Jan enlisted in the Air Force in 1978. During her 28+ year career she served several assignments in Europe and deployed to Diego Garcia during Desert Storm and later for Enduring Freedom, supporting operations in Afghanistan. Jan retired in the rank of Colonel in 2006. An animal lover throughout her life, she started volunteering at Adams County Animal Shelter and later became a full-time employee there. She met her current fur baby, Xena, the Warrior Princess dog, at the shelter and fostered her while Xena was recovering from a broken leg. The foster led to adoption and the current pack of two. She continues her support of the shelter through volunteer service there.
Jan graduated from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse with a BS in Education and earned an MA in Human Relations from Webster College.
Black Ops Rescue combines two of her passions, helping veterans and animals.
Dennis Vander Houwen enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1987. As a Photo Documentation Specialist (combat photographer) He served with the VII Corp Headquarters Company Germany, was deployed to the Persian Gulf War and was dispatched to document the 3rd Armored Division.
After being honorably discharged in 1991, he worked as a portrait photographer in Seattle WA.
He now lives in Denver and works in the entertainment industry and as a Communications Educator at the Center for Advanced Professional Excellence at the University of Colorado Health Sciences, Anschutz campus. He is the co-creator and a volunteer of “Centennial SuperDads”, a mentoring program for at-risk kids in an elementary school.
In 2013 Dennis was diagnosed by the V.A. with Combat related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He finds relief therapy through meditation and tenkara fly fishing. His rescued shelter dog, “Maggie”, though not formally trained, intuitively provides him with support and relief from his P.T.S.D. symptoms.
Deborah Burcham is a seasoned management professional with expertise in project management, event planning, volunteer management, staff management, development operations, marketing and strategic planning. Deborah has spent much of her career working in operations management and fundraising for large local and national non-profits including: the Dumb Friends League, Arthritis Foundation, and various national Cancer Centers.
Deborah was born and raised in Colorado. She graduated from Metropolitan State College of Denver with Bachelor of Science in Human Services. Deborah recently moved back to Aurora with her husband, Steve, and their four-legged children (Riley, Stella and Willard). Deborah enjoys hiking, kayaking, reading, crafting and spend time with her family and friends.
Meredith has a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and holds a current License in Marriage and Family Therapy and Addiction Counseling. She has over eight years’ experience as a counselor working with a diverse population including homeless Veterans, at-risk youth, and individuals and families experiencing substance abuse.
Meredith began volunteering for Foothills Animal Shelter in October 2017 and quickly discovered her passion was working with both animals and people. After six months of volunteer experience, she was offered the position of Volunteer Coordinator where she now helps over 450 volunteers utilize their strengths and skills to help vulnerable animals find forever homes.
Meredith is a Colorado native and lives in West Denver with her life partner, Jay, and their dog, Brody, a Cattle dog/Basenji mix. In her free time, she enjoys mountain biking, snowboarding, running, and reading.