Blue Star Mother
Heather’s background was human medicine and nutrition and after 10 years in the medical field, she took a chance in the world of animals, (her true love). In 1998, Heather started pet nutrition facilities with multiple locations, focusing on healthy nutrition and wellness for pets. It is about dedication to take the time to explain nutrition; providing knowledge to enhance longevity with researching and providing information for positive results.
She has basic principles and an unwavering commitment to give back to her community and what better way than to use both the medical knowledge obtained with the training/nutritional skills to develop a vision that includes canines that will embrace our Veterans health and wellness when they return from serving their country. Upon befriending a homeless Army veteran in 2014, she created Tails of Valor Paws of Honor Program Inc. which became a stand-alone 501(c)(3) in February 2016. Heather's goal was to create an opportunity for our soldiers to choose a non-medicinal rehabilitation option for our nation's Veterans, while developing a form of medical modernized therapy that impacts the mental and physical restoration directed towards a positive behavioral lifestyle for our heroes.
Join us on the journey of a Service dog...
Brian Staub served his country in the United States Marine Corp and is currently a Union Steamfitter. A devoted family man, Brian searched to go beyond for a bigger purpose. Upon finding Tails of Valor, Brian believes that with his passion for his country and Veterans, love of dogs and leadership skills he will help Tails of Valor grow further into the future. "I want to be part of this organization and participate in the journey of a service dog from befriended families of our fallen, to supporting those that continue to serve. I believe that together we can accomplish great things in life."
Allison has spent the majority of her professional career in the retail industry. For the past 20 years she has been working in various positions within Walmart. The high paced challenging atmosphere has allowed her to gain valuable experience in problem solving, merchandising, and customer service. While with Walmart, Allison took an interest in becoming a better community partner and began volunteering with the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. As a team captain and planning committee member, she helped her Walmart team raise in excess of $90,000 for the event over the years.
Allison has a true love of dogs and currently has three rescues. She began volunteering with Tails of Valor in the late summer of 2017 as a way to continue helping rescues and to help our Veterans get the support they deserve for their service to our country. Allison wanted to join the Board of Directors as she feels she has valuable skills and creative ingenuity that can help TOV continue their mission. Having the opportunity to contribute to a cause that helps both Veterans and dogs is a dream come true for her.
Board Community Education
Joe grew up in northeastern New Jersey and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. He worked for Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) from 1984 until his retirement in 2018. Joe has been married to his wife Donna since 1986 and has 2 grown children. They have lived in Upper Saucon Township since 1985. After retiring, Joe has been volunteering his time to help train the dogs at Tails of Valor. “After I retired, I decided to volunteer at Tails of Valor because I have always loved dogs, and I have the utmost respect for our veterans. Tails was a perfect fit for me. It has been a very rewarding experience”
Veteran General Counsel
Russell Armstrong is a 6 year Navy Veteran, He graduated in the top of his nuclear power school class and went on to become an instructor at the nuclear power prototype plant in West Milton NY. Following his duty in NY, he went on to serve aboard the USS Seahorse SSN 669, a nuclear power fast attack submarine out of Charleston SC.
Following his Navy service, Russell went on to develop and build Natural Animal Nutrition Inc. (NAN) a pet food distribution center in Northern Maryland. During the development period of NAN,
Mr. Armstrong recognized the need for the development of a high quality holistic pet food to meet the health needs of pets within the Mid-Atlantic region. In 1993, He developed Verus Pet Foods, Inc. and continues to grow and develop both NAN and Verus today. NAN services over 700 retailers throughout the region while employing over 80 people. Verus has grown and expanded and is currently available in the United States, Canada, China, and many Asian countries.
In 2015, Mr. Armstrong began the sponsorship of service dog training programs to assist organizations dedicated to Veterans suffering with PTSD and TBI. The sponsorship with Verus Pet Foods assists organizations training service dogs with pet food expenses as well as aiding veterans paired with service dogs with their ongoing food expenses.
Russell has a deep compassion for companion pets and has served as a board member for the Worcester County Humane Society as well as donating pet food to numerous rescues and humane societies throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. As well, his love of this nation and those who have served and sacrificed is well established through his support of organizations such as Tails of Valor.
Board of Directors
Stephanie has been in radio sales and marketing for 25 years with 99.9 The Hawk, Cat Country, WLEV and Fox Sports. She also organizes several events including Stars of Craft Beer Fest. She served in the Army for 6+ years as a motor transport operator, administration and mail clerk in Texas and Germany. Her interests include traveling abroad and the states, reading and helping raise puppies with Tails of Valor. She heard about TOV while writing a commercial for a radio broadcast at one of her client's events and when she met Rachel at the event she was hooked. She is passionate about the TOV program, people involved and especially giving back to Veterans and saving lives.
DR. KARA BALLEK
Dr. Ballek is an individual with a deep passion for animal care and their well being. Her career as a Veterinarian was born out of a childhood love for her family pets and any other animals that crossed her path.
After a very successful academic career in Saucon Valley School District, Kara attended the Pennsylvania State University majoring in Animal Bio-Science. Upon graduating at the head of her class from Penn State, Dr. Ballek continued the pursuit of her dream career at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. During Vet School, Kara worked part-time at the Quakertown Veterinary Clinic, and accepted an Associate Veterinarian position at QVC after graduating from Penn. Dr. Ballek eventually transitioned into a similar position at Lehigh Valley Animal Hospital, where she spent nine years of her career prior to opening Creekview Veterinary Hospital.
Kara has had many in her life that have served our country including her father. It is an honor to be part of such a giving organization and for both our furry friend and Veteran to benefit is an inspiration that I want to be a part of.
Board Community Education
Diane joined the board after 2 years of being a puppy raiser. She was raised in Camp Hill, PA and currently lives in Emmaus, PA. She has been married to her husband Steve for 38 years. Together they raised 3 children and have 2 grandchildren, so far! For as long as she can remember, she has been a dog lover. Her background comes from obedience training and competition. However, She never showed a dog for their looks, always saying, “You really can’t help the way you look, but you can always help the way you act.”
Diane carries a true burden for our Veterans, and loves our Military. She is especially sensitive to those Vets that suffer from maladies that can’t be seen, such as TBI, PTSD, anxiety and depression. Being involved with Tails of Valor is her way of giving back to a Veteran who has given so much for our Country. Diane's dedication to the mission of Tails of Valor® inspires many.
Board of Directors
Colleen has more than 25 years of experience in Tax, Accounting, and Human Resources Management helping small to medium size companies successfully manage their growth, from start-up to succession planning and investor exit strategies.
After graduating from Bloomsburg University (as the first in her family to attend college), Colleen began her career with Deloitte US in Allentown, PA. She then gained significant experience in HR and Accounting at IQE, a high-tech firm located in Bethlehem, where she was part of the management team responsible for growth from 13 to 175 employees in 6 years, in addition to a merger and successful public offering on NASDAQ Europe. During her employment at IQE she obtained an MBA from Lehigh University.
She continued to gain experience with various other high-tech and manufacturing firms before forming Business Support Solutions, LLC. She sold BSS in 2015 to concentrate on other interests, including teaching, but continues to service a select group of tax and investment clients. She is currently a Lecturer of Business at Penn State Lehigh Valley
To enhance the level of service offered to her clients, Colleen partnered with The Rockland Group – Wealth Management, LLC in 2020 to offer comprehensive financial planning resources.
Colleen and her husband reside in Bethlehem, PA. When they have a little free time, they enjoy camping and hiking. Volunteering for Tails of Valor allows me to witness the transformation of the Veteran that goes through the program with heartfelt joy.