Meet the Board Members!
The Freedom Fidos Board of Directors operates upon the following principles:
- A passion for animals, service, and helping others without monetary gain
- Focus on humanity, integrity, authenticity
- Connection and commitment to growing and serving communities
- A burning passion to love and serve humanity
- Unanimity rather than majority vote for any motion to be passed
Matt Burgess - Co-FOunder
See link to.....
Brinks BUrgess - Canine Co-Founder
Hi, my Name is Brinks. I am a Rottweiler/Shepherd Mix. My human Daddy, met me when I was 8 weeks old at the Athens GA shelter while he was in school at UGA. My Daddy states when I as a little brown and black ball of fur started chewing his shoe laces it was an instant connection which would start a long incredible journey.
I have done hundreds of demonstrations, traveled nationwide, saved my Daddy’s life numerous times, trained numerous other dogs, and am the pack leader, in addition to numerous other tasks. I am also on the dog selection committee. Most dogs Freedom Fidos has trained have come through my committee. While my Daddy tries his best to speak Doganese (yes, he even barks sometimes!), he still doesn’t speak it as good as I do.
My favorite activity is when Daddy throws the Tennis ball to me. I also carry groceries, retrieve things off the ground for my Daddy, bring him his shoes every day, help him find his vehicle when he comes out of a building, and so much more.
If I haven’t met you yet, I so hope I get to meet you soon. Thank you for reading about me and my Daddy’s incredible journey.
Kristine Duncan - Secretary and Treasurer
Kristine spent eighteen years as a treasurer and bookkeeper for a plumbing company while also pursuing a career in real estate. During her career she received numerous awards to include The Million Dollar club, Most Listings Taken, and Most Listing Sold.
Kristine has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Columbus State University in Columbus Georgia which is also where Kristine resides.
Kristine became associated with Freedom Fidos four years ago. Her passion for humanity and dogs led her to pursue increased involvement. For the past two years Kristine has been one of Freedom Fido’s main Service Dog Trainers as well as her role as the Treasurer.
While interacting with the dogs in addition to connecting with people through inspirational relationships brought Kristine to the realization she has found her life’s meaning, purpose, and passion as a member of the Freedom Fido’s team.
Kristine has two wonderful daughters, Katelynn and Maddy. She is proud of the women they have become.
Dave grew up in the Northeast and lived in Southern California and Houston, Texas prior to moving to Georgia. He and his wife Kathy have lived in Snellville for 34 years and have two adult children and two German Shepherd dogs.
In addition to serving his second term as a Snellville City Councilman. Dave is a member of the Evermore CID Board of Directors, and has been appointed to the Board of Directors for Snellville Downtown Development Authority, Urban Redevelopment Agency and Development Authority of Snellville. Prior to his 2011 election as a City Councilman, Dave served for two years on the City’s Planning Commission. He is a graduate of the Snellville Citizen’s Police Academy (CPA), a member of the CPA Alumni Association, a member of the Snellville Tourism and Trade Association (STAT) and a regular volunteer at City civic functions. A number of years ago, Dave and Kathy launched “Give Hunger the Boot”, a program that has raised over $300,000 in food and financial donations for the local food co-op.
JOsh and Kristin Jopling
Kristin Jopling is from Belton, TX, and moved to Georgia in 2017. She is a Military Wife, Autism Mom and Adoptive Parent who enjoys connecting with people from all different backgrounds. Kristin is married to Josh Jopling. They have 3 children, 2 dogs and 1 cat together. She currently works as a Market Builder for a hair care company called Monat. In her free time she likes to go to the movie theater or cook a good meal with her family. Family is one of the most important things to her. She hopes to make a positive impact on Veterans and their families during her time at Freedom Fidos.
Annemarie was born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where she attended UW-Green Bay and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. She served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1990-1995, during which time she met her husband, Danny. They married in 1994 and she spent 18 years as a military spouse until Danny retired from Ft. Benning, GA, where they now reside with their awesome 19 year old son.
Annemarie is employed by the State of Georgia as an investigator for the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office.
She became involved with Freedom Fidos recently and is grateful for their service to veterans and other special needs people. Her desire is to be an asset to the organization in any way possible.
A native Atlantan, Jenny connected with Freedom Fidos at the 2017 No Barriers Summit in Lake Tahoe, California. She'd slide into the booth on the floor to play with Brinks and Oakley and then wave up to Matt and Kristine!
Jenny is a horse-rescuing, grammar-loving, aerial-dancing, small business owner. Having received a master's degree in religion, Jenny now runs a thriving tutoring business in Sandy Springs, GA. She works with students facing all sorts of learning challenges, from dyslexia, anxiety, and processing disorders to students on the autism spectrum or those falling behind because of a lack of executive functioning skills.
Her position allows me to take on the challenge of helping students find individual ways to discover the inner joy that comes with mastering a new skill, decoding a language, finding that first book they can't put down, solving a seemingly-impossible puzzle, and figuring out how to channel learning struggles into creative successes!
Her dream is to expand the services she currently offers on an individual basis to engage with groups of students (school, scouting, clubs, etc) in broader outreach, community involvement, and hands-on service learning. Given the resources available surrounding Atlanta--Freedom Fidos in particular--it would be a disservice to students not to translate classroom learning into meaningful experiences and relationships that bring learning alive!
Kate joined Freedom Fidos in the fall of 2017. She is a Golden Isles, Georgia native and graduated from Glynn Academy in 2009. Kate then completed her undergraduate education at the College of Coastal Georgia, earning a BBA in Leadership. After spending one year working at a local law firm, Kate received a scholarship to the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.
During law school, Kate worked as an intern at Robins Air Force Base under the Chief of Real Estate Law and Environmental Law. She was also a member of the Habeas Project, a post-conviction pro bono clinic, where she served under the Student Practice Act. Kate also served as the President of the Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society and Event Coordinator of the Second Amendment Society, which hosted the 13th Annual Charity Skeet Shoot to benefit Freedom Fidos, sponsoring one of our newest trainees, Mercer.
Kate was sworn in as a new lawyer in November 2017 and has been accepted into the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Georgia’s Leadership Academy Class of 2018.
One of Jake’s favorite pastimes is meeting new people, learning their stories, collecting interesting characters as friends. He rarely meets a stranger and has a smile for anyone who happens upon his path. It is not unusual for the friendly, kind extrovert (who likes to believe he isn’t) to strike up random conversations with interesting strangers, and that’s exactly what happened when Brinks caught his eye one fall evening in downtown Columbus. After chatting with Matt and Kristine, Jake found himself drawn to the Freedom Fidos mission and promised to be in touch for volunteering as soon as his schedule was clear. Although charmed by the gregarious young man’s earnestness, Kristine and Matt had met well-meaning, engaging people before and they knew from experience that even those with the best of intentions often failed to follow through. It is possible, even, that someone may have said something along the lines of surely would never hear from the fellow again.
Imagine their surprise, then, when not only did he call, but he showed up with bells on and brimming with enthusiasm. And not only did he show up, he kept showing up, weekend after weekend, building relationships with the dogs, learning the history of the organization, investing whatever he had to offer to this worthy cause that had reached into his heart and taken hold. Sometimes something happens that changes everything. And sometimes the moment passes without anyone realizing what just happened. For most of people, the significance of these seemingly-small, often mundane encounters is not revealed for many years, and even then, only upon the types of deliberate retrospection usually reserved for retirement parties or milestone anniversaries. But that certainly will not be the case this time. What Jacob Jackson lacks in experience and formal training, he makes up for in dedication, drive, enthusiasm, loyalty, and a desire to learn and grow along with Freedom Fidos as they both make their place in the world.
Ron and Yvonne Thornton
Dave and Lisa