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.
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 of Directors
Scott Szever is Head of ETF Capital Markets at Capital Group, home of American Funds. He has 23 years of industry experience and joined Capital Group in March 2021. Prior to Capital Group, Scott was Director of Exchange Traded Products at the New York Stock Exchange and spent almost 14 years at Vanguard leading various teams across the organization. Scott’s career started as an investment advisor in Allentown, PA. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics and finance from York College of Pennsylvania.
Although Scott has never served, he comes from a military family where his grandfather received the Purple Heart while serving with the Army during World War II, his father was awarded the Bronze Star with V Device for heroism during combat in Vietnam, and his brother Stephen, who served as an Army Ranger in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars with the 75th Ranger Regiment which was attached to Special Forces.
Scott was introduced to Tails of Valor through the support and camaraderie his brother encountered as a volunteer and recipient of their services.
Scott resides in South Orange, New Jersey with his wife and two young children.
Advisory Board 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
Mike has more than 18 years of experience in Tax, Accounting, and Auditing/Assurance. After graduating from Bloomsburg University with a Bachelors in Business Administration (accounting concentration), Mike started his career in public accounting where his primary focus was providing Tax and Assurance services for local governments and not-for-profit organizations. Mike spent 8 years serving dozens of these organizations in various communities throughout Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania to ensure those organizations had an effective internal control environment and supported them with their annual financial reporting, compliance, and tax filing requirements.
Shortly thereafter, Mike obtained his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license before transitioning to TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank® where he is now VP of Audit, Head of Internal Control over Financial Reporting. Mike oversees a team of nearly 100 professionals who provide annual Assurance services to the CEO and CFO on TD Bank's controls supporting the annual financial statements relied upon by its stakeholders.
Mike lives in New Hope, PA with his wife and son, who's an avid baseball fan. Mike loves the beach, traveling, and, equally important, has a passion for serving our veterans. Mike understands how fortunate he has been and looks forward to supporting our veterans who have given so much, yet often become an afterthought. As a result, Mike looks forward to continuing to work with the Board and Management to ensure we provide our veterans the support and care that they deserve.
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 of Directors
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.