Bridges International Board of Directors
Lori Costantino-Brown – President
Serving since 1977
Lori Costantino-Brown was appointed President and CEO of Bridges International in 2006, succeeding Bishop Frank Costantino, the organization’s founder and her father. Over the past 30 years, Ms. Costantino-Brown has played a key role in the transformation of Bridges International from a single contract with the Department of Corrections to becoming the leading provider of substance abuse treatment and community release programs in the state of Florida.
Ms. Costantino-Brown has earned her qualifications as a Certified Addiction Specialist, and Certified Associate Addictions Professional. She has personally reengineered the organization as Director of Quality Management, Chief Operations Officer, and Senior Vice President. The result is a new Bridges International – a company where offenders receive supervision, but also are expected to become better people as they prepare to re-enter society.
Through an international expansion, Ms. Costantino-Brown is also the President of Bridges of Canada, which was founded by an acquaintance of the late Bishop Costantino, Monty Lewis. In 2012, when Monty’s health began to fail, he reached out to Ms. Costantino-Brown to assume the presidency and continue to reach out to “the least, the lonely, and the lost” in and around Fredericton, New Brunswick.
As an advocate for both business and industries related to substance abuse and justice issues, Ms. Costantino-Brown serves on many high profile boards in Florida. Currently, she serves on the board of directors for the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association (FADAA) and the Florida Chamber of Commerce. For Florida Tax Watch and Associated Industries of Florida, Ms. Costantino-Brown serves on the Executive Board and is a founding member of the Smart Justice committee, and on the Board of Directors and as a founding member of the Florida Smart Justice committee, respectively. Ms. Costantino-Brown is also the founding chairman of the Florida Smart Justice Alliance, the latest development in justice reform advocacy in Florida.
Healthy Start Coalition of Orange County Family Advocate Award Lori Costantino-Brown received the Healthy Start Coalition of Orange County Family Advocate Award in May 2016. It was given in recognition and appreciation of the care and support that Lori Costantino-Brown and Bridges International has always given to Families in the Orange County community.
Ms. Costantino-Brown has a passion for addiction treatment and recovery. Her insightful experience with substance abuse treatment gives her a unique perspective on the criminal mind and addictive behaviors of offenders at every stage of recovery.
Gerald Holdsworth – Treasurer
Serving since 2010
Gerald Holdsworth has been a Board Member for Bridges International since 2010. He brings to the Board sound judgment, which is instrumental in his service to the Bridges International Board of Directors. For more than 10 years, Mr. Holdsworth has had a passion for helping those in recovery. In the past he operated sober living homes focused on helping others struggling with alcoholism and drug addiction.
Mr. Holdsworth holds a business degree from Towson University. Early in his career he helped manage a database for a government contractor who was awarded a JUMP grant (Juvenile Mentoring Program). He has also been employed in many positions including two years of Public Accounting conducting audits for various not-for-profit companies in the DC Metropolitan area.
Dr. Grady S. McMurtry – Secretary
Serving since 1987
Dr. Grady S. McMurtry is a Biblical Scientific Creationist, Christian Apologist and full-time Christian missionary. He received his B.S. with Honors from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; an M.S. with Honors from the State University of New York, Syracuse; a D.D. from the School of Theology in Columbus, Georgia; and a DLitt. from Mid-Continent University, Mayfield, Kentucky. He is a past regent and adjunct professor at the School of Theology in Columbus, Georgia and a guest lecturer at Johnson University, Florida Campus.
Dr. McMurtry has been a Biblical Scientific Creationist since 1974. Prior to that, he was an Evolutionist for 20 years, and a Theistic Evolutionist for one and a half years. He is an ordained minister, church elder and an Expert School Board Witness.
He is member of many Christian and secular organizations including life-time memberships in the Creation Research Society, Mensa, Intertel, and Phi Kappa Phi.
Father Charles Brown
Serving since 1985
Father Charles Brown currently serves in two capacities as Senior Vice President for Bridges International and Christian Prison Ministry, bringing vast experience in prison reentry, faith based programming, and treatment curriculum development for offenders, prisoners and substance abusers. Soon after his ordination in 1999, which was largely influenced by Bishop Frank Costantino, Father Brown became a Priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church.
Father Brown is uniquely qualified to provide the road map and spiritual guidance for these men placed in Bridges International’s care and supervision. As a young man, he was incarcerated and sentenced to prison, and he has lost several family members to substance abuse. These experiences give him the vision that he uses to mentor offenders who are trying to find their way back to society. Father Brown has pioneered reentry and aftercare programs that focus on spiritual, intellectual, emotional and social growth to combat the high rate at which ex-offenders commit crimes and return to prison.
After completing coursework at Barry University, Father Brown attended the International Seminary in Plymouth, Florida. He is a Certified Addiction Professional with the Florida Certification Board. He is also certified as an International Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ICADC) with the International Certification of Reciprocity Consortium. In 2003, Father Brown was recognized as FADAA’s “Man of the Year” for his groundbreaking efforts in creating the Bridges International substance abuse treatment programs.
Serving since 2006
John Harris of First Baptist Orlando is the Pastor of First Hope Ministry where he is involved in coordinating and mobilizing the whole church in prayer, fasting, healing, and health. He got started in the ministry in his twenties when, through a chance encounter, Mr. Harris met a person addicted to drugs and was able to help that person to Christ. From the age of 26 onward John Harris and his wife have been in Christian service fulltime. While in Christian service working with drug addicts, Mr. Harris received formal training and was ordained as a minister. He then became a director of a large therapeutic drug rehabilitation center in the United Kingdom and started several charitable trusts in the field of addiction. In the UK Mr. Harris would work the streets of the West End of London counseling people on their addictions, particularly the young involved in the drug scene. In addition to being involved with a day center, halfway house, and night shelter he was also an advisor to the UK government in the field of addictions and prison reform. Other ministry work performed by John Harris included helping (former Watergate conspirator) Chuck Colson establish his prison ministry fellowship in the UK, serving on the board of that fellowship (named Prison Fellowship International), outreach to Kenya, and disaster relief in Florida and New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
Serving since 1984
Evangelist Thomas Gaines of New Life Worship Center is celebrating his 28th year of love mercy and charity services through his Ministry, “Making a Difference Ministry and Band.”
Dedicated to supporting churches and Christian ministries in reaching their communities with the gospel of Jesus Christ, Thomas his wife and children worked the streets of Orlando’s drug and crime laden area’s preaching, and singing the message of Christ while, providing food and clothing.
As part of the ministry, the family organized evangelistic outreaches, leading worship for Faith Creation Fellowship, holding concerts in retirement homes, hosting Christian music nights and countless other services for the community.
Thomas attended University of Maryland (European Division) and Valencia Community College, and in 2001, after years of lay ministry service, he was ordained Evangelist through Faith Christian Center in Orlando, and later ordained a Minister in 2004.
Evangelist Gaines has had the privilege of ministering to churches throughout Orlando and has actively participated with elders, missionaries and layman in bringing to the needy the helping hand of his ministry.
Michael I. Smith
Serving since 2012
Michael Smith has been providing financial service solutions in the greater Orlando area for over twenty years. Mr. Smith is a Senior Vice President who joined BB&T’s commercial lending team in April 2005 as a Relationship Manager. His current responsibilities involve the growth and management of a diverse clientele of manufacturers, distributors, real estate developers, municipalities and other providers of consumer goods and services. Mr. Smith serves his clients by understanding their business needs and providing financial solutions that assist them in achieving their business and personal goals.
Prior to coming to BB&T, Mr. Smith was an Area Executive in Seminole County, Florida and was instrumental in the successful development of Southern Community Bank into one of central Florida’s premier community banking companies. Mr. Smith previously enjoyed an eight-year tenure with SunTrust Bank as a member of the company’s Corporate and Investment Banking team focusing on the healthcare industry. Mr. Smith is a graduate of the University of Florida where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Degree.
Cecilia I. Denmark is an experienced correctional manager with 33 years in the Criminal Justice system, with nine of those years serving in the field of Substance Abuse/Transition and Re-entry initiatives. She was promoted to Vice President/Chief Operating Officer of Bridges of America in October 2012. Mrs. Denmark has served as a Correctional Officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Major, Classification Officer and Assistant Warden with the Florida Department of Corrections. Mrs. Denmark is a Certified Correctional and Probation Officer and has been certified by Florida State University as a Public Manager. Additionally, she holds a Master’s Degree in Administration of Justice and Security from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor’s Degree from Barry University, where she is now an adjunct professor. Mrs. Denmark has participated in training and leadership development for more than 25 years and is a member of various corrections, criminal justice, substance abuse, and community organizations, including serving as a mentor for the Broward County Big Brother/Big Sister program. It is her sincere desire to assist staff in developing their knowledge, skills and leadership capabilities for opportunities in professional and personal upward mobility.