into a career in finance. Tom has also been an active fundraiser through creating and organizing many events to benefit the St Jude Foundation, raising over $7,000 through a charity he created with friends. During Hurricane Sandy, he volunteered and aided the National Guard in Hoboken, NJ in bringing the city back to life in the initial weeks.  Most recently, Tom ran the 2016 NYC Marathon on behalf of the Boomer Easiaon Foundation for Cystic Fibrosis research, raising over $3,500.

Meridith Herwig, Member at Large

Meridith Herwig is a lifelong Red Bank resident and graduate of Red Bank Catholic High School (Class of 2005). During her time at RBC, she had the pleasure of meeting her future fellow executive board members of Hearts and Hands Disaster Recovery. Meridith is a graduate of La Salle University, with a Bachelors of Psychology. Throughout her years at La Salle, Meridith committed her free time to numerous activities around campus that allowed her to provide service to the surrounding communities. Meridith went on to earn her Masters Degree in Clinical & Counseling at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia.

Today, Meridith is a licensed counselor working as a crisis clinician, for Monmouth County’s Family Crisis Intervention Unit. Meridith has also been the head cheerleading coach of St. Rose High School in Belmar for the past five years. As a coach and member of the St. Rose community, Meridith assisted in the cleanup of the high school after Hurricane Sandy. After seeing the damage and ongoing effects Sandy has caused to those around her, she was excited when the opportunity arose to help those in need of assistance. Meridith looks forward to building partnerships for HHDR to further the recovery process in these and other impacted communities in New Jersey.