Katie Ellison – Project Director

Katie and her family recently moved to St. Louis to be the Project Director for the Safer Homes Collaborative with the Missouri Institute of Mental Health at UMSL. Katie has a Bachelor’s Degree in Family and Human Development from Utah State University, a Master’s degree in Psychology from the University of the Rockies and is currently working on a second Master’s degree in Professional School Counseling from Bradley University.  Katie Ellison has worked in community and school suicide prevention for the past ten years.  She is recognized as a specialist and consultant in state-wide, community and school suicide prevention best-practices.  She is a certified trainer & coordinator for several suicide prevention, intervention and postvention programs; including QPR, ASIST, Connect, Signs of Suicide, Hope Squads, Conversations on Access to Lethal Means and has been trained to conduct psychological autopsies through the American Association of Suicidology. Katie spent the first ten years of her career working in adult and juvenile probation in the states of Utah, Wyoming and South Dakota before transitioning to working in K-12 public education, specializing in school suicide prevention.  Hailing from the Rocky Mountain West and a hunting enthusiast family Katie has experience handling firearms and has completed firearms safety instruction.

Sheila Hatcher

Sheila is a former detective for the Saint Louis Metropolitan Police Department.  Sheila has been in law enforcement for 13 years.  She has been a Crisis Intervention Officer for 11 years. Sheila is also a CPR Instructor. She is currently furthering her education at Saint Louis University.  She is married to Saint Louis City Police officer, Andrew Hatcher, who is a firearms instructor for the department.  Together they have six beautiful children.

Bill Mays

William is a NRA Certified Pistol Instructor, Certified Firearms Instructor, Head Trainer of Gunfighting University, Security Defense Academy and President of The African American Carry Conceal Association.  William was born in St Louis Missouri and is the proud father of two children. He has been training Carry Conceal for the past ten years and occasionally gives free classes to women in self-defense and firearms training. William has completed Conversations on Access to Lethal Means (CALM) and Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) training on suicide by firearms.

“Of all the training and firearms certifications I have, being part of the Safer Homes Collaborative has become the most important focus at this time, because of the epidemic that firearms are being used by suicide victims. My hope is to get as many trainers, gun shops and gun owners to get on board with this must needed project and others like it.” – William Mays.


Kurt Dudenhoffer

Kurt is the husband of Carol and father to our five daughters. The grand children are here and increasing in number!

He enjoys being a youth mentor for Spring Turkey and Fall Deer Hunting seasons.

He is longtime member of The United Sportsmen Club in Jefferson City, and member of the NRA.


“With awareness and education we can reduce suicide by firearm.

By helping people identify and take proactive action we can help them or their loved ones take action to make sure that potential suicide victim will make it through that valley in their life.”- Kurt Dudenhoeffer


Tim Nelson

Tim Nelson lives in Steele Mo. He loves the outdoors, shoots national archery tournaments, hunts, and fishes.  He spends a-lot of time with his family in the outdoors – takes them camping and hunting each year spending good quality time together.  He also, works as a Business Development Specialist for a mosquito company and works in construction Bathroom and Kitchen remodels. He loves meeting people and sharing life stories.  Safer Homes Collaborative suicide awareness lets him do more of that and hopefully save lives.  He is passionate in teaching firearm safety to his children and their friends.  He has been married to his best friend for 20 years and is the father of four.