Our Board

Our Board and Volunteer Advisors


Beth Russell, RN, Founder, President, Lead Trainer

Beth,  the founder of Freedom Dogs, is a certified service dog trainer, lead trainer for Freedom Dogs , and a registered critical care nurse.

In addition to training assistance dogs, Beth’s animal training career has included the training of multiple family pets including dogs, cats, stray wild birds, chickens, horses and several goats.  Given her love of finding new and creative ways to teach animals new skills, the transition to training assistance dogs was a natural evolution.

Jody Root, Chairman of the Board

Jody is a healthcare lawyer and was instrumental in the formation of Freedom Dogs.  He and his wife, Sharon, are veterans, having both served in the Navy during the Vietnam conflict. Jody’s military background and love for dogs make his association with Freedom Dogs a natural fit.   Breeders of Labrador Retrievers, one of the Root’s  puppies was the first Freedom Dog.

Louise Hummel, RN, Board Member, Secretary

A well-known dog lover, Louise is an emergency department nurse and a member of the faculty at California State University (CSU) San Marcos School of Nursing. She has been active as a member of Freedom Dogs Board since its inception.  Louise is the Secretary of the Board and helped with the initial organization and paperwork for the incorporation of Freedom Dogs.

Sharon Root, RN, Board Member, Treasurer

Sharon is an RN and veteran of the US Navy. She and her husband Jody began breeding Labradors 24 years ago and are delighted to have bred the very first Freedom Dog. In her present capacity, Sharon serves as treasurer of the organization. It is her love of animals and her military experience that makes Freedom Dogs a perfect fit.

Ace Hoyt, Board Member

Ace Hoyt brings 30 years of business experience in sales and marketing with consumer products and construction materials companies to the Freedom Dogs board.  He actively works with our public supporters and is interested in building a Freedom Dogs endowment to ensure long-term financial support.  He says his claim to fame in Freedom Dogs is as “Chief Pooper Scooper.”

Lori Walton, Board Member

Lori Walton’s love and appreciation for nonprofit work began in college when she became President of UCLA’s official undergraduate service organization. Working closely with the alumni association’s development department, she learned how to establish effective structures for successful fundraising. Post graduation, Lori was invited to become a member of UCLA’s Foundation Governor Board & Leadership Council.

Lori currently serves on multiple non-profit boards and committees.  Her true passion has always been with animals and she is devoted to Freedom Dogs and its efforts to provide assistance to our warriors during their time of need.

Cooper Patterson, Board Member

Cooper brings his experience in real estate, investments, sales and marketing to the Freedom Dogs board. He also has experience working with other non-profit organizations whose mission is to support our troops and their families. His deep passion working with members of the military is his way of giving back to those men and women who have sacrificed so much for our freedom. He says it is his opportunity to “serve those who serve us.”

James Greenway, Board Member

Jim is a senior executive with extensive experience in sales, marketing, operations and acquisitions. He has been delivering sustained business growth for over 30 years.

Being an avid dog lover, he was attracted to Freedom Dogs because of his desire to give back to the wounded warriors and be around “man’s best friend”.  He says, “I get a chance to be a part of making a difference in the lives of the wounded warriors through Freedom Dogs”.

Susan Knudson, Board Member

Susan is a senior biotech executive and brings over 30 yeas of private and public company experience in financing, business development, operations and transactions.  Being both a San Diego native and dedicated dog lover, being part of Freedom Dogs’ organization allows her to both support the mission of helping our military men and women for all they sacrifice and give to us and our country and to do so with the help of our four legged friends.

Lorrie Boldrick, DVM, Veterinary Advisor

Lorrie is a Southern California veterinarian specializing in small animals, which includes dogs and cats as well as small livestock and many exotics.  She has served as the on call veterinarian for several local zoos and amusement parks and is an active member of the American and Southern California Veterinary Medical Associations.

First starting her work with Freedom Dogs in 2009, Dr. Boldrick assists in maintaining the health and well-being of the dogs through education of the trainers and Marines on the care of their dogs.  Additionally, she has written the book Essential First Aid for Dog Owners with 50 percent of all proceeds going to Freedom Dogs.

Lieutenant Colonel Catherine Sumruld, Advisor

Cathy was the Executive Officer of the Wounded Warrior Battalion-West on Camp Pendleton (WWBn-W) in 2007 where she worked to build and establish a team of Marines and Sailors dedicated to supporting the wounded, ill and injured service members throughout the phases of their recovery.  It was at this time that she was instrumental in establishing the Freedom Dogs program at the WWBn-W.  She continues to support the Freedom Dog program in an advisory capacity

Brigadier General (Ret.) Bill Weir, Advisor

Bill is a retired Brigadier General having served as a combat veteran with the US Marines in Vietnam. He is also a retired Judge , a practicing trial lawyer, and is on the board of directors for the National Trust for Wounded Warriors.

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