Copyright © 2014 - 2017

Service Dogs for Veterans, Greenville, SC a 501(c)(3) charity.

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Tim Jackson, US Army, Web Master

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Service Dogs for Veterans
P.O. Box 965
Taylors, SC  29687

Our Mission

To complement the traditional treatment for Veterans with PTSD, TBI, and MST,

by training them and a dog to become highly effective ADA compliant service dog teams.

We rescue shelter dogs

selected for the

individual training needs

and lifestyle of

the Veteran.

In 7 months

we graduate loyal

working dogs and

confident,

skilled handlers

Out of pocket costs

for the Veteran are

modest due to

the generosity of private

and corporate donors.

Our Impact

Each of our Veterans has a story that brought them to us.

By working alongside these Warriors,

we help them write a new chapter of hope

for a more promising future.

Our Team

Bill Brightman

 Executive Director

and Trainer

Connie Cleveland

Training Partner

Connie Cleveland is an internationally recognized dog trainer who offers specialized training seminars to competitive dog trainers around the world.  Her own experience includes 18  Championships, including a few first-time multi-event champions!

Connie is the owner of Dog Trainers Workshop (DTW), a full-service dog training and boarding facility near Greenville, SC.  DTW features an array of classes, day care, boarding and private lessons for puppy and dog owners. She specializes in obedience training, obedience competition, problem dogs, and certified service dogs. At DTW Connie teaches obedience to more than 100 students a week.  

She is the author of a DVD series, "How Dogs Learn, The Connie Cleveland Method" and a book, "Dogs Are Problem Solvers, Handlers Should Be." She is a regular contributor to Front & Finish, The Golden retriever News, and the Greenville Journal.

Jim Voss

Lead Veteran's Advocate

Upon graduating from High School Jim entered the US Army just two weeks
following his 18th Birthday. While serving Jim spent 18 months overseas in
Germany and then returned to the Continental US and served in the 101st Airborne
Division (Air Assault). He ended his initial enlistment as a E-5 and later reenlisted, serving in the Army Reserves.

Following his Military Service Jim followed in his Father’s footsteps into a 28 year
Professional Career in Specialty Retail with iconic brands such as Sunglass Hut
International, Isotoner, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey, Build-A-Bear
Workshop and finally Verizon Wireless. During those years Jim established himself as a Turnaround and Growth specialist and rose to the level of Vice President of Sales and Operations leading up to 160 locations.


Jim’s passion for serving fellow Veterans will be focused on the role of Lead Veteran Advocate in training classes, and expanding our  volunteer Veteran Advocate Corps and in establishing regional meet ups for our graduates and students in the 5 counties of the Upstate. Jim and his wife Melissa are also the proud parents of two Yorkie-poo’s named Chloe and Grace.

Mike Pomeroy

Veteran's Advocate

Mike Pomeroy is a retired Command Sergeant Major (E-9) with over 21 years of service split equally between active and reserve components. Mike served as a Military Policeman at every level within the enlisted ranks, and served in Europe, Mogadishu Somalia, and Guantanamo Bay Cuba for humanitarian service operations.

 

After completing his second enlistment, Mike joined the Greenville Police department. He recently retired having served in various positions in Patrol, Narcotics, and SWAT.

 

Mike served with many who struggle with PTSD and has a strong desire to assist them as a volunteer veteran advocate with SD4V.

Upon graduating from high school Bill joined the US Navy during the Vietnam War era. He became an avionics technician and was assigned to 2 years sea duty aboard aircraft carriers USS Saratoga and USS Independence.  After his 4 year enlistment, Bill was discharged as an E-5 and went on to earn a BSME
degree on the GI Bill. He then spent 27 years with a Fortune 500 company as a licensed Professional Engineer and served as Chief Engineer for Rotogravure Production.  He later founded two successful water purification businesses and became an instrument rated private pilot.

Bill began rehabilitating dogs in Pennsylvania in 2005 with the PA Humane League. After moving to Greenville, SC in 2013 he founded Service Dogs for Veterans in 2014 with training partner Connie Cleveland, owner of Dog Trainer's Workshop. This made it possible for Upstate & western NC Veterans to obtain a service dog locally.

 

In addition to being Executive Director, Bill teaches Advanced Obedience, Task, and Public Access classes. 


Bill a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals and an approved AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator.

Bonnie Gilstrap

Trainer

Bonnie enjoys working as an instructor with Service Dogs for Veterans. She loves to see the bond develop between veterans and their dogs through overcoming training goals and challenges together. Bonnie has been an obedience instructor for classes at Dog Trainers Workshop including the training program for veterans and their service dogs since 2017. She has been involved in dog training for the past 27 years. Bonnie has privately trained many pet dogs and, as a past director of Dogs for the Disabled in Greenville, has also trained numerous service dogs.

 

Bonnie earned a Utility title with her Golden Retriever, Corey, and now enjoys training and competing in Obedience, Agility, Herding and Barn Hunt Trials with her English Shepherd, Boots.

Linda Williams

Canine Assessment & Adoption Team

Linda holds a masters degree in Early Childhood Education and loved teaching but her passion has always been helping animals. She has worked in rescue for 25 years.

 

The last five years have been spent working to locate shelter dogs in North and South Carolina to be trained as service dogs for Veterans struggling with PTSD, TBI and MST. First working with K9’s For Warriors and now with Service Dogs For Veterans, she enjoys seeing these dogs find a new beginning and a loving home.

After locating the dogs, Linda and Ann work with each one to evaluate their suitability to do service work. The dogs will help our veterans to regain their confidence and independence.

Mary-Ellen Gregory (MEG)

Community Outreach & Fundraising

MEG has worked with various upstate Animal Rescue Groups for the past 17 years, spending three of those years as the Adoptions Director with our shelter partner Concerned Citizens for Animals. 

In 2015 MEG joined Linda and Ann in various dog rescue projects, assisting them with fund-raising and community events.  It did not take long for their passion to help our Veterans to rub off.  The first time MEG met a Service Dog Team from K9s For Warriors, the emotional impact of the Veteran/dog bond reinforced her commitment to helping our Veterans. 

 

In 2017 she began volunteering with SD4V.

 

MEG retired from Michelin North America in May 2018 and has channeled her efforts into community outreach, fundraising and grant writing for SD4V.

Pat Tuleibitz

Workforce Development & Fundraising

After retiring from a long career in Human Resources management, Pat developed a passion for caring for shelter dogs and helping them find forever homes.

 

While volunteering at Concerned Citizens for Animals, one of the residents, "Rex the Wonder Dog" was discovered by SD4V and adopted for a Veteran in need of a dog.  Pat saw the instant connection between human and canine and wanted to be a part of an organization that made that connection possible.


She wants to bring her experience in the field of Human Resources to SD4V as this organization moves forward with its Workforce Development Program.  Pat will also play a big role in grant writing to assist the organization in reaching their fundraising goals.

Alison Saavedra

Workforce Development & Veteran Advocate

Alison has a bachelors and master’s degree in Human Resources and is currently working as the Human Resource Manager at a local company. She is the chair of the Golden Strip HR Roundtable, a local HR council in the Fountain Inn area .

Alison grew up in a family that did not have any one serving in the military in her immediate family, but many in her extended family.   While she always had a huge amount of respect and admiration for the military, it wasn’t until she married an Army Soldier that she had the real life experience of military life.  Unfortunately after just about three years of marriage, she lost her husband in a motorcycle accident. 

 

He had battled with PTSD and Alison wanted to volunteer with a group that helped PTSD Veterans. She was able to connect with Service Dogs for Veterans and has been volunteering with us ever since.

Tim Jackson

Web Development

As a 14-year Veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves, Tim's last four years of service were spent mobilized on active duty at Fort Benning, GA.  Certification as a Critical Incident Stress Debriefer and small group facilitator, in addition to extensive experience as a chaplain assistant, aided him while working with Veterans and Service Members guiding them through a variety of issues including PTSD, TBI, MST, deployment/redeployment, and retirement.

Tim entered the program as a Veteran with PTSD in search of a canine companion to help him alleviate his symptoms..  He and his partner Marla are graduated the program in October of 2017 and are thoroughly enjoying their new life together as a team.

Tim has a passion for helping others, and has just begun Converse College's Marital and Family Therapist Master's Program.  He plans to specialize in Veteran's issues and Secondary Trauma.  He and Marla also plan to get certified in Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling (AAT-C).

James Gillian

Data Entry

James retired after serving 15 years in the US Navy as an E-6 Aircraft Machinist Mate, and 5 years in the US Army as an E-7 Combat Engineer.  In the Navy he served aboard aircraft carriers USS Eisenhower, USS Forrestal and USS Nimitz.  Then aboard amphibious assault ship USS Bataan.  In the Army James had one combat deployment Iraq. 

 

James joined the SD4V Team because he wanted to help other veterans get what he got, a beautiful rescue dog who now proudly wears a Service Dog vest and goes everywhere James goes!  He along with his Service Dog ‘Seven’ is also an active member of the American Legion Honor Guard and Color Guard, and Project Healing Waters.

 

Sharon Rose

Word Slinger

Sharon Rose is the daughter of a career U.S. Army officer. While stationed in Japan and Germany, post WWII, "The Colonel", as he was affectionately called, saw a great need to help local citizens heal suffering caused by war. He inspired his family and the troops in his command to help rebuild lives and provide fully supplied housing for those qualifying for assistance. Thus Sharon developed a passion to aide others which crosses over to animals.

 

For the past eight years she has been the office coordinator and an adoption staff member at Foothills Humane Society in North Carolina. There, she became acquainted with Ann Goodheart and Linda Williams, active members of the SD4V team. With "The Colonel" in mind,  Sharon was inspired to assist with their mission and became “the eyes” at the shelter, tagging dogs as possible candidates to be rescued and partnered with applicable qualifying Veterans.

 

Also passionate about writing, Sharon provides compositions as needed with the hope that her words and those of training program graduates might inspire other Veterans to grab the opportunity for a life changing experience and reclaim normalcy in their troubled lives. "As a nation, we must make every effort to save them, dogs and humans, one life at a time."

Dr. Mike Merrell, M.D.

Board Member/Secretary

Michael Merrell (Mike) entered the U.S. Marines as a truck driver in 1988 doing tours in Asia and the Middle East including active combat duty during Desert Storm. His military experiences during those years led him to pursue a medical career after leaving the Marine Corp in 1992. 

 

Having earned a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from Rutgers University in 1996, his medical studies continued at New Jersey Medical School. Residency  in Family Medicine was completed in Mobile, Alabama during which time he chose to specialize in Emergency Medicine and practiced in Pennsylvania, Mississippi and South Dakota. After residency, Dr. Merrell spent 10 years working as a Family Physician with the U.S. Army Reserve. 

 

While seeking a way to alleviate his own symptoms brought about during his years in military service, Dr. Merrell became part of the Service Dogs for Veterans family. During his own dog training, he was so impressed with the potential to help other Veterans, he became a member of SD4V's Board of Directors, making valuable contributions to our mission.

Cy Burgess, CPA

Board Member/Treasurer

Cy focuses on audits of a variety of entities, including multinational and multi-state operations as well as real estate developers, investment funds and property managers.  With more than 30 years of experience, he has served closely held companies, financial services companies, real estate developers and partnerships, as well as manufacturers.    Prior to joining Elliott Davis, he worked for two international accounting firms, KPMG and Arthur Andersen, as well as for Insignia Financial Group, Inc., a national real estate company.

Cy serves on the SD4V board as our Treasurer. He also serves on other boards in the Upstate, including the Upcountry History Museum and the Boys Scouts of America.

Kali Lockhart

Facebook Page Administrator

Kali Lockhart and husband Jeff, a US Army Veteran, first met Bill Brightman in 2015 when seeking a service dog for Jeff.

 

After determining their dog Lizzy, adopted from Greenville Animal Care’s shelter, would qualify for the training program at Service Dogs for Veterans, Jeff and Lizzy began training as a team.

 

Since graduation, the positive results for Jeff inspired Kali to join the SD4V team. She created and maintains the Facebook page, increasing exposure while reaching out to more veterans and their families in need of help.

 

Kali was instrumental in forming and molding the current digital marketing team and loves working with those who share her passion for giving back to Veterans who have sacrificed for our country.