Meet the Team
Carrie Hay- mother to Luella, was born and raised in East-Central Illinois and graduated from Mahomet-Seymour High School in 2003. She attended Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, IL and earned her B.A. in psychology with a minor in health in 2007. Carrie then completed two terms with AmeriCorps, one with Habitat for Humanity in Jacksonville, FL and one year with Chicago Health Corps. Carrie then returned to the Champaign area to earn her Master’s in Social Work at University of Illinois. She currently lives in Oakwood, IL with her husband Ben and her children Lochlan and Lettie. Carrie works with University of Illinois as a social worker on an interdisciplinary team overseeing safe transitions for individuals moving from institutional settings to community settings. Carrie has felt the draw to help other bereaved parents after losing Luella and hopes to transform her family’s log cabin home and land into Luella’s Lodge, a healing retreat for other families.
Benjamin Hay father to Luella was born and raised in Illinois and graduated from Sandwich High School in 1999. He earned a B.A. in Speech Communications from University of Illinois in 2004 where he was a student-athlete on the varsity wrestling team. As a man of the outdoors, a multi-instrumentalist musician and craftsman, Ben is determined to use his talents to help parents heal with the magic of Luella’s Lodge. He currently lives with his partner/teammate/wife Carrie, his son Lochlan and his daughter Lettie Jo in the woods of Oakwood.
Ryan Berger, uncle of Luella, was born and raised in East-Central Illinois graduating from Mahomet-Seymour High School in 1998. He then earned a B.S. in biology in 2003 from the University of Illinois where he was a student-athlete on the varsity wrestling team. His love for the outdoors led Ryan to further pursue his academic career by obtaining a M.S. degree in 2007 from Georgia Southern University where he examined seasonal manatee behavior and distribution in Crystal River, FL. In 2010 he moved to the San Francisco Bay area in California to pursue non-profit conservation work focusing on marine mammal ecology. After 10+ years of middle/upper management in the non-profit sector, Ryan is poised to take lessons learned and apply them to the success of Luella’s Lodge. He couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this process and proud of his family for their efforts to achieve the goals and outcomes detailed in the Lodge’s mission and business plan. Currently, Ryan lives with his wonderful wife, Katie and lovely dog, Bella, in their house nestled among the redwoods in the Russian River area of Sonoma County.
Dr. Jennea Bivens Klingenberg joined Luella's Lodge as a board member July 2021. Dr. Klingenberg is an accomplished, self-directed, and driven Licensed-Eligible Psychologist with hands-on experience that spans more than 18 years in counseling, consulting, coaching, teaching, community and youth development, and research distinguished by commended performance and proven results. Over the years, she has worked with diverse institutions in clinical consulting, teaching roles, private practice, community mental health, DCFS/Fostercare and post adoption, and Headstart/K-8 schools.