Kathleen Quinn, Executive Director
Kathleen Quinn has been volunteering with Pilots N Paws since the launch of the organization in February 2008. This spring, Kathleen begins her new role as executive director where she will design, develop, and implement strategic plans to grow Pilots N Paws, which includes a focus on fundraising and social media.
“I am thrilled for this opportunity. I’m looking forward to working with the pilots and fellow rescue workers to expand the reach of Pilots N Paws so that more animals can be saved. I have several ideas for our website and Facebook to utilize the social media tools available to grow our volunteer pilot and fan base. I can’t wait to get started.”
A 2008 graduate of Miami University, Kathleen earned degrees in business, entrepreneurship, and American studies. In 2010 she graduated from Georgetown University with a master’s degree in journalism. While in DC, Kathleen served as a congressional intern.
As a child, Kathleen had aspirations of one day becoming a veterinarian. “Although we lived in the suburbs, growing up, our house resembled a mini petting zoo. Amongst the critters were gerbils, dogs, a cat, box turtles, a salamander, a hermit crab, even chicks we hatched from an incubator. Across the street from our development was the metropark animal nature center, so I was always rescuing wounded wildlife and taking them across the street to be rehabilitated.”
Board Of Directors
Debi Boies, President
Debi Boies is the co-founder and president of the national 501c3 charitable organization Pilots N Paws. She is a retired OB-GYN nurse, a long-time rescuer of animals in need, and past breeder of national and world champion Morgan horses, the first American breed of horse. Prior to Pilots N Paws, Debi was a founding board member and intake coordinator of Doberman Assistance Network, Inc., a national Doberman rescue organization. She was also a caseworker for Special Needs Dobermans finding affordable veterinary care for dobies in need. She has always had a very strong connection with animals. Born and raised outside of Akron, Ohio, she and her husband now live on a horse farm in South Carolina sharing their lives with three dogs, three Morgan horses and one cat.
Their adoption of a rescue Doberman named Brock, once used to train fighting dogs, launched the birth of Pilots N Paws in 2008 when her co-founder offered to fly their new “family” member from a rescue group in Florida to South Carolina. It was the beginning of an online program that has transported over 10,000 rescue animals via over 2,700 volunteer general aviation pilots to date. The Pilots N Paws forum board has 12,000 registered users, which cover every state in the U.S. and include supporters from around the world. She has funneled her passion into programs that create an avenue for change in the lives of animals who are abandoned, abused, and in need of intervention in order to find a safe haven.
In 2010, Debi was honored as one of the Top 25 Pet People of the year by petside.com and has accepted many awards on behalf of her organization, Pilots N Paws. These include:
- Broadway Barks Award/Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore,
- The American Dog Magazines 1st Annual Humanitarian Award,
- The Augusta Humane Society’s Casie Ritchhart Memorial Award,
- The Humane Society Naples Animaltarian Award
- Pets and Heroes Award from the Saving Grace Foundation
- Rescue Organization of the Year Award from the Pet Phlianthropy Circle
- Distinquished Volunteer Award National Aeronatics Association and Air Care Alliance
Her goal is to continue to promote education and awareness, which will end animal overpopulation in our lifetime. By working together this goal is attainable. Debi believes that it is our responsibility as humans to advocate for those without a voice. If we don’t, who will?
Nick O’Connell, Vice President
Nick loves to fly.
Never has he harbored a notion of becoming a professional pilot, flying has always been a source of solitude for him. Not the clamoring of busy airports and structured schedules. It is a passion. It is a freedom.
Nick and his wife Erika have been lifelong animal lovers. Their house has always been shared with 3-4 four-pawed creatures that are not shy to let this be known. Nick says he and his wife are here but to serve their every need, which they do with a smile.
One November day in 2008, Nick read an article about a fledgling group whose mission was to save the lives of innocent animals. He remembers sitting at his desk thinking what a superbly wonderful and simple idea. As quickly as he could type www.pilotsnpaws.org he became a member. Pilots fly for a variety of reasons and often times they have a near empty plane. Now it is rare for his plane to fly even close to empty.
Nick is privileged and honored to be a part of this organization, which has grown from one pilot and one plane to over 2,700 pilots coast to coast quietly saving animals every day. As a general contractor in Williamsburg, VA, he can often be found on the phone in his office with one of his four legged pets at his feet. He enjoys surf fishing and spending time at the ocean.
When the day comes, Nick hopes to be remembered as someone who helped, in some small way, make a difference in the lives of innocent animals.
Jeanne is committed to helping animals and is determined to find all animals in need a loving home.
After graduating from The Art Institute of Atlanta, she was instrumental in initiating The Pet Therapy Program with The Atlanta Humane Society.
She later joined Northwest Airlines as a flight attendant giving her the opportunity to travel around the world. In her travels, she witnessed the plight of animals in many different countries, which fanned her determination to help animals in need.
She travelled to Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina and volunteered with the HSUS. Again, she was determined to help the animals that could not help themselves.
She is a member of the N-DART, a disaster relief team, with the HSUS. She is also a certified instructor, with The American Red Cross, to teach Pet CPR.
She has served on the board at The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and has chaired several areas of fundraising events.
Jeanne enjoys travel, gardening and photography.
Born in Japan and growing up in Kentucky, Jeanne now resides between Maine and Florida with her husband Peter and their Welsh corgi, Cricket.
Jerry has been an active volunteer for Pilots N Paws since 2008. He frequently flies PNP rescue missions with his father, a general aviation pilot. When Jerry isn’t flying animals to their new homes, he usually takes to the skies with his six-year-old Great Dane, Amara.
Jerry inherited his love of planes from his dad, and has been an aviator for as long as he can remember. By age sixteen, Jerry was flying solo before he had his driver’s license! “New York law requires you to be seventeen before you can drive without a learner’s permit. So, I had to ask my mother, older sister, or aunt, ‘can you drive me to the airport so I can go flying by myself?’
When Jerry began flight lessons, he had to sit on pillows and phone books so that he was tall enough to see out!
For Jerry, pairing his passion for flying with saving rescue animals is very rewarding. Growing up, he wanted to be a veterinarian, but flying was his first love. When he saw the article about Pilots N Paws in the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association magazine, he knew that he wanted to help.
Jerry encourages other pilots to get involved. “Just do it. It’s addicting.” Although flying is very expensive, Jerry says that a flight to save an animal is worth every penny. When he receives an email with a picture of a dog that needs help, he finds that he just can’t say no to lending a helping hand. Be the change you wish to see in the world—Jerry calls this the ripple effect. “You put a little bit of good in the world and hopefully it just ripples out.”
Jerry works as a commodities broker. His career began as a runner on the NYMEX Exchange in 1996, and he quickly moved up to floor trader by 1999. Jerry served as a floor trader in the NYMEX Crude Oil pit from 1999-2008 when he transitioned from the pit to screens.
Doug joined our Board recently as the Treasurer. He has been actively involved with PNP for over 3 years, involved in many rescues including our last two East Coast Flyways. One of Doug’s rescue flights of a rescued Pitt Bull was profiled by Time Magazine on their website, Time.com.
Doug is typical of many of our pilots – someone who was looking for more to do with their pilot certificate and plane. Many pilots, eager for an excuse to fly, take to the skies for quick trips to restaurants, which has become known by pilots as the “$100 hamburger.” Having flown for the “$100 hamburger” for over 20 years, the idea of helping animals in need of transportation was a perfect mission. Working with the many rescue organizations on the ground, both on the sending and receiving end has been enormously rewarding – each one has been so appreciative of the help we provide. In addition to flying missions, Doug has also been active in recruiting new pilots to work with PNP – nearly all of those recruits have already done multiple missions.
During the week, Doug is a banker focused on the healthcare sector. He was past Treasurer and President of a flying club prior to joining a partnership in a Grumman Tiger. These days Doug flies his own Tiger, N414DJ, which was named Best In Show at a recent Grumman convention. Doug is also a Certified Flight Instructor and resides in New York City with his wife Carolyn and his adopted dog, Paco.
“Aviation has always been in my blood as a passion and avocation. As a youth, the Aviation Merit Badge was the first merit badge I earned as a Boy Scout towards the earning of my Eagle Scout, and also led me to the military,” says Jon Wells.
Jon has been volunteering with Pilots N Paws since 2009 and to date he has flown over 208 animals. Jon is a a very active pilot and has accumulated over 3,300 hours. He serve as an active instructor, both for the Honda Flying Club and independently.
Jon was drawn to volunteer for Pilots N Paws by his love of animals. His family has always had pets, which they consider an integral part of their family. “Unlike people I fly, who also need my assistance, but can tell me their stories, tell me their concerns, these innocent animals cannot. We, as pilots, volunteers, members of PnP must be the voices of these animals. If you look into their eyes, you know they will be loyal to you, to their new families, and only ask that their families be loyal to them. These animals provide unconditional care and even love of their “family” human or other, and we should hope to find the right families that will provide this same care and love back.”
Jon served a career in the Marine Corps during which he volunteered as an Aviation Merit badge Counselor. During Desert Shield-Desert Storm, Jon served with aviation units all over the globe and was in the Military Police, where at most locations he had multiple Military Working Dogs (MWDs). Shortly after Desert Storm, he returned to the United States and earned his Glider Rating, to include obtaining a CFI-Glider. Within a short few years he earned his Airplane Single-Engine Land rating, and went on to obtain his Commercial ASEL, ASES, AMEL, Instrument certificates, as well as his CFI, CFII, MEI, CFI-G, AGI and IGI instructor ratings. Jon flies a C182 during most of his Pilots N Paws missions.
Jon has worked to increase general aviation participation, as well as introduce new students to aviation by volunteering for charitable organizations related to aviation such as Boy Scouts of America (Aviation Merit badge counselor), Orange County Soaring Association, Angel Flight West/Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic and Angel Flight East, Veterans Airlift Command, and the Honda Flying Club.