Our Team

Caryn Wheeler-Clay, Executive Director

Caryn joined the JCC LTRG from Oregon State University Extension Service in Jackson and Josephine counties where she focused on public health and community development. Previously, Caryn worked for Jackson County Public Health as their accreditation coordinator and a community outreach educator. Caryn brings a wealth of experience, including coalition building, project management, community assessment, and planning.

Caryn has been a part of the recovery efforts in Jackson County since the start. Her ability to make connections and lead with passion not only for the work but the whole community, all while maintaining a focus on equity, are just some of the examples of leadership qualities she brings to the organization.

Matthew Havniear, Housing Recovery Director

Matthew Havniear, a native of Southern Oregon and a Non-Commissioned Officer of the United States Marine Corps, joins the JCC LTRG after a 15-year career in leadership with the greatest focus on housing resiliency, stabilization, program development, and end-to-end project management. Matthew’s education includes an Associate’s Degree from Rogue Community College with a focus in Social Sciences and a Bachelor’s Degree from Southern Oregon University, where he majored in Innovation and Leadership.

Prior to his housing stabilization and program development experience, Matthew held the role of the Regional Field Operations Manager, where he managed deployment operations for Natural Disasters impacting the Pacific Northwest while deploying nationally to various natural disasters.

His involvement with the Almeda Fire Recovery began at the Community Action Agency ACCESS, where he created and provided end-to-end management of the Center for Community Resilience designed to serve fire survivors with Housing Stabilization Case Management.

Tessa Elbettar, Executive Assistant

Tessa was born in Los Angeles, went to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, traveled to 28 countries, and gratefully settled in Ashland, OR. In her 27 years of age, she has led multiple lives. Highlights include managing all aspects of the Momentum Collective International Permaculture Residency in Costa Rica – where she supported artists in their explorations, and taught permaculture basics, all while wrangling the wild Costa Rican jungle into revealing its secrets. She also co-founded Shift Happens Volunteers, a large-scale event and festival and event volunteer coordination company that has designed & executed programs as large as 800+ volunteers.

She is passionate about disaster relief, community building, food sovereignty, circus arts and movement, and house plants.

Christina Kukuk, Community Resilience Program Manager

Christina comes to the JCC LTRG with a passion for community chaplaincy after 17 years in congregation-based leadership in Minnesota, Ohio, and Oregon. A newspaper and magazine journalist in her early career, Christina loves the big questions and understands first-hand how sharply unexpected personal and community loss brings those big questions to the surface.  
First involved in fire recovery as a spiritual care provider for congregants and staff members traumatized by the 2020 fires, Christina’s roles on the DEI and Fire Fund committees of United Way of Jackson County have kept her close to the response and recovery efforts. She is committed to meeting trauma survivors where they are and skilled at adapting words, rituals, and activities to support equity, empowerment and healing. Christina brings clinical chaplaincy training, Mental Health First Aid skills, and interfaith community building experience to her work at the LTRG strengthening the emotional and spiritual care network of resources for fire survivors. She is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and studying toward board certification as a clinical chaplain.
Skip to content