Strength And Hope For All

About Us

About Us

The Keely Foundation was started in June of 2015 after my son passed away from a heroin overdose Oct 27, 2014. Community leaders and I felt that the Cherokee County Community needs to know about this epidemic, to be a support system for all involved in this crisis, and to bring our community together to help fight this fight of opiate/heroin addiction. We believe that this crisis effects all of us in some shape way or form. We all need to stand together.I hope that we can help the ones that need it, encourage the ones that are in recovery, and bring awareness to this awful mess of heroin. We all need to all stand up, take our community back and keep our young people breathing and with a heartbeat. Thank you all for being a part of this journey. It has been the most gut wrenching thing ever, but I know this is what I am supposed to do and that God’s hand is in it. I know that we can all do this together!

Michelle Neese – Founder
Michelle Neese has been a resident of Cherokee County since 1987. Michelle started out selling cars for Marietta Jeep, then in 1991 she went to work in the Laser Printer/Technology field, as a sales Rep and quickly rose to the top in her field handling major business accounts for the past 24 years.

In June of 2015 Michelle co-founded The Keely Foundation following the death of her son in Oct of 2014 from a heroin OD. Michelle also maintains a Facebook group page called Cherokee County Fight Heroin which serves as a support system for the addict, the recovering addict, and the families dealing with addiction.

Michelle enjoys spending time with her grandson, sewing, and cooking.


pic_dr_flintDr. Austin Flint – Chairman of the Board
Lucien Austin Flint is originally from Hapeville, GA but now makes his home in Canton, GA where he has lived and practiced medicine since 1968. He is married to his wonderful wife, Bea who he claims is definitely his better “half”, for 56 years. They raised three boys, Russell, Doug and Cris. Russell is now an orthopedic surgeon practicing at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital in Jasper. Doug is an Attorney practicing in Canton, and Cris lives in Jackson, CA and works for an IT company.

Dr. Flint graduated from Emory University in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He then went on to attend Emory University School of Medicine where he graduated with an M.D. degree in 1962. Dr. Flint served in the USAF from 19631965 as a Flight Surgeon. After his service, he completed his residency in Radiology in 1968 at Grady Memorial Hospital. Dr. Flint was certified by the American Board of Radiology in 1971. He went on to practice medicine in the Field of Radiology in North Georgia, including Canton, Ellijay, Jasper, Blairsville and Hiawassee from 1968 to present.

Dr. Flint and Bea have a great love of dogs and own four of their own. One of these is Lulu, a “happy tails” or therapy dog, which Bea takes to visit Nursing homes. Their newest dog is Bodo, an 11 ½ week old puppy who will soon be training with “happy tails”. He and his family have attended the Episcopal Church for many years. They helped found St. Clements church in Canton, where they are currently members. Dr. Flint wants to be part of The Keely Foundation to help in what he has learned to be one of the worst problems of our present time that of heroin addiction, which has led to the deaths of so many of our finest young people.

Don Ware pixDon Ware, Jr. – Vice Chairman
Don Ware and his wife, Kimberly, live in Canton, GA. He is Dad to five kids and one step son. His oldest son is a war hero in the United States Marines.

Don is the founder and owner of In Their Honor Transports. ITHT is the sole transport service for all coroner cases for the Cherokee County Coroner’s Office. Don started this company to honor our deceased Veterans during the transportation process and create jobs for our Veterans here at home. It was during this time that he recognized how much Cherokee County is suffering from a serious heroin problem.

After seeing the obscene number of deaths that have been caused by this terrible epidemic called heroin, Don’s calling to help spread awareness led him to become a board member of The Keely Foundation. “I have a troubled heart for the victims of heroin use and their families. I stand ready to help those victims in any way I possibly can”. Don’s past experience of 8 years in Law Enforcement, in addition to his transportation service for the coroner’s office, add a unique and beneficial perspective to The Keely Foundation. Don and his family attend First Baptist Church of Canton.

pic_judge_popeMarion T. Pope, Jr. – Board Member
Judge Marion T. Pope, Jr. was born September 28,1927 in Thomaston, Upson County, Georgia, to Marion T. Pope, Sr. and Hulette Irene Clarke Pope. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Canton, Cherokee County, Georgia. After graduation from Canton High School in 1945, Judge Pope entered North Georgia College in Dahlonega. His education was interrupted by a call to serve in World War II and Judge Pope served in the Navy for two years. After the war, Judge Pope attended South Georgia College in Douglas, Coffee County, Georgia. Later he entered the University of Georgia earning a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and in 1953 earned his Bachelor of Laws degree. In 1988, he capped his academic career by earning a Master of Laws from the University of Virginia. Click to Read More.


pic_bruce_thompsonSentor Bruce Thompson – Treasury
Senator Bruce Thompson was elected to the Georgia State Senate in 2013, and re-elected again in 2014 without opposition. He represents Senate District 14, which includes portions of Cherokee, Bartow and Cobb counties. Sen. Thompson, a Republican, is a Deputy Whip, Chairman of a Finance Sub-Committee, Vice Chairman of the Science and Technology Committee, and a member of Banking and Higher Education Committees.

A native of a small Montana town, Sen. Thompson grew up working on his family farm. At an early age, he began operating tractors, combines, and large trucks as a commitment to helping the farm survive. Sen. Thompson credits his work ethic, self-reliance and successful business career to his parents, coaches, and strong Christian faith. After attending college at Montana State University-Northern on a wrestling scholarship, Sen. Thompson served four years in the United States Military as a tank commander. Since his time serving in the military, Sen. Thompson has become a successful businessman and entrepreneur. He currently serves as a board director of Northside Bank, a trustee for Truett-McConnell College and the Treasurer of The Keely Foundation.

Sen. Thompson is a committed member of his community, providing time and resources to the Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter, the Advocates for Children, the Rotary Club, and the Etowah Education Scholarship Foundation to name a few. Sen. Thompson previously served as Chairman of the Cartersville/Bartow Chamber Commerce from 2012-2013. He currently owns several companies including Quoteburst Software Solutions, Lifecycle, The Thompson Group Insurance, Bruce Thompson Enterprises, and Coverstar Automatic Safety Covers. Sen. Thompson lives in Cartersville with his wife Becky, daughter Faith and son Max. The Thompsons are active members of First Baptist Cartersville, where Sen. Thompson previously served as the Chairman of Personnel and is now involved with the church’s vision team.

January 2015 – Senate Press Office


Chief Ken Ball – President

Chief Ball joined the Marietta Police Department in July of 1976. He commanded the Uniform Patrol Services Division until his retirement as Deputy Chief of Police in March of 2005. He served Marietta in every division and on all three shifts, the STEP Unit, Stake –Out Unit, Motorcycle Unit, Investigations and Commanded the Marietta-Cobb D.U.I. Task Force for 3 years.

On April 3, 2005 he was sworn in as the Chief of Police of the Holly Springs Police Department. He lead the agency of 28 sworn police officers and administrative staff. Chief Ball prides himself in bringing new advances in technology and law enforcement initiatives into the arena of the Holly Springs Police Department. The Holly Springs Police Department was the first police department in the state of Georgia that implemented the use of Narcan. He retired as Chief of Police December 5, 2016.

On January 1, 2017 he was sworn in as Chief Deputy of the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office. He serves the Office of Sheriff under Sheriff Frank Reynolds and is 2nd in Command of the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office.

Chief Ball has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration at Columbia-Southern University. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice at Southwest University and is a graduate of the 95th Administrative Officers Course at the Southern Police Institute, University of Louisville, in Kentucky. He is a graduate of the Professional Management Program from Columbus State University and the Dale Carnegie Leadership Course. He is an active member of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police and served several years as the appointed District 11 Representative.


Kris Sperry, M. D. – Board Member
Kris Sperry, M. D., was born and raised in Kansas, and attended the Kansas State College of Pittsburg, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and Minor in Chemistry in 1975. Six weeks later, he entered medical school at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, where he graduated with his M. D. Degree in June of 1978. Between July of 1978 and June of 1979, he was an Intern, at the Allentown Hospital, in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Between July of 1979 and June of 1981, he was a Commissioned Officer in the United States Public Health Service, stationed in the Indian Health Service Branch on the Reservation of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, in Red Lake, Minnesota, where he provided medical care to the Native American People for two years. He was honorably discharged in June of 1981, and completed a Pathology Residency at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which he completed in June of 1985. Between July and December of 1985, he was a Fellow in Forensic Pathology with the Office of the Medical Investigator for the State of New Mexico. He is certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic,


pic_robinRobin McDonnell – Secretary
Robin is a Georgia native and graduate of Kennesaw College with a Bachelor degree in Business Administration. She and her husband, Dan McDonnell, settled in Woodstock where she became a stay at home mom to 3 beautiful, active children. After returning to the workforce, Robin joined BB&T where she has been employed for the past 15 years. She works as a Business Services Assistant and enjoys interacting with local business owners.

Robin’s passion for this foundation is born of a deep personal experience. Her twenty-four year old son, Ryan, passed away in May of 2015 due to an accidental heroin overdose. Since then, she has made it her mission to spread awareness of this alarming epidemic in an effort to prevent others from having to go through the same heartache.

Robin enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and their three dogs. She attends Revolution Church in Canton, GA. In her spare time, Robin likes to read, camp and travel. She makes every effort to live life to the fullest.


pic_donna_earlyDonna Early – Board Member
My name is Donna Early. I was born in New York, living there for 13 years, moving to Miami Florida for a brief time and ultimately making my home in Georgia. I graduated from Ridgeview High School, went on to Georgia State University, transferring to Medical College of Ga. earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing.

I met and married Bill Early while in Augusta. Our first child, Allison, was born in 1980 in Savannah. We moved to Canton in 1981 where Bill began his medical practice with my help. I changed careers in 1982 with the birth of our son Paul, followed by John in 1984 and Matthew in 1986. Our 5th child, Mary, was born 5 years later in 1991. My time has been devoted to my family and volunteer work in schools, church and the community. We currently attend Watermarke Church where I participate in the re-new mentoring program and small group leadership. I also volunteer at the Atlanta Care Center, a crisis pregnancy resource ministry.

Our dear son, Matthew, died from an accidental heroin overdose on April 10th, 2013 at the age of 26, I am grateful to be able to participate as a board member of The Keely Foundation. It is my ambition to be proactive in the community to help others escape this fate by avoiding drugs and becoming free from addiction.