Partners

Our team continues to grow, consisting of mental health professionals, US military veterans, entrepreneurs and media and business leaders.  If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us below in Careers. We are looking for warriors in the fight for our veterans.

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Randall Harris
President, Living Free Animal Sanctuary and War Horse Creek

Randall has worked closely with the outstanding sanctuary team on the reorganization since mid- 2014.  The combined effort has improved operating efficiency and mission efficacy 540% in 2.5 years, improved metrics across the board, and resulted in the development of major new initiatives, including War Horse Creek.

Randall is a business development consultant and a founding partner of ShadowBox VFS, a virtual reality collaboration program for film production design and planning.

Previously, Randall was a founding partner of Orbit Digital, a post-production services company that was twice selected as a finalist for NY SBA Entrepreneur of the Year. Orbit Digital later merged and was sold to Telecorps Holdings, a portfolio company of HIG Capital.  Randall is a screenwriter and director who has written scripts for Avenue Pictures, Universal Studios, RKO, and Warner Bros.

As a former US Marine, Randall is deeply concerned about the challenges facing veterans today. War Horse Creek was researched and developed to find the most effective ways to help prepare warfighters for the transition home, and save wild horses in the process.

 

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William A. Schlichter CDR, USN (ret.) Partner - War Horse Creek

During his twenty-four years of service, Commander Schlichter served as a Naval Flight Officer in the F-14A Tomcat amassing over 4,000 flight hours and 350 aircraft carrier landings.  Later in his career, he was assigned to the US Embassy, Tokyo Japan where he was the Director of Naval Aviation Programs managing $1.8Bil in Foreign Military Sales and Licensed Production Programs.  He is a graduate of the Naval Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN), has a Master’s Degree in National Security Affairs from the Naval War College, and was designated a Japanese Linguist following intensive language training at the Defense Language Institute, Monterrey CA.

Retiring from active duty in 2001, Mr. Schlichter founded EMN DEFENSE SERVICES (EMNDS), an engineering services corporation providing technical and programmatic support to the Department of Defense.  He is currently the President/CEO of EMNDS and is celebrating its 14th successful year in business.

Bill brings a passion for helping both veterans and wild horses, and provides unparalleled skills, resources, contacts and relationships for War Horse Creek.

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Eileen Norton
Partner - War Horse Creek

Eileen is the Founder and President of Wild in North Dakota (WIND) a 501(c)(3) non-profit working to educate, raise awareness and advocate for the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  The WIND Facebook page has earned over 400,000 subscribers, making it one of the most successful wild horse advocacy pages in the United States.  WIND has also been granted a Partnership Agreement with Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Corporate Recreation from St. Cloud State University, Ms. Norton worked for over 20 years as a recreation professional designing military, state and local recreation programs. 

Eileen earned certification as a Therapeutic Riding Instructor through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship® (PATH).  She served as Program Supervisor and PATH Instructor for the Therapeutic Riding Program at Helen Woodward Animal Center.

Eileen and her husband have rescued and trained three mustangs from Theodore Roosevelt National Park on their ranch in Murrieta, CA.  Charlie, Chip and Dakota Page will be among the first horses participating in this program.

 

Clinical Advisory Team

Dr. Heather Gaedt

WHC Clinical Director. Dr. Gaedt is a Clinical Psychologist with a concentration on equine-assisted psychotherapy. She has clinical and managerial experience at centers such as the Betty Ford Center, UCLA Staff and Faculty Counseling Center and Michael’s House Treatment Center in Palm Springs, CA. 

Heather is now in private practice in Palm Desert and continues to supervise treatment centers as a private contractor.

She and her husband Aaron Smith have seen the power of animal-assisted therapy with veterans at the facility they own and operate, Miracle Ranch Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.

Dr. Lauren Arenson

WHC Advisor. Dr. Arenson is a professor of Anthropology at Pasadena City College and mentor at the Veteran's Resource Center, rated one of the best veterans' programs among colleges in the US.  

Lauren became involved with veterans after one of her students committed suicide and she realized that new, more effective ideas were required to help veterans transition home.

She brings her experience with veterans to our educational and retraining program to assist in the transition from warfighter to civilian.

Dr. Lynne Mall

WHC Advisor. Dr. Mall was in family practice for many years, with specialized training in the detection and treatment of alcohol and chemical substance dependency. Lynne will assist in reintegrating veterans with their families, and help match veterans with rescued dogs for training purposes.

Lynne has bred, raised, trained and shown Arabian horses, and understands the power of the human-animal connection in healing psychological wounds.

Prof. Harold F. "Doc" Martin

WHC Educational and Training Curriculum Advisor. Doc Martin served in combat in Vietnam and stayed involved with the Army until his retirement in 2003. He has worked as a counselor and professor at the university level and currently helps veterans adapt to civilian life through the Veteran's Resource Center at Pasadena City College and through specialized classes that help prepare veterans for situations they will encounter in the civilian world, covering such topics as "How To Answer Dumb Civilian Questions."

After Vietnam, Doc suffered from severe PTSD, depression and suicidal ideation, and his recovery is an inspiration to those who are struggling to find their way out of the darkness.

Phyllis Smith-Pemberton

WHC Advisor. Ms. Smith-Pemberton has over 45 years experience in the financial management, project management, fund development and public relations of non-profit agencies and social service programs. 

She holds an MA in Management and has been trained in suicide intervention and hostage negotiation with the FBI. 

She served as a recreation director for the US Army in Korea and Vietnam and became the youngest recipient of the Sustained Superior Performance Award honoring her work in founding an orphanage in Tong du Chon, Korea.  Phyllis also ran the USO Bob Hope tours during this tenure.

She formed the ARROW Foundation, the only private foundation to participate in the White House Initiative on Russia recovery options in1992-93. ARROW's work included training of Russian Afghan veterans for an equestrian program for disabled and traumatized children.

Aaron Smith

WHC Therapeutic Equine Specialist. Aaron is an Addiction Counselor and Equine Specialist who has been working in the recovery field for over a decade. His proven areas of expertise include working with men with substance abuse and processing addictions, and in dealing with grief and loss.

Aaron is also an experienced equine trainer and handler. His understanding of equine behavior enables veterans to get the most out of their somatic therapeutic experiences, while staying safe. 

Dr. Nancy Waite-O'Brien

WHC Advisor. Dr. Waite-O’Brien is a clinical psychologist, educator and author with over 30 years experience. Nancy was with the Betty Ford Center for 18 years, where she oversaw clinical services and training, among other management duties.

Her doctorate in psychology includes an emphasis on addiction and she has specialized training in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, trauma treatment through Somatic Experiencing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

Gail Herndon

OTR/L,M.S. Gail is a Registered Occupational therapist who has a Master's in Counseling with an emphasis in addictions. Her OT experience was primarily in acute and in-patient physical rehab where she used her OT and counseling skills with patients living with short and long-term physical disabilities and concomitant psychological implications.

She was a staff member at The Women' Center in Waukesha, WI,the longest running Women's Center in the country that had a safe home for abused women and their children. She taught life skills to women who were divorced, widowed or victims of domestic violence (physical, emotional and verbal) including conflict resolution.

Gail brings a wealth of professional experience to this program and is excited to be a part it.

Advisory Team

Ray Barmore

Mr. Barmore turned his passion for horses into a career gentling, training and shoeing horses.  He has been approved by the BLM as a mustang adopter, trainer and farrier. He uses a natural horsemanship approach, communicating with horses in their "language", a skill developed through 45 years of equine experience, as well as working with Tom Dorrance, Ray Hunt and Buck Brannaman. Mr. Barmore is the Equine Manager for War Horse Creek and Facilities Supervisor for Living Free Animal Sanctuary.  Ray has volunteered his time and expertise to get our program up and running.  

Rodney Mims Cook Jr.

Mr. Cook is an authority on classical architecture, urban planning and education who has designed many public and private buildings, including the Newington-Cropsey Gallery of Art in Hastings on Hudson, NY.  Mr. Cook is Founder and President of the National Monuments Foundation, headquartered in the Atlanta Millennium Gate Museum. Cook has designed and restored a number of barns and equine centers in the Americas and Europe, including his own estate in Atlanta.  Mr. Cook will advise War Horse Creek on design and infrastructure as we move forward.

Crowell & Moring, LLP

Crowell Moring, LLP is an international law firm headquartered in Washington, DC.  The firm advises multinational corporations on regulatory, litigation, corporate, and investigations matters. As of 2016, Crowell & Moring is ranked among the top 100 law firms in the United States.  Crowell Moring has graciously offered to handle the Sanctuary and War Horse Creek legal work as a pro bono client, and advise the board on issues large and small. 

Dawn DeKeyser

Ms. DeKeyser is the Founder & Executive Creative Director of Scout Creative LA, a full-service advertising and branding agency specializing in nonprofit organizations. Her firm has been instrumental in creating and maintaining Living Free and War Horse Creek’s brand and media presence. Dawn has over 30 years of experience in advertising in New York, Dallas and Los Angeles. Her consumer brand experience includes Lexus, Frito-Lay, Coco-Cola, Nestles and AT&T, to name a few. She is also a television writer and producer who has worked on Emmy Award-winning and Golden Globe-winning shows for Disney-ABC, CBS, Paramount, DreamWorks TV, The Hallmark Channel and NBC Universal.

Rob Hessler

Mr. Hessler is an Organizational Development Consultant who worked for the Boeing Company for 34 years. He holds a BA from Washington and Lee University, an MA in Human Resource Development and Management; Executive and Professional Coaching, University of Texas-Dallas; Master Certification, Applied Project Management, Villanova University. As our organization grows, Mr. Hessler will advise on organizational health, productivity, and management and personnel issues.  He has been a dedicated volunteer and a very welcome addition to the War Horse Creek team.

Donivee & Merrill Nash

Merrill Nash trained as fighter pilot during World War Two, then went on to a highly successful career turning around distressed companies.  Donivee Nash attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and worked as an executive at the Ford Motor Company.  She and Merrill met in 1978 and found they shared many interests including history, the arts, and a compassion for animals.  Mr. Nash eventually sold his companies and the couple bought a working cattle ranch on the Crooked River in Oregon.  They later retired to homes in Pasadena and Indian Wells, CA, where they reside with their cats, Lola and Willie. 

The Nashes have been generous supporters of Living Free, and are excited to see that our mustang program has now evolved to help veterans in a meaningful way.

Heyward Pardue

Mr. Pardue is a civil engineer and partner in PBLA Engineering, Inc. which operates in the Inland Empire and Irvine area. Mr. Pardue will advise us on infrastructure and implementation of the construction plan. He is an avid animal advocate, dog rescuer, horse owner and member of the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA, among others.

Marcel Pariseau

As a partner of True Public Relations, Mr. Pariseau represents numerous artists including Scarlett Johansson, Rachel Bilson, Kristen Bell, LeeAnn Rimes, Catherine Zeta Jones and others. His firm orchestrated Academy Awards campaigns for the films "Fargo" and "Dead Man Walking", and the national campaign for "Equality Rocks", a concert supporting LGBT rights, with performances by Melissa Etheridge, George Michael, Garth Brooks, and k.d. lang. Marcel and his partner Brian have been long time supporters, and have adopted five dogs from Living Free.

Jay Pentrack

Mr. Pentrack is the successful publisher of "Idyllwild Living" magazine, and is a great supporter and advocate for War Horse Creek.  Jay is passionate about the mission of Living Free Animal Sanctuary's goal of becoming a no-kill nation.

Heather Sacre & Jim Corona

Heather Sacre is a Southern California native who holds a BA in Studio Art, and MA in Counseling Psychology. She is co-owner of Heather James Fine Art in Palm Desert with husband James Corona. Heather and James are animal lovers and strong supporters of our sanctuary, and host annual fundraisers that have increased awareness and support from the Desert Cities. They adopted their cat Luigi from Living Free, and have also adopted a tiny stray, Sofia, who has now become part of their family.

Rachel Winter

Ms. Winter is an Academy Award nominated (Dallas Buyer's Club) film and television producer, with many other productions under her belt. She has a first-look deal with A&E Network that includes The History Channel and Lifetime Television. She will act as Executive Producer for the documentary films and TV series in development to showcase War Horse Creek, accelerating the awareness and acceptance of animal-assisted therapies, as well as the value of the human-animal connection.

Sheila Zacker

Ms. Zacker is a realtor/entrepreneur who holds a BA in Social Work. Sheila is a successful businesswoman with a passion to help mustangs and veterans. She was introduced to our first mustang, Libby, and once they bonded, she had a true understanding for the value of the human-animal connection. She recently led the charge to renovate the Idyllwild Fire Station and upgrade the firefighters' living quarters. She has been a tremendous help in communicating our mission to the local community.

Frank Zane

Mr. Zane holds a Master's Degree in Experimental Psychology, including animal assisted therapies.  Mr. Zane was also a three-time winner of "Mr. Olympia" (among others) as a competitive bodybuilder. He brings his groundbreaking expertise in exercise physiology, strength training, diet and exercise, and the discipline and life skills that any competitive athlete must learn in order to win.  He will be a valuable and respected mentor to our veterans.

Living Free Board of Directors

Edward J. O'Rourke, Chairman of the Board 

Mr. O'Rourke is Founder & CEO of Iris Technology, a military defense and aerospace contractor. He holds degress in Applied Physics from California Institute of Technology and an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Business. Mr. O'Rourke and his wife Jeannette have been integral to the sanctuary's reorganization efforts, rebranding, initiative development and capital improvements, including providing funding for a new cattery.

Larry Echelmeyer, Board Secretary

Mr. Echelmeyer is a senior banking industry executive and consultant.  He has led engagements for community, national and international banks in strategy, pre- and post-merger integration, business and operational process redesign, revenue enhancement and challenged projects. He holds a BA and MBA from California State University and completed coursework in IT resources at Harvard Business School. Mr. Echelmeyer holds a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification and is a certified credit professional (CCP). He has brought key relationships, awareness and support to War Horse Creek.

Mr. Echelmeyer served from 1967-71 in the United States Air Force Security Service in southeast Asia and at the National Security Agency (NSA).

Randall Harris, Board President

Mr. Harris is a former US Marine, entrepreneur, business development consultant and professional screenwriter. He is Founder and President of ShadowBox VFS, an immersive, virtual reality program for film production planning. As President of the sanctuary, Mr. Harris has spearheaded the rebranding, operational reorganization and initiative development for Living Free and War Horse Creek.  

Marguerite Slater, Board Treasurer

Ms. Slater is an accounting and finance professional with over 30 years experience at PriceWaterhouseCoopers and several closely held private companies. Ms. Slater is currently Chief Financial and Accounting Officer at Iris Technology, and oversees the secure information technology division. She graduated summa cum laude from New York State University at Buffalo with a degree in Business Administration, and passed the New York CPA exam. She has brought her management and financial expertise and supported the sanctuary in ways too numerous to count.