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Board Members

JoAnn Williams
Board Member

JoAnn spent many enjoyable years working in the accounting field before retiring in 2010. Born in Western Washington state, she always loved the sun and hot weather. A business trip to Tucson sealed the deal on where to go after retirement. Buying a second home in 2009 started the dream of spending time in a warmer, sunny climate away from the gray, wet months in Washington. Many retirement years were spent just being retired! Finally, it was time to include socializing kitties at Paws Patrol! 

Socializing kitties led to a desire to help with many aspects of Paws Patrol management which has included working in the shelter and fostering kitties. A bonus has been to work with an amazing, giving group of people who all have the same desire to help these stray and feral kitties find a better life! Always a lifelong learner, JoAnn has embraced this new challenge. 

Since Washington summers are something worth enjoying, JoAnn plans to spend at least some time there visiting with family and friends while doing administrative work remotely for Paws Patrol.

Karen Winters Schwartz
Board Member

Karen was born and raised in Mansfield, Ohio. Educated at The Ohio State University, both she and her husband have shared a career in optometry in Central New York’s Finger Lakes while raising two daughters. She retired from her career as an optometrist in December of 2019 after they decided to leave cold and cloudy New York and move to Green Valley to be close to their baby granddaughter. Having saved her first of many kittens from a horse barn in NY, Karen contacted Paws Patrol to offer to be a foster before embarking on the big move. Paws Patrol welcomed her with open paws; she had kittens before the moving truck arrived.  

A long-time board member and past president of NAMI Syracuse (National Alliance on Mental Illness), over the last few years, Karen’s advocacy for mental illness awareness has shifted more toward those who truly can’t speak for themselves: kitties. She now spends her time writing novels, fostering cats, watching her granddaughter, and traveling the earth in search of the many creatures with whom she has the honor of sharing this world.

Gayle Peek
Board Member

In 2014 a tabby and white stray showed up in the neighborhood. He roamed from neighbor to neighbor, being fed for several months. I went so far as to make him a wool bed during that winter freeze. He was not feral and had belonged to someone as he kept trying to come in the house. My neighbor told me about Paws Patrol, and she said they could probably help trap and neuter him. Patti brought a trap out and told me they could find him a good home or bring him back to me. I had fallen for him, a big male with a stub for a tail, so I took him back and named him Stubbi.

In February 2015 I started volunteering at Paws Patrol. I am a people person and having managed a Customer Service department I enjoy interacting with people who come in looking for their forever fur companion. In addition to being at the office on Wednesdays I foster, am the Volunteer/Staffing and Adoption Coordinator. I so enjoy being a part of Paws Patrol and finding homes for our kitties.

Joan Aktabowski
Board Member

Joan has lived in Green Valley for four years and began volunteering for Paws Patrol very soon after her arrival. She is a native of Illinois and fostered for various pet rescues and shelters there for over 35 years. She helps with a variety of duties , fosters bottle baby kittens and has recently become the medical care coordinator for Paws Patrol. In Illinois, she served on two Boards and now hopes to bring her experience to the Paws Patrol Board.

Debby Tripp

I’ve always been a lover of cats. When I was almost finished with college I was able to adopt my first kitty. Since then I’ve always had at least one cat. I retired from a career in HR, payroll and accounting. In 2020, when we became tired of Oregon winters we moved to Green Valley. We enjoy the ability to get outside almost all year round.

One of the first things we did after settling into our house here was to adopt a kitten from Paws Patrol. He had been so lovingly fostered that he was a real joy to have in our home and great entertainment at a time when we were somewhat isolated.

When the pandemic lifted I started looking for somewhere to volunteer. I found out that Paws Patrol was in need of a treasurer and I knew I had the skills to help. We have also had the privilege of fostering our first litter of kittens. During this process we also adopted our second kitty.

It is a joy to work with people who are so passionate about helping our fuzzy friends.

Lisa Epperson
Board Member

I grew up in Phoenix but left to California for UCLA and a tech career at age 17.  After 30 demanding and thrilling years in the industry, my husband and I retired to Green Valley where land is vast and stress is low.  Within a month I was desperate for work and realized I could finally offer my body and spirit to animals and elders in need.

I picked animal rescue first.  I chose Paws Patrol, not because it was near but because I respected the mission and the people who’d started it and gave their souls to the work.  In February 2017 I began volunteering… scooping poop, scrubbing floors and petting kitties.  6 years hence I’ve never doubted I made the right choice.

I guess because I’m brave I picked up the role of Trapping and Working Cat coordinator a few years ago.  Definitely NOT low stress.  In the role, I collect cats from at-risk situations, no matter how feral, and do my best to get them healthcare and long-term placements.  This is a job I love and sometimes grieve because not all wild cats make it through.  Every day is exciting and many are rewarding.  Glad to be part of the Paws Patrol family.

Kim Walters
Board Member

Bio coming soon.