MICHELE D. BOLINGER
FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Michele resides in Medina, Ohio with her family. She attended Suffolk Community College and Northern Virginia Community College where she completed her Associate’s Degree in Business Administration. Michele works with our therapy treatment team as an equine specialist and is reiki certified. She self-funded this nearly 12-acre farm for 6 years before gaining nonprofit 501(c)(3) status in 2013.
The sanctuary acts as an equine retirement and therapy facility. Current residents at the sanctuary include special needs horses, dogs, and an assortment of once-feral cats, all of which have been rescued by Michele. Michele has been at the forefront of animal welfare, working in conjunction with other animal welfare organizations and other rescues, at the local, national, and international levels; including The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Medina County SPCA, and Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary.
Michele has been involved in horse rescue since 2006 and has rescued in excess of 45 horses during that time, raising tens of thousands of dollars in donations for other animal rescues and organizations as well as her own. Michele has been used to investigate animal abuse cases and has testified in high-profile animal abuse and related trials in the states of Ohio and West Virginia.
In November of 2017, Michele was honored to earn her certification as an Equine Specialist (ES) in the EAGALA model www.eagala.org, so that she and her team can provide Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) to NE Ohio’s Military Veterans, and civilians who have experienced trauma in our community.
Michele’s long-time “dream” became reality and brings Michele’s vision full circle, to formally offer therapy services to veterans, by utilizing these special needs horses. She hopes to give all participants of this program healing and a new lease on life!
Michele has more than 25 years of hands-on experience in various areas including animal care (rescue, rehabilitation, retirement, and on-the-ground training of horses and animals of various breeds and special needs); sales, fundraising, retail management, human resources, and benefits administration, project management, accounting, customer service, and business administration.
Michele is very active and enjoys all sports and participates in many outdoor sports, including running, horseback riding, skiing, hiking, and canoeing.
JAMES E. MORAN
BOARD DIRECTOR & CHAIRMAN
James Moran is originally from the Detroit area in Michigan and moved to Ohio in the Cleveland/Akron area in 2003. He has worked in retail management, marketing, client services, and business intelligence and analytics for the past 25 years. James has worked with many of the top nonprofit organizations across the country to improve donor acquisition, retention, and lifetime value.
Currently, he is the Vice President of Marketing Intelligence and Analytics for the eleventy marketing group in Akron, Ohio. James holds an MBA in Marketing and is an avid reader of history. He is married and has two children, a cat named Jordan and a dog named Izzy. Jim and his family enjoy being active, the outdoors, and all types of animals.
DEBORAH D. LOESEL
BOARD DIRECTOR, TREASURER
A long-time resident of Charleston, SC, Deb served on the FAAAS Board for 6 years as Secretary, assuming the role of Treasurer in 2020. In her role as Treasurer, Deb is responsible for financial oversight of our growing organization, as well as focusing on development, marketing, and funding initiatives. She has played a critical role in numerous, highly successful new business launches, acquisitions, and turnaround projects requiring extensive hands-on experience in program development and administration, fiscal management, process planning, and logistics at Reebok International, totes Isotoner Corporation, and most recently, the Lowcountry Food Bank.
Active in a number of local volunteer efforts, Deb’s expertise includes leadership in building collaborative partnerships and inspiring community investment to sustain, develop, and expand effective, innovative programs for underserved populations in tri-county Charleston, South Carolina. Deb is a graduate of Bellevue University and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human and Social Services Administration.
BOARD DIRECTOR, SECRETARY
Rebecca Wildman hails from Columbus Ohio and received her B.S. in Finance from The Ohio State University. A longtime resident of the Cleveland area, she has worked in various capacities for Ernst & Young for the past 20 years. Rebecca and her husband, an Army veteran, began fostering in 2017 and have successfully transitioned 8 dogs from the shelter to new forever homes. They currently share their home in Granger Township with 5 dogs. Previous to joining the board in 2019, Rebecca volunteered at FAAAS assisting in updating financial reports. In her free time, you’ll find her playing upright bass in a rockabilly band accompanied by her husband on drums.
ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER 2024
BOARD DIRECTOR (2013-2023)
Jean Kelly, a wife, and mother of two teenagers, holds a Bachelor of Science in education. She is also a licensed professional hairstylist/make-up artist, entrepreneur, sewing and craft enthusiast, and animal lover. Jean is active in fundraising at the local and national levels. She believes that the world would be a better place if all living creatures were treated with kindness and compassion. Jean is a huge advocate for horses, dogs, and all animals in need.
ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER 2024
BOARD DIRECTOR (2017-2023)
A longtime friend of FAAAS, Nina joined our Board in 2017. She is a retired letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, where she also served as an instructor at the letter carrier training academy. An animal lover at heart, Nina had occasions to rescue small wildlife and small dogs from time to time while out on her daily mail route. Several years ago, Nina’s granddaughter introduced her to FAAAS where together they are volunteers of our Barn Buddies program. Since joining FAAAS, Nina has been instrumental in procuring goods and services at the local level as our donation solicitor.
Cindy is a lifelong Ohio native and has resided in Medina since 2009. She attended The University of Akron, where she received a BS in Management of Information Systems. She then went on to pursue her MBA from The University of Akron, concentrating in Management of Technology and Innovation.
Cindy is a wife, mother of 2 children, and a devoted dog mom. She is a project manager and manager of marketing systems for a large CPG company in the area.
Cindy has always had a passion for animals and supporting those who can’t advocate for themselves. Her dream in life is to own an animal sanctuary and rescue animals from abuse/neglect and slaughter. Cindy began volunteering as a barn buddy at FAAAS in late 2019 and has recently stepped into an equine specialist role to assist with corporate team-building events and activities.
PEGGY WHITCOMB, US Navy veteran
Peggy resides in Cuyahoga Falls, OH with her husband and daughter. She attended Northern Virginia Community College studying Business Administration. Peggy is currently an Administrative Assistant to the Director of Human Resources at Cuyahoga Falls City School District where she is responsible for all HR functions and is the Benefits and Wellness Coordinator for the district. She is also the Military Family Coordinator for the district.
Peggy’s involvement with both the military community and animal advocacy brought her to Forever Amber Acres Animal Sanctuary in February 2021. She began volunteering as a Barn Buddy Peggy after attending a Comrades in Arms session. In December 2021, she assumed the role of Volunteer Coordinator and still volunteers weekly. She is a tireless advocate and supporter of numerous animal welfare organizations. Military service runs deep in Peggy’s family. She served in the United States Navy from 1986 to 1994 as a Religious Program Specialist (RP). Her father retired from the Navy after 30 years of service. Peggy’s husband is a retired Marine and her son currently serves in the Ohio National Guard. As a veteran, Peggy was drawn to veteran’s activities and has volunteered countless hours to support many different veterans’ events and projects in the Akron area as well as working on projects to support active-duty military at home and abroad. In 2016, she became a TAPS Peer Mentor. TAPS is the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. She mentors individuals who have lost family members to suicide. Peggy will continue in her capacity as Volunteer Coordinator and also serves as our Wreaths Across America coordinator.
ANETA MULLINS, US Army Reserve veteran
Aneta is an Army combat veteran, with a deployment in Iraq in 2003-2004 with the 762nd Transportation Company out of Akron. She has been the President of Medina County Women of the Military since 2013. She is involved with many local veteran events and organizations including the American Legion Post 202, DAV Chapter 72, and the Medina County Veterans Coalition. Aneta is working on her bachelor’s degree in social work at Ursuline College, with the goal of working with veterans in the future. She has an associate in Liberal Arts from LCCC and an associate of Science from Tri-C.
Aneta lives in Medina with her husband Brad, two children, and a puppy. She has been an equestrian since she was eight years old when she started competing in 4-H programs and horse shows. Barrel racing, speed and control, poles, and stakes were her favorite speed competition classes. This began her love affair with horses and her addiction to speed and adventures. At an early age, Aneta learned that horses and caring for them was not only a therapeutic experience for her but a passion she could not shake. She was blessed to have her beloved 4-H horse Donerley for 22 years until he transitioned at age 33. She enjoys spending time with her family, horseback riding, long walks with dogs, art, traveling, reading, and yoga.
SYBIL ‘SYB’ MILLER
Sybil “Syb” Miller is a visual artist, writer, musician, and professor of photo communications at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. The daughter of a rural veterinarian, she grew up in Missouri surrounded by animals large and small and frequently accompanied her father on his rural calls until his retirement in 1988. She found his work with cattle especially intriguing, but her true passion was for the horses he encountered in his practice.
During her youth, she rode any horse she could climb on, racing across the pastures and fields, and had her own very special horse, an Appaloosa ex-barrel racer named Cochise. As a teenager, she worked on an Arabian breeding farm. She began her photographic work in the attempt to make better photographs of the horses on this farm and was urged by others to study photography in college.
After completing her undergraduate work at the University of Missouri, she earned her graduate degree at the University of Texas and continued to pursue an academic career that now includes twenty-seven years of teaching, administrative work, and numerous publications and exhibitions. Her photographic work led to extensive travels throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia over the course of twenty years. After she began riding a retired racehorse in 2007, she fell in love with the thoroughbred breed and shortly thereafter adopted her own thoroughbred, an ex-racehorse named Redabyebye. She now devotes her free time to retraining Redabyebye and exploring all things related to horses, and thoroughbreds in particular, from myth and symbol to current issues facing thoroughbreds on and off the track, to varied training approaches and modalities aimed at creating a strong horse-human bond. Her current creative work-in-progress is titled Xenophon’s Horse, a video/audio installation that brings together both her research and her personal experiences, and explores the role of the horse in human history.
VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR (2018-2021)
Growing up as the daughter of an Air Force veteran and as an avid animal rescuer, Sheridon was drawn to Forever Amber Acres’ opportunity to work with other animals and support the military community. She volunteered with FAAAS for a year and a half before taking on the role of Volunteer Coordinator so that she could remain active in the organization while going to school in Columbus. Sheridon plans to graduate from Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Medieval Renaissance Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She hopes to use her passion for writing and literature to inspire herself and others to care more deeply for the planet, using these skills for the conservation of species and natural resources. She fights every day to minimize her carbon footprint and ecological impact by reducing her plastic consumption and endeavoring to live a zero-waste lifestyle.
BRAD BUENING, US Air Force (Ret)
VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR (2015-2018)
Brad Buening is an Air Force veteran of 30 years. During his four-year tenure as our volunteer coordinator, Brad formalized our volunteer recruitment process, managed and grew our volunteer roster to better support the demanding daily needs of our horses and facility, recruited and trained new volunteers for horse and animal care, and administered animal safety training. Brad has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and recently earned his MBA. Brad and his wife Michelle reside in Valley City, Ohio. They have 3 grown children and their dog, Toby. When he’s not at home you may find him on the golf course or riding his “steel horse” across the Ohio landscape. While his new professional demands as a teacher at Strongsville High School made it impossible for Brad to continue on as our volunteer coordinator, he continues to lend his support to specific efforts including enlisting his ROTC group at Strongsville to repaint our barn this past fall. Brad’s wife, Michelle, continues to support our donor appreciation efforts with perfectly penned, personalized “thank you’s” to our wonderful donors!
We thank Brad for his military service to our country and his leadership and support in making us a stronger organization for the future.
Corey is an experienced print designer. Berresford also does photography, painting, illustration, branding, strategy, and more. She does freelance and volunteer design as well as art direction and account and project management. She has more than 16 years of design experience working in a corporation serving non-profit, B2C, and B2C clients. Corey currently serves on the board of the Akron Canton American Marketing Association as Vice President of Hospitality.
Berresford has her baccalaureate in advertising with a marketing minor from Kent State University. Some of her skills include Keynote and PowerPoint, Excel, Word, Video Production and Editing, Data Analysis, and Asset Management. When she’s not working, Corey enjoys music, history, trivia, literature, art, and much more. She truly enjoys making others laugh and caring for other people as well as animals. Berresford also likes the outdoors and nature.