Returning Board Member and IWRC Instructor
Please share an early/childhood experience that was pivotal to your personal relationship to wildlife.
In 1966, on a family road trip to visit my brother in the Air Force in Denver, we stopped in Amarillo, Texas for the night. While walking from the hotel to a restaurant, I found a nestling bird that had fallen from its nest. It was sitting on the sidewalk and I picked it up and placed it up on top of a concrete wall where by the tree from where it had fallen. My parents said that I didn’t shut up! I kept going on and worrying about that baby bird for days.
How did you initially become involved with IWRC and why did you choose to become involved on a board level?
My first involvement with IWRC came in August of 1993 when I took 1AB (now called Basic Wildlife Rehabilitation class). I was so impressed with the professionalism and level of instruction (and learning how much I had been doing wrong up to that point) that I thought, “I have got to become more involved with this organization.” In 1995 I attended my first IWRC symposium and I was hooked. Within a few years of constantly begging to be more involved I was appointed to be a State of Florida Representative and then a Latin America Representative by (then President) Marge Gibson. I was elected to the Board of Directors in 2000 and have served IWRC on and off ever since. This is my third time being on the board.
Describe a specific area of interest or a particular passion within the scope of IWRC’s mission
Education and professional development in parts of the world that do not (yet) have developed wildlife rehabilitation programs.
Describe a skill that you have that has been surprisingly useful to your work as a wildlife rehabilitator? (or as an IWRC board member?)
From my experience in the Army as a paratrooper and from many worldwide deployments – to less than pleasant areas, I learned how to operate in places that other people don’t want to be in. This has served me very well in some of my specialized rescues in other countries and in my work in post disaster animal rescue work. So, making myself comfortable in uncomfortable situations.
Describe a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
Two things, no maybe three!
1. Teaching a baby eagle to fish. Flying is easy. Hunting mammals is easy. Teaching a baby bird to fish is an accomplishment.
2. Getting the nipple, formula and body position correct to get a baby manatee to nurse from a bottle.
3. Ditto for a baby Rough-toothed dolphin. If everything is not just the way baby wants it, they will not eat and will starve.
If you were to do something else professionally, what would it be?
I always wanted to be a pastry chef. I would be the fattest pastry chef around.
What is the thing for which you have waited in line the longest?
That would either be invading Iraq or tickets to a Bon Jovi concert.
Bon Jovi: I didn’t really care about the concert, but my girlfriend wanted to go. Guys do things for girls sometimes.
Iraq: I sat in the desert of Northern Saudi Arabia waiting to invade Iraq from August 9th of 1991 to January 1992. I then lived in a hole 16 miles north of the Iraqi border for 45 days observing the Iraqi Army before the ground war began. Once it did, the actual war only lasted four days.
Describe any companion animals that you share your home and life with.
I have a king shepherd named Prince, 135 pounds and dumber than a bag of hammers. But lovable and handsome. Mary, a yellow lab, is the senior queen at my house. Alley and BamBam. Two grossly obese domestic house cats that I adopted after working the Tuscaloosa tornadoes. My assistant lives in my house and she has a year old Dalmatian terrorist and a cat.