Executive Team

Cody Markel, Founder and Executive Director

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Cody Markel is the Founder and Executive Director of Turner's Heroes. Cody was a part of the same football class at Vanderbilt University as Turner, and they eventually became very good friends and roommates. Cody started Turner's Heroes as a way to honor his late friend and carry on his spirit after his passing.  He graduated from Vanderbilt in December of 2019 with a double major in Political Science and Medicine, Health, and Society.  Cody has been awarded the 2019 Southeastern Conference Brad Davis Community Service Leader of the Year award, the Vanderbilt Athletics Community Leader Award, the Vanderbilt Athletics Jim A. Robbins Character Award, and the National Football Foundation of Middle Tennessee C.R. Bickerstaff/Coach Bill Pace Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award for his work on Turner's Heroes.  Cody is originally from Middleton, Wisconsin.  

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Samantha Rickert, Summer Associate

Samantha is originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan but completed high school in Brentwood, TN before accepting a volleyball scholarship to Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. Samantha is pursuing her Master's in Business Administration focused in Marketing and International Studies and will receive her undergraduate degree in Spring of 2022. She is the President of Bellarmine's American Marketing Association and a captain for the Bellarmine Knights Volleyball Team. She is excited to bring her previous work experience from The Governors Club golf course and Knot Us Pretzels to her position.  More importantly, Samantha is happy to fulfill her passion for children by contributing to the great work of Turner's Heroes.

Board of Directors

Noelle and Randy Cockrell

Randy And Noelle are the loving parents of Turner. They are also the parents of Parker and Katheryn. Noelle and Randy reside in Georgia where they have been for the last 23 years. They are both native Virginians having both graduated from Virginia Tech. Randy is a career law enforcement officer and Noelle is an educator. They are grateful for the support shown to their family from the compassionate people of Acworth, Nashville, and beyond.

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Martin Penny, Chairman

Martin Penny is the Associate State Director for Advocacy for the AARP of Tennessee. Martin excels in activating voices throughout different communities to achieve a common goal. Martin holds a bachelors and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Tennessee. He received a second master’s degree from Lipscomb University in Environmental Studies. Martin is a member of Belle Meade United Methodist Church and the Phoenix Club, supporting youth services. Martin resides in Nashville, with his wife Kathleen and their daughters, Emerson and Greer. 

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Linda Lance, Treasurer

Linda Lance is currently Director of Administration and Operations at Cooley Public Strategies. She previously worked at Bridgestone Americas Holdings and has a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Middle Tennessee State University. She resides in Brentwood, TN, with her husband, Chris and their son, Charlie.

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Alison Wenzel , Secretary

Alison Wenzel is the Associate Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Development at Vanderbilt University. She oversees all Career Development, Personal Development and Community Outreach initiatives for the student-athletes. Outside of her job, Alison is busy spending time with her husband Justin and two children, Calla and Casey.​