A New Day — A New Board

What does a retired international businesswoman, a bank president, a veterinarian, and a priest have in common?

They all serve on the FOTAS Board of Directors.

It took us 3 years to convince Caroline Simonson to join the Board. Caroline was one of the first volunteers recruited by Jennifer Miller in 2009. She devotes 4 mornings a week, every week, to the shelter walking and socializing dogs, assisting new volunteers, and helping evaluate dogs for transfer.

Before she and her husband Bill moved to Aiken in 2004, Caroline worked at the New York Stock Exchange, raised a daughter and worked for an international company that sold cars and vehicles to the military, diplomats and embassies.

After I moved to Aiken, I volunteered with other community organizations, but once I started working with FOTAS,” says Caroline, “I knew I had found my calling.

Frank Townsend is the president of the Aiken County Southern Bank & Trust. An Aiken native, Frank is married to Beth, and has four lovely children – Frank, Jr., Pinckney, and the twins, Wallace and Wright – and two shelter cats, Charlie and George.

FOTAS appealed to Frank to join the Board because of his deep ties to the Aiken community and his financial expertise, skills important for a growing non-profit organization raising money in the community for various activities. We also were impressed with his optimistic, soft-spoken manner, so we made a full court press.

Jennifer Miller was very persuasive,” says Frank “I was appalled by the huge intake and euthanasia numbers in the County. I knew I wanted to help. I just couldn’t say no.

Dr. Charlie Timmerman is a highly respected veterinarian who started his own small animal practice in Aiken 42 years ago. He is married to Colleen, who works closely with FOTAS’ Lenny’s Brigade and Fix-a-Pet programs. They have 2 children and 3 grandchildren.

It’s obvious why we were so keen on Charlie: the depth and breath of his veterinary experience with small animals was and has been essential. He’s a no-nonsense kind of guy with a measured response to problems. We need that.

“I believe in getting involved,” says Charlie, “and I believed I could make a difference in the well-being of the shelter animals by working with FOTAS.”

We assured Charlie that working with us would not interfere with his time with his grandchildren, his quail hunting and most importantly, any Clemson games. Maybe we secretly crossed our fingers as we made that promise, but Charlie’s adroitly managed to work it all into his rich and busy life.

Father Grant Wiseman moved to the Diocese of Upper South Carolina in 2009 with his wife Heather and his twin daughters, Audrey and Abby. Aside from being the rector for St. Thaddeus in Aiken, Grant is very active in governance of the Diocese and serves as a trustee of the Gravatt Camp and Conference Center and Dean of the Gravatt Convocation.

Grant, Heather, Audrey and Abby have fostered in excess of 300 puppies over the past 5 years. Aside from his and his family’s obvious dedication to helping the County’s homeless animals, Grant is a kind, optimistic and practical man also with deep ties to the community and extraordinary organizational experience.

“Our family strongly believes that puppies who spend the beginning of their lives being held, named and loved are far more adoptable than those who are not,” says Grant.

He’s right – virtually all of their puppies have gone on to find loving homes through our transfer partners.

This is a great Board,” says Jennifer Miller. “They are movers and shakers in the Aiken community and have been instrumental in the evolution of FOTAS to an organization able to make an enduring difference. They work together beautifully as a team, which makes the hard work of FOTAS not only productive, but pleasurable. I am grateful for their commitment.