Kelley Forrester knew from a young age that she wanted to spend her life working to improve animals’ lives. She began by volunteering and worked full time in animal sheltering for over a decade. She has worked closely with multiple animal welfare organizations in the Denver metro area and deeply understands that humans are the key to saving the lives of shelter pets.
When Kelley met her husband, veteran Craig Hildebrand, she witnessed firsthand the ability of pets to alleviate and help heal the wounds of war. A new passion was born to unite veterans with shelter pets in need to create mutual healing. As Executive Director Kelley’s goal is to support our veterans and rescue shelter pets by joining them together in a lifelong bond.
Kelley serves as a facilitator between shelters and veterans. She believes making the right match and providing support are the keys to a lasting relationship. Kelley and Craig share their home with a variety of shelter pets, including 2 dogs, 5 cats, 2 parakeets, 5 fish, and a leopard gecko.
Chief Financial Officer
Nicole Schimming is determined to help humans and pets understand each other more deeply and to create a lasting bond between them. She received her bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University and graduated from University of Colorado at Denver with a Masters degree in Curriculum Development and Education. As a teacher in Aurora, she worked tirelessly to facilitate kindness and compassion in her students.
Nicole left teaching in public schools to follow her passion of working with both animals and people. While working at the Dumb Friends League as the Humane Education Manager, she gained a deep understanding of the human-animal bond. She is devoted to the use of positive reinforcement as a training tool when working with cats, dogs, and small mammals like rats and ferrets.
She has an Animals and Human Health Certificate through the University of Denver. Through this program, she solidified her understanding of the applications of animal-assisted therapy and emotional support animals.
Nicole is the proud pet parent to two cats, Simon and Twinkle, and ferrets, Rowdy and Rory. Black Ops Rescue allows Nicole to simultaneously honor and assist our country’s heroes as well as find forever homes for shelter and rescue pets in need.
Veteran Relations Coordinator
Craig Hildebrand enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1987. As a Combat Engineer he served with Charlie Company 307th Engineer Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina and also in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He spent two years with the 65th Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. He was honorably discharged in 1998 as a Squad Leader and Master Parachutist at the rank of Sergeant.
After adopting two shelter dogs he recognized how much their companionship impacted his own physical and mental health, recovery, and rehabilitation. He helped create Black Ops Rescue to assist his fellow veterans in finding the same healing.