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Officers and Directors
( All officers are volunteers )

Joe Cottingham



Claudia Cottingham



Through the years since their marriage in 1970 when Joe returned from duty with a rifle company in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade in Vietnam, Claudia and Joe have had personal experience with some of the challenges of post-combat adjustments and the problems PTSD causes veterans and their families. They came to realize they wanted to do something to help PTSD-coping veterans who were not as fortunate as they, and to help their families.

Knowing that many friends, as well as veterans unknown to them, did not have the support of family and friends, or adequate access to meaningful private and VA healthcare, they researched treatment and support options that have proven effective for many veterans, but they are not available to most. A year or so prior to their retirement the Cottinghams began to work to form a charity organization to offer Equine Assisted Psychotherapy to some of these veterans. Following extensive research and consultation with experts, this unique model of combining therapy for PTSD-coping veterans and rescued horses was born. 

A gathering of a few interested friends and new contacts quickly evolved into a fast-growing network of men and women who are willing to roll up their sleeves and assist our veterans in need and women and men who love animals and are anxious to give of their time and resources to bring rescued horses into this mutually beneficial bonding experience. The officers, directors and advisors listed here have been instrumental in making this dream a flourishing reality.

Jeff Shearer


Chairman, Finance Committee

Member, Executive Committee for Business Matters and Strategic Planning

As one of the earliest and most active of our board members, Jeff has relied on his years of experience as a project manager with one of the Big Four accounting firms in the U.S. to set up a model non-profit accounting and funds control system for HHHvets. Besides the extensive time Jeff devotes to ensuring that every penny donated for our veterans and our horses is accounted for and spent in the wisest and most effective manner, Jeff is active in recruiting volunteers and giving hands-on assistance with the full range of HHHvets activities. His attention to detail and his vision help ensure that strong financial planning and execution are the backbone of our program's future.

Dede Beasley

Clinical Director

Hilda Keller

Director of Horse Training and Horsemanship

Vicki Sander


Member, Board of Directors 

Media and Publicity

Member, Executive Committee for Business Matters and Strategic Planning

Vicki comes to HHHvets from an eclectic professional background that includes Human Resources, Healthcare Project Management and Animal Rescue and Welfare work.  She is active with several animal rescues as well as animal welfare groups throughout middle Tennessee.  As a former board member of Lovie’s Legacy, she helped develop the Creature Care Program, which is a humane education program that was taught in the Metro Schools of Davidson County.  The curriculum objectives were tied to Metro standards in Science, Social Studies and Health. 
While Vicki holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business, she also received her Master’s degree, with a concentration in Ethics from Vanderbilt University, where her Capstone Project was on the Human-Animal Bond and our moral obligation to animals.  Her research focused on outcomes observed by fulfilling this obligation and the conclusion that both animals and humans benefit in sometimes unexpected ways.  A central component of her study was veterans who suffer from PTSD and their improved coping skills when they share their life with an animal companion. The research she worked on and her belief and passion of helping people and animals have proven to be a great blessing for the clients and friends of Heroes and Horses Healing.
Veterans and horses are a family affair for Vicki.  Her mother’s family has a long history of love for horses and her father is retired from the Navy, after serving his Country for twenty years.  Her aunt is an expert horse rider and has had the privilege of sharing her life with many horses through the years. 

Bryan Cottingham

Member, Board of Directors

Media and Publicity

Bryan began his career in broadcasting at age 15, and has worked as TV news director, national producer for major charity telethon for several years, director for nationally televised major sports events. He has a Master's degree in Broadcast Communications.

Since the inception of our project, before Heroes and Horses Healing was incorporated, Bryan has worked tirelessly to research necessary government filings, help identify donor markets, and assist in every facet of the startup. He has developed communications and publicity plans to allow us to reach veterans and their families, and those who want to help us help them.

Jane McAllister

Director of Rescued Horse Operations

Robert C. Ahl

Doc Jones

Member Board of Directors

Finance Committee

In the early 70s, after graduating from the University of Colorado with a MS degree in Organic Photochemistry, Doc entered the micro-electronics industry, an emerging marketplace producing large scale semiconductor computer chips. During his tenure as a manufacturing process engineer, specializing in photolithography and chemical cleaning of the integrated circuits, he was active in producing these state of the art circuits with higher than expected product yields.

Utilizing his technical background/experience, and with other technologists, Doc ventured into the entrepreneurial phase of his career. He was instrumental in the startup generation of cleaning chemicals for the semiconductor industry. He rounded out his career in Business Development, Sales and Marketing. Doc authored more than 25 publications/seminar papers and was granted 5 US Patents. His Board of Director experience includes: Chairman of the Board for Williamson Valley Volunteer Fire Department, Prescott, AZ, and Board Member for Chemical Suppliers, Inc. which was purchased by Air Liquide of France in 1996.

After an early retirement in 1997, Doc and his wife Loretta started Rainbow Quarter Horses, LLC in Prescott, AZ which was a successful horse breeding operation specializing in Buckskin Quarter Horses. Doc and his wife are currently residents of Rock Island, TN with their horses and dogs.

Doc and Loretta regularly make the 5 hour round trip drive to Pegram and Nashville to participate in board meetings, events and classes.

Mary Cottingham

Board of Advisors

Jimmy Cottingham


Clients Screening Committee


Loretta Jones

Volunteers Coordinating Committee

Fundraising Committee

After a long career in transportation and logistics management Jimmy "retired" to the greater Nashville area to help establish Heroes and Horses Healing, and to work as the full-time volunteer facilities and grounds keeper. He divides his time between our partner Jane McAllister's River Edge Farm Horse Rescue in Little Lot, Tennessee and our home stables in Pegram, just outside Nashville, where he does everything from bush hogging pastures to shoveling whatever needs to be shoveled to keep our indoor and lighted outdoor arenas looking good. He chairs the screening committee that sets and updates criteria to ensure that HHHvets is able to offer fun therapy to those veterans who are best able to benefit from our program, and to help our rescued horses in their healing process.

Lora Jean Gowan

Loretta has been involved with horses for more than 30 years. She co-owned and managed, with her husband Doc Jones, Rainbow Quarter Horses, LLC, a Quarter Horse breeding operation in Prescott, AZ, raising and selling Buckskin Quarter Horses. She has participated in Wester Pleasure competition, is a former member of a performance drill team, the Maricopa County Arizona Mounted Search and Rescue team, and has participated in numerous nationally televised Parades.

Loretta is currently a Production Analyst at the Warren Plant for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operation in Warren County, Morrison, TN and represents Bridgestone as a Board Member of the Children's Reading Foundation of The Upper Cumberland. She has over 25 years experience in the Semiconductor and Computer industry in Florida and Arizona as a Market Analyst and Event Manager.

In addition to her technical background, Loretta has been an Annie Oakley historian and impersonator for more than 20 years, giving lectures and making personal appearances throughout the United States. During this time, she worked closely with Annie's living Grandnieces and close relatives in order to relate an accurate account of Annie's life story to various audiences.

Loretta enjoys camping, trail riding, golf, bowling, and gardening. She and her husband of 34 years live on a 25-acre horse farm in Rock Island, TN. She is a member and Eucharistic Minister of St. Michaels Episcopal Church in Cookeville, TN.

Loretta and her husband Doc regularly make the 5 hour round trip drive to Pegram and Nashville to participate in board meetings, events and classes.

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