Officers and Directors
( All officers are volunteers )

​Joe Cottingham and Claudia Cottingham

Co-founders, Co-chairman and Co-chairwoman

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

Treasurer, 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.

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.

Vicki Sander

M.L.A.S. 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. 

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 class

Dede Beasley

Clinical Director

When the founders of HHHvets were referred to Dede Beasley as one of Tennessee's most experienced and successful psychotherapists for people attempting to cope with all sorts of mental and emotional health issues in their lives, we were delighted to learn that she was willing to spend unlimited hours discussing with us the challenges of setting up an Equine Assisted Psychotherapy program for PTSD-coping veterans and rescued horses. We quickly learned that she had a great breadth of insight into the practical considerations of how to effectively deal with these people and horses, and an abounding compassion for people and animals.

Jane McAllister

Director of Rescued Horse Operations

Jane has been a lifelong horse lover and has a BS and MS in Animal Industry from Penn State University. She has four grown children. After raising her kids, she returned to school and got an RN with an ADN and BSN from Penn State. Since then, she has worked full-time in nursing. In addition to running the Rescue, Jane is an active member of the Hickman County Humane Society.

Suzanne Bateman

Suzanne Bateman comes to HHHVets with two Associate degrees in Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology and 14 years of healthcare experience within an academic medical center and a medical device company operating within high-level administrative and project management capacities.

Suzanne’s father was a WWII veteran and her brother served in the Gulf War, so PTSD is not a foreign concept within her family.  When Suzanne learned of the incredible opportunity to serve with a stellar team of volunteers committed to helping partner PTSD veterans with rescue horses, she enthusiastically joined.  Suzanne has a long history of community and corporate volunteer projects.

Mary Cottingham

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Board of Advisors

Jimmy Cottingham

Chairman, Clients Screening Committee, Facilities

Loretta Jones

Volunteers Coordinating Committee, Fundraising Committee

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.

Lora Jean Gowan

Hilda Keller

I am constantly learning new techniques, methods and philosophies as they apply to the equine world. Anything to make myself better so I can teach a better way, the natural way. I start colts, handle young horses and solve behavioral problems. I actively compete in EXCA (Extreme Cowboy Racing), National Working Cow Horse Association and will be competing in American Ranch Horse Association events this year. I also teach riders of all ages and will be coaching a youth rider as well as several Novices this season in EXCA. I have competed in ACTHA, Team Penning, Ranch Sorting and Timed Events as well as dabbled a bit in Roping.

Niamh Rawlins

Niamh has been involved with horses her entire life. She grew up in a family deeply invested in horse racing, and spent most of her childhood at racetracks or around young horses about to be in training. She went on to do competitive eventing, competing in the Pony Club National Championships back in her home country of England.


She came to the United States to study for an Undergraduate degree in Psychology on a soccer scholarship at Lipscomb University. During her years as a student-athlete she was named: Defensive Player of the Year; 3x First Team All Conference; All-Southeast Region Team, and 2x Academic All-Conference. She also captained the Lady Bisons during their most successful Division 1 season in program history.


Following her Undergraduate graduation, she began pursuing a Masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Lipscomb. She hopes to pursue licensure as an LPC/MHSP following her graduation from the program in December 2019.


Niamh enjoys being outdoors, working out, good crime dramas, and watching her favorite soccer team Manchester United. She lives in Nashville, TN but calls Wiltshire, England (where her 5 beloved horses are) home. 

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