Board of Directors
Kelli Dee Palamar, President
Shelia R. McCracken, Vice President
Mercedes M. Pellet, Treasurer
Susan Hertz, Secretary
Governing Board of Directors
Candy DeGiovanni, Board Chair, Founder
Michael Pellet, Past President
Caroline Robison, Honorary Director, Founder
Kelli D. Palamar, President
Born and raised in Washington County, MD, Kelli relocated to Garrett County, MD in September, 2014. She is a Mortgage Loan Officer with BB&T Mortgage in their McHenry branch location (previously Susquehanna Bank), with 23 years of experience in the field. She brings with her many years of experience of serving on various non-profit boards, councils and committees, and her passion for saving animals is what drew her to HART for Animals. She has served on the board of directors at HART since November, 2014. Kelli and her family share their home with one very energetic Goldendoodle, Ginger, and an adopted and very loveable Tabby cat, Dallas.
Shelia R McCracken, Vice President
Shelia moved to Garrett County in 2009 and after a long history in international real estate, she started working locally for Long & Foster managing the vacation rental business. She has been a licensed real estate agent for 19 years. Shelia lives with her husband John, and her two most prized possessions, Tonka and Yukon, the German Short Haired Pointer kids. Shelia’s lifelong compassion for animals is how she ended up involved with HART for Animals.
Mercedes M. Pellet, Treasurer and Development Director
Mercedes retired to Garrett County after the sale of her business. She became a Registered Veterinary Technician in order to help animals, which she is doing through her work with HART and with her own rescued pets. She brings to HART marketing, promotion, and business knowledge and has worked tirelessly to bring the HART dream to fruition.
Susan Hertz, Treasurer
Susan retired from American University in 2005 and lives full-time in Garrett County. She teaches dog obedience classes and is active with her therapy dogs visiting schools, hospitals and the library.
Debbie has been helping and caring for animals all of her life. A native of Garrett County, Debbie is a licensed Real Estate Agent at Long & Foster Realtors, and has been involved involved in community service for more than 12 years. In addition to raising a family, Debbie takes care of her two adored Shi-Tzu's, Kahlua and Bailey, and Sammie the Dachshund.
Ken is a software engineer with over 25 years of experience. Currently he is a Senior Staff Software Engineer with cyber-security company, FireEye, Inc. Ken, and his wife Judy, are lifelong animal lovers, sharing their home with their three Corgi's. Both Ken and Judy are volunteer transporters for HART, and Judy works as HART's volunteer coordinator.
Candy DeGiovanni, Board Chair and Founder
First President and co-founder of HART, Candy has been a veterinary technician, a rescue transporter, a coordinator, and an animal trainer. She continues her dedication to helping animals through her position on the Board, and personally through her fostered and adopted pets.
Michael Pellet, Past President
A successful business owner and professional engineer, Michael retired to Garrett County over 15 years ago. Michael joined HART as Facilities Director and developed the specifications and preliminary design for the HART Center and it's Adoption Wing. After serving for many years as the President of HART, Michael retired from that position but remains active as a member of the HART Construction Committee. He and his wife have two adopted dogs.
John Pucciano has been fostering, transporting and adopting rescue cats over the last couple of decades. Before moving to Garrett County full time in 2011, John transported over 150 cats from the Garrett County Shelter to rescue organizations in VA and MD for adoption. As a permanent resident, John has transported animals to larger rescues for HART. He has held various executive level positions in the Washington, DC area, both in the private and public sectors. John and his wife are happy “cat parents” to 6 adult cats and a kitten, all rescues.
Caroline Robison, Honorary Lifetime Director and Founder
Co-founder of HART, Caroline has been a driving force behind the rescue and transport of thousands of adoptable animals in the last decade. Now employed by HART as Rescue and Transport Manager, she continues to work tirelessly to improve the lives of animals in the county and years of experience in animal welfare, rescue and treatment.
Ann Smith comes from a family deeply rooted in Garrett County. She has dedicated most of her life to volunteering in the county, having served for 42 years with Southern County Rescue Squad, 20 years on the Board of the Garrett College Foundation, 30 years with House of Hope, and several years with the Deep Creek Fire Department. Ann has a great understanding of the importance of fundraising and grant writing. She is the proud parent of Copper and Garrett, two miniature poodles.
Nancy is the CEO of The Squires Group, an IT consulting/professional services organization based in Annapolis. Nancy is an avid supporter of HART and its mission of saving the lives of homeless "domestic" animals, as well as the Davidsonville Wildlife Sanctuary, which rescues and cares for sick and abused "wild" animals.