Click the images to read more about each team member.
Gabriela Camargo is the Founder Director of the Stay in Step foundation. She grew up in Venezuela and she graduated from Santa Maria University, Law School in Caracas-Venezuela in 1998. She has over 10 years work experience within the administration and legal field. Her legal background goes from working at the governor’s office in Cumana, Venezuela modifying, implementing and changing regulations for the city, to her private legal practice in civil law and labor compensation. She has well-developed skills in human relations/ interpersonal interactions. She gained an excellent experience working in the title company field in the United States.
Since her husband Romy Camargo was wounded in Afghanistan in 2008, she has been an advocate for the military and civilian spouses and family members of people with spinal cord injuries. Her love, compassion, dedication and loyalty to her husband and her desire to help people with spinal cord injuries is the motivation to impulse this great project of Stay In Step Center in Tampa. Her approach is not just to manage and provide a service through Stay in Step, but also touches and changes people’s lives who are living with a spinal cord injury, sharing with those people’s an attitude of faith, hope, and optimism during the process of rehabilitation and recovery.
Romy Camargo grew up in Crystal River Florida. Romy enlisted in the Army in 1995 and Retired with the Rank of Chief Warrant Officer 3. While conducting a combat operation on September 16, 2008, his detachment was viciously ambushed. During the ambush, Romy sustained a gunshot wound to the back of the neck. The gunshot wound paralyzed him from the neck down. His medic Steve Hill who is the Lead Trainer at Stay In Step was able to stabilize him while his Team ODA 7115 prepped the Battlefield to be medically airlifted out of the Area. Once he arrived at Walter Reed Army a Medical Center he was treated for the gunshot wound and received an operation to help stabilize his neck. At this time the doctors were able to determine the nature of his injury, his C3 vertebra had been shattered and was extracted. His breathing was tied to a respirator and he was paralyzed from the shoulders down. He was then transferred to James A. Haley VA hospital in Tampa, Florida and was an inpatient for 18 months. Romy now lives in Tampa, FL where he is pursuing a furious pace rehabilitation and recovery five days a week and is the Administrative Director here at the Stay In Step Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Center.
Romy’s major awards and decorations include: Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Combat Infantry Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Special Operations Combat Divers Badge and the Special Operations Combat Divers Supervisors Badge. Romy is dedicated to Taking a Step Forward Towards Recovery!!
Troy Smith was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. The product of a single parent household, Troy was always taught the value honesty, respect and hard work. Troy credits his high school St. Johns Jesuit for playing a key role in his personal development and for instilling in him the importance of living a life of Christian service. After college, Troy enlisted in the United States Navy, where he served honorably as a Hospital Corpsman and later as a Physical Therapy Assistant. While serving on active duty, Troy found his passion and love for physical fitness which led him into competitive bodybuilding. In 2015, Troy began a speaking organization (iGRIND: Conversations in Change) where he travels the country empowering various high school students and youth groups, through his talks about the importance of perseverance and leading a healthy lifestyle. Troy has been a ‘Big Brother’ to a local 10-Year-Old in the Tampa community named Cody since 2015 and he has a 4-year-old cat named Tigger.
I hope to use my diverse background and education to create sustainable systems and programs within Stay in Step, that ensure our continued growth and success within the Tampa Bay community and beyond.
No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.
Patricia Diosa was born in Medellin, Colombia, got married at age 16 and at 17 her first son, John, was born. She made the decision to start a family business which was very prosperous, but in 1993 she and her husband decided to move to the United States seeking new opportunities for economic development and for their children to learn another language. In 2004 her second son Julian was born. She is a very self-driven and motivated individual. She brings managerial skills to Stay in Step from her times working through Mary-Kay Inc. becoming a contractor in the real-estate business and eventually managing an Ann Taylor Inc. clothing retail store. It was in 2012 that she first met Gaby and Romy Camargo at Project Walk Orlando, a facility specializing in spinal cord injuries.
Unfortunately, Patricia’s son had been involved in a motorcycle accident earlier in the year that left him paraplegic, and the two families became great friends. One day Gabriela shared her dream of wanting to open a rehabilitation center in Tampa, FL to Patricia. In 2015, this dream became reality and Romy and Gaby offered her the opportunity to manage their new facility, “Stay in Step Spinal Cord Injury Center”. Patricia aims to use her expertise to help Stay in Step excel and move forward in the right direction. “This is a labor of love, where everyone suffers a condition that still has no cure, but where rehabilitation plays an important role in their lives.”
George Palang was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida. It was from both his parents that George learned the value of hard of work and developed his willingness to help others. In 2012, George moved from Pensacola to Orlando, FL to pursue a degree in Exercise Science at the University of Central Florida. While in his last 2 semesters of college, George took an internship at Project Walk Orlando where he learned more about the spinal cord injury population and how to apply the various methods and techniques of activity based therapy. It was also in Orlando that he made a friend in Romulo “Romy” Camargo, founder and owner of Stay In Step Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Center. He had no idea that meeting Romy would lead to something bigger in the near future but in 2015, George relocated to the Tampa Bay Area to become one of the first activity based exercise trainers at Stay In Step where he has been helping individuals take a step towards recovery.
I am dedicated to using my knowledge and experience to serve, educate and make a positive impact for everyone that travels through the doors of Stay In Step.
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
Jose J. Lopez, born and raised in Venezuela came to The US in 2009 at the age of 15. He gained a lot of experience during the last years helping Romy with his daily rehabilitation therapy at home. His experience combined with his enthusiastic spirit, commitment, and dedication, made him a good candidate to help the Stay In Step’s clients take a step toward recovery.
Jose’s drive, knowledge and ability to connect with all clients made him the perfect candidate for the vacant Trainer position. In this new role, Jose will use his talents and expertise to lead therapy sessions and guide our clients toward their personal recovery goals.
I plan to attend Full Sail University to study video game design
No matter what you do, do your best. Aim high.
Lead Training Aide
Lead Training Aide
Born in Harrisburg Pennsylvania, Adam McLaughlin came into the world as the middle child of Sandra and John McLaughlin. Surrounded by his older and younger sister and family he was taught not only to respect your elders, but to be a leader by example. Adam was accepted into USF’s “Pre-PT” Health Sciences program at the age of 17, one of the youngest accepted. Through this program he was able to take a one-year internship at Florida Hospital Tampa and get an inside look on inpatient therapy. He credits this first experience has been the triumphing factor on his decision to become a Physical Therapist.
Currently with Florida Hospital Connerton LTAC and Stay in Step, Adam has the ability and pleasure to assist patients and clients alike on their journey towards recovery. With an avid love for water Adam has become an experienced SCUBA diver and lifeguard supervisor at SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment during his time studying as well. Adam enjoys getting know clients on a personal level, and looks forward to making a difference at Stay in Step with all clients of the center. He is a devoted Philadelphia sports fan and enjoys watching them when they come to town.
I hope to further my education by becoming a Doctor of Physical Therapy and use my skills to further help our clients succeed in everything they do.
“Perfectly made, but far from perfect.”
My name is Beth Palubin and I graduated from the University of Florida (Go Gators!!) 10 years ago with my Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree. I have worked with individuals with neurological conditions/disabilities for over 9 years, primarily with children and young adults. I am certified in both Interactive Metronome and the Therasuit Method and value the importance of treating the body as a whole. I believe in the power of human touch and use my own hands as a tool to help facilitate and assist with movements for my patients. I also believe in the importance of family and the strength and empowerment families bring to the table when developing treatment plans is invaluable.
I truly love what I do and am continually humbled by those that I treat. I’m looking forward to all the new experiences that being with Stay In Step will bring. On a personal note, I was born and raised in Tampa, Florida (a true Tampanian) and am thrilled to be back in the area after living in Pinellas County for several years. I have been married for almost 10 years (wow!!!) and have 2 beautiful children, currently ages 7 and 5. We love big dogs and are looking forward to adding another one to our crew down the road. In my free time (what’s that?), I love reading, sitting by the pool, and just relaxing.
To bring my strengths to the table and be able to impact the lives of those I treat on a daily basis. Their goals are my goals!
To help Stay in Step develop a strong, solid therapy presence in their gym that will enable them to reach out to more people in need.
You cannot serve from an empty vessel. (Eleanor Brown)
Just keep swimming. (Dory)
Physical Therapist Assistant
Physical Therapist Assistant
Jason Kimber was born and raised in New Jersey but left for warmer climates upon graduation from high school. He moved around a lot but finally settle in Florida in 2003. Jason received his introduction to Physical Therapy after receiving a knee injury requiring him to seek out a PT to rehabilitate his knee and relearn how to walk again. During his time in therapy he developed an intense interest in anatomy and physiology and enrolled in massage school. Upon receipt of his LMT he started his career at the same clinic that helped him regain his prior level of function. After developing a following at his clinic he decided to enroll at South University where he graduated Cum Laude with his PTA degree in 2007.
Since then he has worked in a variety of settings including hospitals, home health, skilled nursing, and outpatient clinics where he discovered a keen interest in treatment of movement disorders like Parkinson’s Disease and stroke rehabilitation. Since then he has focused his continuing education on neurological disorders and gait training protocols. He received certification in LSVT in 2012 and has developed treatment programs to achieve successful outcomes. He joined the Stay in Step team in January of 2017
Continue to educate myself on latest techniques and exercise for SCI and movement disorder patients
The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why- Mark Twain
Training Aide I
Training Aide I
Jamaal Solomon was born and raised in Gainesville, Fl. Coming from a poverty stricken background, Jamaal was taught early on the importance of hard work, dedication and drive. After high school, Jamaal was determined to figure out his passion and calling in life so that it would have meaning to it. After years and highs and lows, he found out that helping others is what gave him the most joy. With the combination of his love for sports/fitness and his new found passion for helping others, Jamaal attained a degree in Sports and Exercise Science with hopes to improve individual’s life physically, mentally and emotionally through training.
In 2015, Jamaal gave his life to Christ, and began his spiritual walk of personal improvement and donation of time to those in need. Jamaal began volunteering at school for at-risk youth in Gainesville and has continued his charitable efforts through training, work and overall interactions.
I hope to leave anyone I encounter in a better state physically, mentally and emotionally by treating them with kindness and equality.
“There’s a learning opportunity in every situation.”
Training Aide I
Training Aide I
Kelsey grew up in a very small, rural village in Ohio where she resided with her parents and four older brothers until moving to Columbus to further her education. In December of 2017, she graduated from Capital University earning Summa Cum Laude honors with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. Even from a young age, athletics have consistently remained a fundamental part of her life. With participation ranging from softball, volleyball, basketball, competitive swimming, track and field, to collegiate cross-country, she was and still is eager to find new ways to challenge herself. During her undergraduate education, her passion for learning combined with her love of health and fitness eventually lead her to the field of physical therapy.
While in Ohio, she was fortunate to have the opportunity to work and learn as a therapy aide in an outpatient, private practice for over two years where her curiosity and enthusiasm for the field continued to develop. In her time there, she quickly began to see the value of patient centered care and high quality physical therapy. In addition, she utilizes her background in sports, wellness, and fitness as a certified personal trainer where she regularly helps her clients strive towards their goals and lead a healthier life.
I will be attending South College as a proud member of the class of 2020 to complete my Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy. Following, I intend to continue furthering my education by pursuing a residency. In the meantime, I hope to contribute to the encouraging, optimistic environment at Stay In Step.
“A comfort zone is a dangerous place to live.”
Training Aide I
Training Aide I
Nick Bartkus was born and raised in the Tampa area and attended Florida State University. He pursued a degree in Exercise Physiology and graduated from FSU in 2017. His passion for sports and exercise is what led him to seek a career in the physical therapy field, and in the future, he hopes to go back to school and further his education. Throughout his time in college, Nick volunteered at various physical therapy and rehab clinics where he gained vast knowledge and valuable skills that he plans to bring to the Stay In Step team. During his time here, he hopes to make an impact on each individual that he meets, and help them on their path towards recovery.
I hope to obtain my Doctorate of Physical Therapy and help each individual at Stay In Step achieve their goals.
“We didn’t come this far, to only come this far.”
Training Aide I
Training Aide I
Sophia grew up in southwest Florida in the town of Fort Myers. However, it was not until she moved to Tampa to attend the University of South Florida that she fully decided to set her sights on becoming a physical therapist. Through different experiences with family and friends – old and new, she learned that in order to truly succeed, one must set their goals but work with 110% to not only meet them, but to surpass them. This is something that she sees in the treatment process of recovery and hopes to instill this in others in the future.
Aside from wanting to become a physical therapist, Sophia enjoys going to the gym to strengthen her own mind and body – as well as her appetite. In fact, one of the reasons she enjoys working out is because (while it may be in her head) it offsets the immense amount of delicious food from new places she and her friends find around the diverse city of Tampa.
My long-term goal is to earn my DPT to become a licensed physical therapist and help people improve their quality of life through motion and performance.
“A head full of fears has no room for dreams.”