Gary Faircloth
President/Chief Executive Officer

Gary Faircloth began calling B&GH “home” as a 15-year-old-boy after experiencing domestic turmoil. Now, he is humbled and honored to serve as President and CEO of the organization that made such a difference in his life.

Gary graduated high school in 1966 while living on campus. With a desire to give back, he pursued higher education by attending community college, and eventually graduating from East Carolina University in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in social welfare and concentration in juvenile correctional services. Gary later received certification from the National Planned Giving Institute and completed studies with the Southeastern Trust School of Campbell University. He also attended the Institute for Healing Racism from which he became a certified trainer.

Returning to B&GH in 1972, Gary served in a number of key roles including Director of Social Services, Educational Coordinator, Associate Campus Director, Civic Club Coordinator, Director of Planned Giving and Director of Development. In 1989 he accepted a position as vice president for Starr Commonwealth Schools in Albion, Michigan where he worked until 2002. Gary was welcomed “home” in 2008 when he accepted his current position as President/CEO.

Gary and his wife, Betty, have two sons, Brad and Travis, as well as three granddaughters: Ally, Bella and Colbie.

Donna Yalch
Vice President, Community-Based Services

Donna Yalch is Vice President of Community-Based Services and has been serving in this role since 2006. She oversees all pre- and post- adoption services, as well as family and therapeutic foster care arrangements.  Donna also founded the LAKE House, B&GH’s first ever program for teen mothers and their babies.  Donna is a graduate of West Virginia University with a bachelor’s degree in social work. She has more than 20 years of experience in protecting children and strengthening families. In 2001, Donna joined B&GH as a foster care consultant and, as a result, was introduced to two young children she and her husband, Joe, would later adopt. After the birth of their son, Adam, they welcomed Brandon and Megan into the Yalch family with open arms. Donna enjoys following Mountaineer football and spending time with her family.

Ray Cockrell, CFP®
Vice President for Development
Planned Giving & Major Gifts Officer


Ray Cockrell is vice president for development. Since joining the development team at B&GH in April 2005, his focus has been planned giving and major gifts. He is a Certified Financial Planner and holds both a bachelor and master's degree from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. In addition to his work, Ray is active in scouting and serves as the leader for the scouts in Troop 26 in Wilmington. He has coached both his son's athletic teams and is active in his church and the Wilmington Optimist Club.


Tom Simmons
Vice President, Education


Tom Simmons is vice president of education. Dr. Tom Simmons was a resident at Boys Home (now Boys and Girls Homes of NC) in 1956 and has returned to help students reach the same level of success. Graduating from Hallsboro High School in 1963, Dr. Simmons went on to the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, where he graduated with a bachelor of arts in 1971. After teaching for many years, he enrolled in a master of school administration program at the University of South Carolina. He continued working in education, serving as a teacher for many more years and holding principal and assistant principal positions at public schools in Brunswick, Hyde and Bladen counties. He holds Principal and Superintendent licenses and is now a graduate of East Carolina University's Educational Doctorate Degree program. He has served on the NC Association of Educators. Dr. Simmons has not only been involved in education, but also civic clubs and non-profit organizations. He is a past member of Jaycee and Rotary clubs, National Principals Caucus where he was Vice President, and is a former board member of Boys and Girls Homes. Also, after moving to Boiling Springs Lake, NC, he was elected to two terms on the City Council there.