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Michael D. Thrower


Michael Thrower is the founder of Community Connect, Inc., the product of his two-fold life mission: being a business owner  and having a substantial impact on the lives of at-risk individuals and families in his beloved Las Vegas, Nevada.

 A product of Clark High School (Las Vegas), Michael was the first in his family to graduate from college. After completing his Bachelor of Business Administration degree at the University of Hawaii (Hilo) in 1989, Michael’s life experiences began to take on a common theme:  helping at-risk youth and sharing the word of God with as many people as possible. 

Ordained as a Chaplain through Messages of Faith Ministry in May, 2012, Michael completed the requirements to solemnize marriages in April, 2013. His focus on mentoring youth began in 1992 as a volunteer; he continued to motivate and encourage youth as a speaker through the Clark County School District’s PAYBAC (Professionals and Youth Building a Commitment) program (2001-2012). Most recently, Michael’s accomplishments include graduation from the School of Evangelism at Second Baptist Church - Las Vegas (June, 2013) where he has served as President of the Transportation Ministry (2006 - 2011), President of the Laymen Ministry (2007  - 2011), President of the Junior Laymen Ministry (2011 - present), and Sunday School Teacher (2010 – present).

In 2011, Michael founded Community Connect, Inc., a charitable 501(c)3 organization that focuses on ministering to prisoners (on-site Bible studies), their families (Angel Tree), and law enforcement officers (Adopt-A-Cop Nevada).  Since 1998, he has been employed as a Purchasing Analyst for the Clark County School District.

Michael’s work and ministry are built on the foundational belief that if you put God first in all things, He will reveal your purpose in life, help you achieve your dreams, and provide you with opportunities to educate and positively influence the lives of others.

Michael’s life experiences as a father, leader, mentor, trainer, supervisor, security officer, event organizer, and Ordained Chaplain have afforded him abundant contacts and resources upon which to draw while connecting volunteers in Las Vegas. 

John R. Triplett


John R. Triplett has been a Director of Community Connect, Inc., since its inception. Originally from Mississippi and a resident of Las Vegas since 1994, John and his wife Jackie are the proud parents of two children, both of whom have "left the nest" and are building successful careers in the business and medical professions.

John earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Jackson State University in Mississippi and a Masters of Science in Management from Purdue University in Indiana. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

John's professional work experiences have included supervisory and staff level positions in accounting, budgeting, financial planning and financial reporting for several major corporations. He currently works as a Financial Consultant for Wells Fargo Advisors in Las Vegas and holds the Series 7, 63, and 65 investment licenses as well as Annuity, Life and Health Insurance licenses. As a Financial Consultant, John advises his clients on all aspects of investment management, retirement planning, financial planning, and estate planning. John has been and adjunct professor of undergraduate and graduate courses in Accounting and Finance in the John Sterling School of Business at the University of Phoenix since 2000.

John and his family worship at the New Creation Outreach Ministry (NCOM) in North Las Vegas. He is also involved in a number of community and professional organizations and has been recognized for his many contributions over the years.

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Carol Ellenbecker


Carol Ellenbecker is the Secretary for Community Connect, Inc. She recently retired from employment as a Contract Specialist/Purchasing Analyst for the Clark County School District. Carol grew up in a Bellevue, Nebraska, a suburb of Omaha.

She has previously worked for Physicians Mutual Insurance Company as an intake clerk and a buyer in the purchasing department; for the State of South Dakota in the Adult and Child Nutrition department, monitoring state child care program sites and distributing commodity program foods; for the South Dakota Concrete Company as an intake clerk; and as the owner of a party store. She is also the vice president--and formerly served as president and secretary--with an organization for Supply Management Professionals, ISM Nevada; this organization offers professional educational opportunities through their membership with seminars, certification programs, and monthly educational events. Carol as served on several committees, educational events, special program events, memberships, and certifications.

She and her husband have lived in Las Vegas for the last 17 years.

Derrick Newton


Derrick Newton is a great asset to Community Connect, Inc. because of his talents in designing and creativity by utilizing his knowledge and work experiences.

Derrick is a product of the local Clark County School District, having graduated from Rancho High School in 1983. Derrick attended William Penn University in Iowa and received a Bachelor of Science in Marketing/Advertising & Graphic Design from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota in 1988. Derrick has worked for Vision Sign since 1999; as Art Director, he is responsible for overseeing the Art/Deisgn department. His duties include designing, rendering, and producing computer-generated design for casino interior, exterior, and shopping malls. Customer service is a priority for Derrick and he demonstrates that by working directly with salesman, architects, staff, and general customers. Other previous experience includes Art Director for Casino, Inc. in California and Computer Graphic person for Young Electric Sign.

Derrick has lead and participated in many volunteer programs working with youth and young adults. He is a Deacon at Second Baptist Church, where he has served as a Sunday School Superintendent for the youth department and assists with the young men.