Our Staff

Support Staff

Ellen AuldEllen Auld, Administrative Assistant

Ellen is our go-to person, keeping us all organized and getting the job done. She is a pro at navigating the hectic days when all of us need her at once. Ellen is a true team player, tackling any assignment given to her. She is dedicated to the This Able Veteran mission and isn’t afraid to make suggestions to improve our processes or take the initiative to get things accomplished.

Ellen brings 28 years of experience in office management & office systems skills from her career at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She began her career as secretary to the Director of Workforce Education Distance Off-Campus Military Programs and was an Assistant to the Associate of Dean of Students during her position as Office Administrator in Student Life & Intercultural Relations. Any organization is only as good as their support staff and we are incredibly blessed to have Ellen on our team.


Leslie Crabtree, Treasurer and Payroll Coordinator

Leslie has served as Treasurer since July 2014 but has been a proud supporter for many years. She is also a dog lover and has seen first-hand the healing power that the love of a dog can possess. Since an early age she has shown interest in design and the arts and in her adult life transitioned that interest into a love of photography. Leslie has been a professional photographer since 2009 and has transitioned to a freelance photographer in 2017 with a shift towards landscape and stock photography. In addition to her photography business, she is also the Payroll Coordinator and Project Officer for This Able Veteran and takes care of some of behind the scenes work. Leslie is currently in the process of becoming a certified Microsoft Office Specialist. When she’s not working she enjoys camping with her family, being a Cub Scout Den Leader and building furniture with her husband Nick.


Trainers

Claire Digman

Claire serves as a trainer for This Able Veteran.  She is a graduate of Southern Illinois University with undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Administration of Justice She also has a Master’s degree in Social Work.  Claire’s education,  experience working in the mental health field and her love for both dogs and veterans makes her a well-rounded contributor to the training team. Claire is the owner of Digman Canine Academy  


Jordan Hayes

Jordan’s passion for helping those in need, both humans and animals, led her to volunteer for local animal rescues and shelters while attending Murray State University where she earned a degree in Animal Science.  Jordan joined the TAV family as an intern during the summer of 2012; she has also worked for Extreme K-9.

Jordan is a Certified Trainer through CPDT-KA and an Associate Member of IACP.  Having relocated to Florida, she currently works as a Behavior Consultant/ Trainer/Veterinary Assistant at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital.  Jordan’s patience and skill with dogs makes us elated that she is an offsite trainer for TAV.


Leslie Horton, RN, MBA, IACP CDT, CDTA, PDTI, CSDT

Leslie is the founder of Most Fine Canine, Inc. (formerly One Fine Canine, Inc.). She has been training dogs and their handlers for nearly 20 years, specializing in training service dogs for people with neurological and mobility disorders. A certified American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator, she has been an expert witness in court cases regarding access for individuals with disabilities using service dogs. As founder and coordinator of the Animal Assisted Care (AAC) Program on the Inova Fairfax Hospital Campus, Leslie oversees the handler/canine teams and built an animal assisted care program recognized internationally as a leader in animal-assisted therapy.

Leslie is Pet Partner Team Member with 2 dogs, and is a Pet Partner Team Instructor and Evaluator. She is a registered nurse with over 30 years experience in critical care nursing.

Leslie and her dogs have been featured in the Washington Post, the Washington Times, US News and World Report, Fox 5 News, WUSA Channel 7 News, and Reuters News. She was a member of the U.S. Department of Transportation Regulation/Negotiation Workgroup regarding service dogs, emotional support animals, and the Airline Carriers Access Act (ACAA). She has been a speaker at multiple conferences regarding the laws and training of service dogs.

Leslie’s awards include 2014 IACP Member of the Year and the 2015 IACP Hall of Fame Inductee. Leslie received a U.S. flag that was flown in honor of her training and placement of service dogs for veterans aboard a U.S. Special Operations Aircraft. She and Pet Partner, Chug, were recipients of the Delta Society 2005 Beyond Limits Award for Outstanding AAT Professionals.


Kristy Houck, CCDT

Kristy has been working professionally with dogs and their owners since 2012. She is a member of Pet Sitters International, National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, and the International Association of Canine Professionals. She is an American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizens (CGC) evaluator. Kristy is certified in dog CPR and First Aid through the Red Cross.

Through her work as an owner of a pet sitting company, Kristy saw a need within her clients for guidance with training and behavior modification. She attended Catch Canine Academy and graduated in 2015 and started her own dog training company, Consistent Canine. Kristy trained and placed her first mobility and cardiac assistance service dog in 2017. Kristy assisted with a service dog conference aimed at professional trainers with interest in branching their business into the service dog direction.

Kristy regularly attends conferences to further her knowledge of training techniques. Kristy and her two dogs Clutch and Asscher are members of the Pet Partners Therapy Animal Program and enjoy volunteering in a variety of settings. She co-directed an animal assisted therapy program persons with disabilities.


TAVstaff-Tally

Tally Fralish

Tally came to This Able Veteran as an Intern Trainer during 2014 is an asset to our team. She is a passionate believer in the work of dogs and has years of experience around them. Tally is articulate, compassionate, and has a desire to learn.

She has worked with dog rescues and shelters locally and across the US. She worked to save animals from high kill shelters and participated in transporting shelter dogs and cats to their forever homes. Tally has a passion for understanding and rehabilitating those hard to place dogs that would have been tossed to the side. We look forward to her interaction with our veterans and our service dogs.


Lauren GriefLauren Ulrich

Lauren has been at This Able Veteran since May 2014 and has become an invaluable member of our team. Lauren’s passion for people and animals is a tremendous asset to our organization and will serve her well in the important work ahead.

Her skills include basic obedience training, remote collar training and the training of alerts for service dogs. She is a graduate of SIU Carbondale with a Bachelor’s in Rehabilitation Services.


Volunteers

cleta

Cleta Shirley, Sales Coordinator

Cleta is southern Illinois native and payroll coordinator for Southern Illinois Healthcare. Her hobbies include traveling, genealogy, and Bocce Ball, however her first love photography. Photographing the beauty of nature and capturing events in the lives of friends and family is a true passion.

Cleta became aware of This Able Veteran in the spring of 2016 when she attended a volunteer meeting for our “Really close to almost 5k Color Run.”  She loves what This Able Veteran does for veterans with PTSD and is honored to be associated with us.


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Donna Stoodley, Sales Coordinator

Donna’s passion for veterans and those that serve in the military started at a very young age. Her father was career Army, so she has a deep connection with service men and women and their families.  She has seen firsthand the effect that war and military life can have.

Donna lost her father in 2014.  In his final years, as his memory began to fail him, he slowly went back to Korea and Vietnam.  She could see how reliving those memories changed him.  After her Dad’s passing, she began to search for ways to help other veterans. Through a chance meeting with a volunteer from This Able Veteran, she started to get involved and all the pieces fell into place – not only to help veterans but to honor her father and his service to his country.

Donna has been in retail management for many years at Macy’s  Family life is very important to Donna, as is her involvement in her church.  Hobbies include traveling, spending time with friends and family, playing Bocce and taking care of her rescue, Ranger.


Kim Defiori, Co-Director, Events

Kim comes to us from the Army where she served for nine years.  She was medically retired from the service in 2017 after receiving intensive treatment for PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI’s).  Through her pursuit of finding healing and strength from her past traumas, she used yoga, art, writing, and other nontraditional techniques.  She was involved with the service dog program at Walter Reed and had the opportunity to see firsthand the healing powers they could have.  Kim attended both the dog behavioral psychology class and the trauma resiliency course with her unique and empathetic dog Yardim.  She was recently paired with one of our favorite service dogs, Thor.

Kim is continuing her pursuit to help Veteran’s with PTSD by assisting with the fundraising efforts for This Able Veteran.

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