Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is comprised of eleven individuals representing all walks of life from primarily Palo Alto County.

Requirements include:
The Board's role is to:

Erika Higgins - President

Erika Jane Higgins works for the Emmetsburg Community School District as an MS Special Education teacher. She earned her AA at Iowa Central Community College, a double BA in teaching and psychology from Grand View University, and her Master's degree in Special Education from Buena Vista University. She is a member of METS, for which she also gave International and Iowa Transition Conference presentations. Her interests include crafts, conversation, coffee, and cooking. Erika is excited to work with Horizons to provide opportunities for people, help educate the public on current issues/concerns/legislation, and to make personal/family connections with the Horizons family.

Kathy Merrill - Vice President

Kathy and her husband Craig live in Emmetsburg, Iowa. They have one son, Brian, who graduated with an engineering degree from the University of Iowa. Kathy is employed at Farm Credit Services of America in Emmetsburg as an Insurance Officer. Kathy earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing at Illinois State University. In her spare time, Kathy enjoys spending time with family, volunteering with various organizations, travel, movies, art and reading.

Michelle Kogel

Michelle Kogel lives in Emmetsburg with her husband, Shayne, and children Kinsey, Kyle, Kourtney, and Kysen. Michelle works at Iowa Lakes Community College as the SAVE Coodinator. Michelle received her Bachelors of Science degree from Iowa State University and her Master of Arts degree from the University of Nebraska at Kearny.
Michelle enjoys helping on the family farm, spending time at the lake, scrapbooking, reading, baking, walking, and traveling with family in her free time.
Michelle is a member of the First United Methodist Church, assists with Emmetsburg Community School functions and activities, and serves on a 4-H committee.
Michelle has a brother living as a member at Horizons Unlimited and appreciates the culture that allows her brother to thrive and live a life as independently as possible.
Michelle joined the Horizons Unlimited Board of Directors in the Fall of 2017.

Karen Brown

Karen Brown graduated from Iowa Westleyan College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education and Elementary.  Karen has retired from the Emmetsburg School system after 20 years of teaching Special Education and 13 years teaching Reading Recovery and Title One Reading.  Karen and her late husband Mike have 4 children.  She is a co-worker for a family run business and a Real Estate Salesperson for Farmers National Company. Karen's favorite pastime is reading and is in a Book Club.  She also plays piano and has been involved with acting in Main Street Theatre productions in the past.  She has been involved in FIRST Club, Then Feed Just One and Special Olympics.  Karen says she has always been interested in quality services for children and adults with disabilities.  ”I believe that Horizons Unlimited is a huge asset and a vital resource for our community.  It serves many people, and has been very successful in assisting its members in achieving the highest level of independence possible. I believe that it delivers quality services and opportunities that enable members to live, work, and enjoy full, productive lives.  I am excited to become a part of this by serving as a Board member.”



Mary Cooper

Mary Cooper lives in Emmetsburg with her husband, Dan Cooper. Mary and Dan have four grown children (Janelle, Justin, Brandon, and Breanne), as well as five grandchildren. Mary attended the Medical Academy in Minneapolis. Mary and her husband Dan operate the Emmetsburg-based construction firm, Dan Cooper Builders. Mary is a member of Grace Baptist Church. She has a brother who is a Horizons member, and has served multiple times on the Horizons Unlimited board of directors, as well as serving as a board member for the Palo Alto County Hospital.

Amy VerMulm

Amy VerMulm lives in Emmetsburg with her husband, Dean, and children Lane and Blake. She is a professor of human services at Iowa Lakes Community College on the Estherville campus. Amy attended Northwestern College (where she earned her B.A.) and Southwest Minnesota State University (where she earned her M.S.E.). She is active in the United Methodist Church (including the outreach church committee), and helping with sports events, team meals, etc. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, reading, and activities with the family. Amy cares about Horizons Unlimited's mission of promoting independence and community involvement of consumers, as well as providing awareness and education to community members. She joined the Horizons Unlimited Board of Directors in the Fall of 2017.

Carmen Moser

Carmen Moser graduated from the West Bend High School. Carmen also attended Iowa Lakes Community College and then graduated from Mankato State University with a B.S. Degree in Business Administration. Carmen works at the Palo Alto County Courthouse and was the Deputy Auditor for 19 years, and now serves as the Palo Alto County Auditor since 2012. In her free time, Carmen enjoys spending time with her family, sewing, and reading. Carmen in a member of the Emmetsburg Rotary Club and also serves on the Palo Alto County 4-H Foundation Committee. When Carmen joined Horizons Unlimited board she stated, "I want to help other people and do what I can do for the community". 

James Bird

James attended college at Iowa Lakes Community College, Buena Vista University, and Northwestern Chiropractic College. James is a Doctor of Chiropractic and he has a chiropractic business in Emmetsburg called Emmetsburg Chiropractic.
James and his wife Stephanie have four children; Jesse, Seth, Aaron and Jamie. James is a member of the Knights of Columbus, Rotary, serves on a church board, and enjoys coaching youth baseball and basketball.
James also enjoys golfing, biking, boating and spending time with family.
James served as past president and vice-president of Horizons Unlimited. James stated, "I have always had a strong compassion for individuals with mental and physical disabilities.

Matthew Meridith - Secy-Treas

Matthew Meridith attended the University of Iowa and the University of New England College of Dentistry. Matthew is a General Dentist for the Louscher Family Dentistry. Matthew attends the St. Paul Lutheran Church in Emmetsburg and serves on the FUEL Board of Directors also. Matthew stated, "The Horizons Unlimted board serves an incredibly important component in our community, and as an enriching entity in the lives of its Horizons family.

Christine Louscher

The Louscher's son Adam has lived at the Palmer Street Group home for 24 years and has thrived under Horizons support and loving care. Chris and her husband Mike have been supporters of Horizons since they lived in Emmetsburg and have been thrilled to see it grow and evolve to meet the needs of members. Chris served on the Horizons board previously, has chaired the Iowa Council of Human Services, headed an Iowa Task Force on Autism, has been president of the Autism Society in Iowa, served on the natiional board of the Autism Society of America, and professionally worked as a psychotherapist and a teacher. The Louschers have four children and ten grandchildren. Louscher Family Dentistry has been serving the Horizons members since the 70's and are proud of the many smiles they continue to see.