Our Staff

Support Staff

Alicia RuizAlicia Ruiz, Board Secretary & Events Director

Alicia worked in several administrative/professional positions at the Southern Illinois University School of Law from 1994-2017. Her work as an attorney, mediator and administrator has given her an appreciation for the importance of collaboration to address complex challenges.

Alicia has stated that the staff and volunteers of TAV bring a tremendous amount of talent and passion to the program. Her attention to detail makes her a very talented writer and an excellent proofreader – and we are delighted that she shares those talents freely with This Able Veteran.

Alicia is an animal lover and is fascinated by the abilities of the dogs that are trained at TAV to assist veterans with their recovery from PTSD. She currently serves as a member of the Section Council for the Illinois State Bar Association’s Animal Law Section which gives her – and This Able Veteran – an opportunity to be involved with the development and analysis of laws regarding service animals.

“I volunteer with This Able Veteran because I believe their work is life-saving. As someone who is often frustrated by the lack of understanding and acceptance of mental health issues, I believe TAV’s success with the veterans who complete their program will help more people understand what PTSD is and that it is treatable.”


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.


Adrianne Storm, Office Manager

Adrianne, a disabled Army veteran, graduated with a Bachelors in Business Management in 2013. Spending a majority of her career working in Human Resources, she knew one day she would find her home helping animals and humans alike. Her experience and organizational skills are an invaluable asset in keeping us moving forward.

Sharing her passion for animals, reading and the great outdoors with her daughter, is one of Adrianne’s favorite hobbies. Her family wouldn’t be complete without her fiancé, two dogs and a cat.


Trainers

Holly Brown

Holly joined us as a service dog trainer in 2020. Her love for dogs led her to donate to shelters and work for a kennel, where she helped and cared for each dog that came in. Growing up with a father who is a dog trainer, Holly developed the passion early.

Her father served in the military for 21 years. Her experiences as a military child created a desire to want to help veterans. Her experience with both veterans and dog training makes her an ideal fit for TAV.


Andrea Clark

Andrea graduated with a degree in Equine Science in 2016. Little did she know that her time learning about horses would lead her into the world of dogs. She joined our team as a trainer in the fall of 2018. Andrea says, “I am overly grateful and blessed, not only to be a part of such a caring and passionate team, but also to have a job that allows me to serve both humans and dogs.”

When she’s not training dogs, Andrea enjoys all things outdoors, reading, spending time with friends and family, and of course curling up with her own two dogs.


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 Sciences.  Jordan joined the TAV family as an intern during the summer of 2012.

Jordan is a Certified Trainer through CPDT-KA and is an Associate Member of IACP.  Since relocating to Tampa, Florida in 2015, she has worked as a Behavior Consultant/ Trainer/Veterinary Assistant at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital, spent five years working as a senior animal care specialist in the Asian elephant department at Busch Gardens, and is now working at the Hillsborough Pet Resource Center as their Lead Wellness and Behavior Program Coordinator.  Jordan’s patience and skills working with dogs makes us elated that she is an offsite trainer for TAV.


Miranda HornMiranda Horn

Miranda has been a trainer with This Able Veteran for six years. She is a graduate of Southern Illinois University with a Degree in Information Technology. She truly enoys working and building connections with the veterans and their dogs. She currently lives in Tennessee training dogs in the sport of IGP, as well as competing with her personal dog, a Belgian Malinois named Doug.


Jessica Routt

Jessica has been an invaluable member of our team since 2018. Before joining This Able Veteran, she had experience as a dog groomer for several years. Jessica, who studied at SIU, majored in psychology and history.

Jessica enjoys hiking in beautiful Southern IL with her dogs and spending time with her friends. Of course, she loves spending time with and training her two terrier mixes, Josie and Frodo.


Apprentices

Ali Eickholz

Ali is an apprentice trainer and new to the dog training world. She graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2020,  She hopes to apply her psychology background to aid her on life’s journey and to improve her skills. Being the athletic outdoors type, Ali enjoys hiking, yoga, roller skating, and traveling.


Elise Ratajczyk

Elise recently joined the team as an apprentice trainer with the dream of becoming a trainer. She is currently finishing up her degree in Animal Science at Southern Illinois University. Elise’s love for dogs, psychology, training, and learning only motive her to contribute to our non-profit organization. She has personally experienced the lifelong benefits of therapy animals and wishes to make that lifestyle available to other people. Elise has many years of experience caring for dogs and hopes to continue expanding her experience.


Volunteers

Cleta Shirley

Cleta Shirley, Sales Coordinator

Cleta is a southern Illinois native and works as an accountant for the Jackson County Treasurer’s Office. Her hobbies include traveling, genealogy, and bocce ball. Cleta’s first love, however, is 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.


Donna Stoodley

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. Donna is semi-retired for now and spending time with her great nieces and nephews and any new foster kids she has placed.

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