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Leadership

Debra Murphy-Luera

Debra Murphy-Luera, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director

Debra leads the Texas Gulf Coast region in achieving performance targets essential to delivering American Red Cross services to those in need. She is also Executive Director for Coastal Bend, Texas, where she works closely with partners and is the face of the Red Cross in local communities. Debra has served in a variety of leadership roles within the Red Cross for more than 18 years, including Interim Chapter Executive, Support Manager, Chapter Solutions Manager for the Southwest Service Area and Executive Director for Webb County. Prior to her service with the Red Cross, Debra spent more than 20 years in the broadcasting industry. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Kennedy Western University. A native of Wyoming, Debra currently resides in Corpus Christi, Texas and is married with three step-children and four step-grandchildren.


Jake Peters, Regional Volunteer Services Officer

Jake Peters, Regional Volunteer Services Officer

Jake leads all activities pertaining to the recruitment, training and engagement of a large volunteer corps essential to carrying out the Red Cross mission throughout the region. Jake has served a variety of leadership positions with the Red Cross over the past 14 years, including Executive Director of the Mid-Central Service Center in Shawnee, Oklahoma and of the Canadian Valley Chapter in El Reno, Oklahoma, Major Gift Officer for the Central and Western Region of Oklahoma and Chief Development Officer of the Central and Western Region of Oklahoma. Jake holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Administrative Leadership from the University of Oklahoma. A native of Oklahoma, Jake currently resides in Houston, Texas where he enjoys exploring the Texas Gulf Coast.


Steve Atchison

Steve Atchison, Director of Transportation Services

Steve is responsible for managing the transportation of senior citizens, people with disabilities and chronically ill individuals to critical medical appointments throughout the Greater Houston area. His leadership results in thousands of trips per year for those who would not have other transportation options without the help of the Red Cross. Before joining the Red Cross as Manager of Customer Services in 2007, he spent 25 years in business leadership roles and co-owned an industrial packing and shipping firm. Steve holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of the South and is married with two children and five grandchildren.


Chester R. Jourdan

Chester R. Jourdan, Jr., Executive Director

Chester serves as the Executive Director for Southeast and Deep East Texas, where he works closely with community partners and is the face of the Red Cross in local communities. Previously, he was Executive Director for the Southeast Texas Nonprofit Development Center and Executive Director of the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission, addressing regional initiatives through collaboration and cooperation with government and private sectors. Chester also served as the Executive Director of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and worked for the United States Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Georgia and Fort Worth, Texas. Chester was a member of the U.S. Army serving with the 82nd Airborne Division and the 101st Airborne Division, respectively. In 2005 he engaged in relief efforts for thousands of people displaced by Hurricane Katrina and helped lead efforts in the Hurricane Rita response that followed a month after. Chester holds a Master of Arts degree in Urban and Regional Affairs from the University of Texas and a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Stephen F. Austin State University. Chester resides in Port Neches, Texas and is married with two children and two grandchildren.


Danella Hughes, Executive Director

Danella Hughes, Executive Director

Danella serves as the Executive Director for South Texas, where she works closely with community partners and is the face of the American Red Cross in local communities. Previously, she was the Director of Development for the McAllen Society for the Performing Arts and served as the Director of Advancement for IDEA Public Schools for the Rio Grande Valley. In both positions, she successfully oversaw all fund development opportunities including grant writing, cultivation, stewardship of donors and event planning. She also served as the Interim Executive Director at International Museum of Art & Science, where she systematically developed a proactive approach to lead the organization forward in increasing membership, revenue streams and member satisfaction. She is the Past Chairman of Leadership McAllen, Past President of American Advertising Federation-Rio Grande Valley and a past Board Member for the United Way of South Texas, where she also served two consecutive years as Campaign Chair. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies from the University of Texas and an Accredited Public Relations credential from the Public Relations Society of America. Danella resides in Donna, Texas and is married with one stepson and one American Cocker Spaniel named Percy.