FOUNDER & DIRECTOR
Heidi has had a lifelong passion for working with people and animals. With over 20 years of experience as an occupational therapist, including more than a decade of using animal-assisted therapy to achieve functional independence for her clients, she has seen how powerful the human-animal connection is and how having a service animal can increase a person's independence and enrich one's life. With her background in animal assisted therapy, Heidi knew that pairing returning veterans with highly trained service dogs could greatly enhance the veterans’ quality of life.
Joseph D. Rainey
Joe served as a tanker in the U.S. Marine Corps until a stateside accident cut his service short. Paws 4 Liberty trained his first service dog, “Tanker,” in 2009. After many years together, Joe lost Tanker to cancer in 2020. Now, he has “Stitch,” another service dog in-training from Paws 4 Liberty. Joe loves to connect with other veterans and help them find the assistance they need by partnering with well-trained service dogs.
Bill Paczkowski, PHD, JD, MBA
“Patch” served as a Captain in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps for thirteen years and worked as an attorney/consultant for a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs. He has authored multiple journal articles and conference presentations and is actively involved in aiding the successful transition of student veterans to the civilian sector of employment. As a veteran with a service dog, he knows firsthand the difference Paws 4 Liberty is making in the lives of veterans.
John R. Platt
Currently retired, John was a pharmacy owner and District Manager for Walgreens in Palm Beach County, Florida. His wife is hearing impaired and benefits from her relationship with her service dog, Sandi. John’s business and managerial skills have come in handy during his service on the board of directors. John is passionate about providing quality training and service dogs for veterans in need.
Heidi has been an active member of the south Florida community for 34 years. Her three sons and two dogs keep her busy. Paws 4 Liberty is important to Heidi and her family, because they see it as a testament of the power of the bond between humans and animals.
Gerry is the owner of Jeffreys Drug Store in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania and holds a BS from Duquesne University. He has been a long-time supporter of Paws 4 Liberty.