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PACC911 Board

Bari Mears – President and Founder

After 26 years in the broadcast industry, Bari followed her passion and went to the dogs (and all the animals). Envisioning a united pet rescue community where animal organizations could work together harmoniously with a spirit of cooperation, she created PACC911. This vision she knew would give a louder and more credible voice to the animals who could not speak for themselves.

Starting with a few groups PACC911 slowly grew to be a major coalition in the valley and a role model for other cities to emulate. With 100 plus partnering groups, PACC911’s now well known Adoptathons have placed thousands of animals into new loving homes. The Emergency Medical Fund has saved countless lives, and in its inaugural year the new Lulu’s Angel Fund has taken twelve hard cases of cruelty and abandonment and brought these animals back to life and love.

Mears has authored 7 books with all proceeds going to PACC911 for the animals (most are available in the PACC store online). Named as Hero of the Year by Friends of Maricopa County Animal Care and Control in 2006, and chosen by Arizona Foothills Magazine’s “Women Who Move the Valley” in 2012, Mears lives with her husband Jerry, their horses and 3 very old dogs.

Dustin Slavens – Vice President of Donor Development 

Dustin Slavens developed his love of animals growing up on a small farm in Southern Ohio. After high school, Dustin attended Ohio University where he studied business management. Upon graduation, he began working in the insurance underwriting industry.

In 2011, Dustin and his wife, JL Slavens, adopted a Maltese from the Wish Bone Animal Rescue in Bloomington, IL. After finding out the shelter needed money to buy new kennels, Dustin offered to coordinate a car raffle to raise the money. After raising over $20,000, he was invited to join their board of directors. Dustin and JL helped organize additional fundraisers before they moved back to Arizona in 2014. Dustin became a PACC911 advisory board member in September of 2015. He has been involved on the planning committees for Glimmer of Hope, the Grimaldi’s fundraiser, and events held to benefit M.A.S.H.

Virginia Jontes 

ginnybiopic5Ginny was born and raised in the Midwest, St. Louis, Missouri.  At the University of Iowa, she received her BA and Education Degree.  Throughout her life, she lived in various parts of the United States.  Finally, in 2002, she moved to Arizona with her husband David.  Initially she worked volunteering at A New Leaf, a local organization that helps  homeless individuals and families.  Eventually she was appointed to the Board of Directors and worked on the Special Events Committee as chairman for many years.

Other past positions include media buying and bookkeeper for Dennis King Kaiser Productions in Oklahoma City, substitute teacher for grades K-12 while living in Dallas, Texas, and working as a real estate agent for Coldwell Banker and Gundaker Realtors from 1990 to 2002 in St. Louis.  Ginny has always had a heart for all animals since she was young.  Meeting Bari Mears changed Ginny’s life to focus on rescuing animals. 

Cindy Gordon – Secretary

In addition to her position as Secretary, Cindy Gordon is the main liaison between PACC911 and all its partners, disseminating information for all events including fundraiser and adopt-a-thons. She is also Chairperson for the Franciscan Renewal events and devotes her spare time to animals in need. Other community service includes assisting with adoptions at the Foothills Animal Rescue and socializing animals at the Animals Benefit Club Sanctuary.

Lou Murphy – Vice President of  Partner Relations & Events

Lou is the founder of Arizona Poodle Rescue (APR) an active statewide rescue organization since 2003. Her love of the breed came from having three exceptional Standard Poodle boys loving referred to as the “Three Amigos” pictured in the PACC911 Simply Delicious Two cook book. Clancy, Isaac and Oscar have all since passed but they continue to be the inspiration behind Lou’s rescue work. The first several years Lou built up her volunteer base, developed relationships with shelters across the state and played the role of foster coordinator, intake manager, transporter and financier. Today APR is still an all-volunteer group, was incorporated and received 501c3 status in 2010 and has placed over 2500 dogs since inception. Lou shares her home with her loving and supportive husband Mike and four fur babies. Picture here are her two rescue Standard Poodle girls Lacy Lu and Piper. She also has silver Toy Poodle named Eli and a red Standard Poodle named Caasi. Lou loves being part of the PACC911 team and has supported events in various capacities over the past years. A longtime advisory  board member, she assumed the role of Event Coordinator in 2013.

Penny-forwebPenny McGinn – Treasurer

Penny McGinn has loved all animals all her life, and comes from a family in a small town, Bluffton, Ohio. “The more the merrier” was the families motto and dogs, cats, horses, chickens, guinea pigs, parrots, turtles, frogs, and fish were all a part of Penny’s happy life! All creatures big and small were loved and cherished. Penny smiles here with her current roomies, Gunner and Ramsay, both rescued from abusive situations and all enjoy the love and care they each deserve!

Karen Clark – Communications & Merchandising Manager 

KarenClark2Karen Clark has a background in education and taught school for many years before transitioning into the corporate education industry. She and her husband moved to Arizona 15 years ago and fell in love with the beauty of the state and people they met. Karen is also a crafter, using her creativity to make earrings and macramé jewelry, inspired by her love for animals. You may see her at PACC911 events selling her jewelry and other donated crafts for donations that go into the PACC911 Emergency Medical Fund. Karen became involved with PACC911 through the Rescued Treasures Charity Boutique. After meeting the wonderful group and volunteering at events, Karen knew she had found just the right place to share her time and passion. She and her husband also volunteer with “Amazing Aussies Lethal White Rescue of Arizona.” They have two cats, Whisky and Maduro who are a couple of old love bugs, and two dogs who keep them busy. Daisy is likely a border collie mix and Draco is her blind Lethal White Amazing Aussie foster. All are rescues, and all are the center of her world.


Marcia Schafer – Cyber Manager

An active board member since 2005, over the years Schafer evolved from general board duties to designing many of PACC911’s special program graphics. She developed a branded image and spearheaded a website overhaul that marked a new phase of growth for the organization. She is now our managing web guru.

Marcia is an award-winning author and MBA business consultant mentoring humanitarian entrepreneurs around the world by using an unusual blend of professional expertise and psychic skills. Along the way, she’s used her intuitive animal communication abilities to help rescues and has a striking record resolving difficult issues, helping challenged pets get adopted. An advocacy division within her company Beyond Zebra® enlightens about pet consciousness as she works to change society’s perceptions to bring about the international life rights and legal protection these beings deserve. Inventive and trendsetting, she is a devoted animal lover providing a home for two rescued persians named Sakkara and Truffles. Devoted to getting people to better understand the not-so-silent world animals live in, she brings all her creativity and passion to our advisory board.

Donna Barker – President and Founder of Chuck Waggin’ Pet Food Pantry

Donna’s background is in the home mortgage industry. Her management career included Regional Manager, District Manager, Managing Supervisor/ Vice President and Branch Manager. She is now retired from this industry and works part time for the City of Phoenix, Parks and Recreation Division. She is also the President of PACC’s newest division, Chuck Waggin’ Pet Food Pantry. She formed this organization because so many families are having to give their pets to shelters or worse, abondon them altogether because they can’t afford to feed them. Chuck Waggin’ distributes food and supplies pet information for low cost shot and spay/neuter to families in financial need. She has been on the board of the Franciscan Renewal Pet Adopt-a-thon for 5 years, is past president of Empty Bowl Pet Food Pantry, and served as Chair on the Girl Scouts of America Financial Committee. She has also served on numerous committees throughout her career and now dedicates her time to keeping families and their pets together. Her home also consists of 4 rescued dogs: Darby, Wrigley (a.k.a. Chuck) in picture, Tazz and Chance.

Dee Umpleby – Rescued Treasures Store Manager

Deanne was one of the original board members for PACC911 and now is thriving in her element as store manager for PACC’s new store. Rescued Treasures Charity Boutique. Dee’s creativity has been the perfect ingredient to make the new store the most lovely of thrift stores in the valley. Her touch and sense of design truly make it a unique and fun place to stop and shop while supporting PACC911. Dee also has been instrumental for PACC by creating decorative baskets for our many silent auctions be they for our HOPE Gala luncheons, Bowlarama or smaller venues. Also a past member of Fast Dogs, Fast Friends, Dee was a foster for many a greyhound and now helps to foster Basset Hounds with AZ Basset Hound Rescue. She and her hubby Joe enjoy their 5 dog family.

Debbie Grand

Debbie-G-headshotDebbie Grand comes to PACC911 with a diverse background from the financial security industry to work at Cablevision where she assisted with media purchases and network programming. Her career later led her to Silverstone, a luxury senior community where she implemented all office systems for the sales center. Debbie finally found her way to the PV School District as college and career coordinator. A native New Yorker, Debbie has enjoyed the warmer climates of the valley for the last ten years and has been very aware of the workings of PACC911. Her love of her two cats has drawn her to join PACC911 in an administrative role to oversee such key programs as the PACC911 Lulu’s Angel Fund and various other projects to be named by PACC911. Debbie’s organizational skills are put to good use as our many programs continue to expand. She is a perfect fit and a much needed addition.

Diane Kirkpatrick

Diane spent 25 years in the corporate world owning businesses in Illinois and Arizona.  She decided to retire in April of 2016 and turned the business over to her children.  Diane has been rescuing animals on a small scale for as long as she can remember.  It had always been in the back of her mind that once she retired, she would pursue her passion on a larger scale.  Diane has known Bari Mears over 12 years and has always admired her dedication to animal rescue.  When Bari asked Diane to join PACC911, she was honored.

Diane and her husband Jim, along with their family moved from Illinois to Arizona in 1994.  They presently live in the Ahwatukee Foothills with their three rescue dogs, all different breeds, colors, and sizes.  They do have one thing in common.  They are all equally loved.  

Ames McGarey

ames3Ames McGarey has lived in Phoenix for the past 30 years after moving here from Colorado. She attended the University of Colorado in Boulder and graduated with a shared History and Art degree.  Ames and her husband Robbie have three children. During her children’s formative years she was very involved at their schools, serving on committees, chairing fundraisers and was the PTO President for Ingleside Middle School and Arcadia High School.

About 15 years ago, Ames saw a dog getting picked up by county after he strayed onto school property.  She went to Animal Care and Control to make sure that he was safe. Fortunately he was picked up by his owners, but the incident spurred her compassion and she vowed to get involved after seeing the reality of how many dogs and cats needed help. Since then Ames has volunteered for Maricopa County Animal Care and Control as well as individual rescue groups.  She always loved going to PACC911’s adoption events and that is where she met PACC911 founder Bari Mears. An enthusiastic animal lover who especially loves the seniors, her family currently has five rescue dogs. Between her love for her family, rescue and tennis, Ames is a very active person.  She is proud to be serving on the board for PACC911 and loves everything that we do for the animals.

Cheri Moreno

cheripaccbio160Married with dog-children, Cheri has over 35 years in marketing, with an extensive background in media planning and buying. Having many long-term relationships in the industry opens up opportunities to support PACC911 events and fund raising efforts through low cost or no cost media exposure. Volunteering at the events provides a chance to see first-hand, and appreciate the 24/7 efforts of those involved in the animal rescue community. Involvement with PACC911 is an opportunity to give back to all the dogs I’ve loved and love all the dogs who have so much to give.

Eddie Nichols

Growing up in New York City, Eddie never had the privilege of owning a pet he could call his own. It wasn’t until adulthood that he experienced the joys that owning a pet could bring.  When he was working at a local animal shelter, he adopted “Elvis”, a stray Cattle Dog mix that was brought to his attention from a local animal clinic. That’s all it took for this late bloomer to start a new chapter in life of not just owning a pet, but understanding the homeless pet situation here in the Valley and wanting to make a difference.

Eddie’s background in non-profit management, specializing in health-related causes, led him to working at a local shelter managing volunteers, creating an adoption program, and naturally, placing homeless pets. Eddie was fortunate to learn many things from shelters and trainers and continues to support the placement of rescue pets through his involvement with PACC911 in addition to other local rescue groups he feels fortunate to volunteer with.

The weather in Arizona is a dog lover’s dream with many places to hike, play, and swim.  When the opportunity arises, Eddie heads north to play in the snow. Elvis, along with Daisy, his Australian Shepherd mix (rescue from a local reservation) enjoy those precious times.

Kristin O’Hare – Event Merchandising Manager

Kristin first became involved in the animal rescue community when she joined the Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA as a volunteer in 2002. There she discovered a love for promoting adoptions and animal welfare by helping with numerous adoption and information events, earning her Event Volunteer of the Year in 2005. Kristin has been a foster parent and assisted with events not only for AAWL, but also with Healing Hearts Animal Rescue and Refuge, Maricopa County Animal Care and Control and numerous other rescue groups in the community. She also served as the head of the “Super Rangers” program, part of Rocket’s Rangers, a Humane Education non-profit organization, from 2009 to 2012. A favorite hobby, thrifting, led her to volunteering with the AAWL thrift shop and then with the Arizona Animal Rescue Coalition thrift shop. She is excited to help with PACC’s venture into thrifting with the Rescued Treasures Charity Boutique. Kristin has been involved with PACC 911 since 2005 and joined the PACC board in 2009, bringing her passion and enthusiasm for educating the public about animal welfare and adoption. She serves on the Bowl-A-Rama committee and runs the PACC 911 info & store booth at our Adopt-A-Thons held throughout the year. Kristin shares her home with her husband Vinnie, and their four legged “fur kids”, Buddy Love & Punk Rock Rose, both adopted from valley shelters.

JL Slavens

It was in Washington where JL rescued her first puppy, a female Beagle. She had dreams of moving to sunny Arizona, and named her new Beagle, “Phoenix”. Within two months, JL moved with her company to Phoenix. She then rescued a Mini-Schnauzer and named her Millions hoping for the same result as Phoenix’ name sake. JL volunteered for the Arizona Humane Society as a dog walker and helped with fund raising events. While living in Illinois she and her husband, Dustin were involved with Wish Bone Canine Rescue helping with fund raising events. Their rescued fur-children are Madison, Callie and Maxwell.

JL joined PACC911 in September 2015 and volunteers at PACC’s adoption and fundraising events.