Board of Directors
Kelli Dee Palamar, President
Shelia R. McCracken, Vice President
Mercedes M. Pellet, Treasurer
Susan Hertz, Secretary
Governing Board of Directors
Ann Kirwan Horton
Michael Pellet, Past President
Kelli D. Palamar, President
Born and raised in Washington County, MD, Kelli relocated to Garrett County, MD, in September, 2014. She is an Assistant Vice President, Mortgage Loan Officer with BB&T Mortgage in their McHenry branch location. 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, Miley.
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 Taylor-Made Vacations and Real Estate as general manager. She is a licensed real estate agent. Shelia lives with her husband John and her two most prized possessions - Tonka, a German Short Haired Pointer, and Salem, an adopted cat. Shelia’s lifelong compassion for animals motivated her involvement with HART for Animals.
Mercedes M. Pellet, Treasurer and Development Director
Mercedes is a professional translator and for almost 30 years was the Language Director and Chief Financial Officer of M2 Limited, the company she founded with her husband Michael. After the sale of her business and retiring to Garrett County, she returned to school to become 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, SECRETARY
Susan retired from administration and teaching at American University in 2005 and has lived full-time in Garrett County since then. She teaches dog obedience classes at Garrett College and, with her therapy dog--Irish Wolfhound Killian--visits schools, the Garrett Regional Medical Center, and Garrett College for stress-relief at midterm and finals. Active in HART for over a decade, she has volunteered over 200 hours in the adoption wing as well as at HART fundraising events.
GOVERNING BOARD OF DIRECTORS
When Alice was looking to adopt, she turned to HART because of our mission and philosophy. Alice routinely boards her pets here, too, because of the care and attention they receive during their stay. Alice brings over 20 years of senior leadership experience advancing economic development, education, and public-private partnerships. She is principal and owner of The Local Source, a public relations and marketing company, as well as The Phoenix Group ABA, a non-profit management firm providing executive leadership to non-profit organizations. She is proprietor of Free State Cooperage, a barrel manufacturing enterprise serving the craft spirits, beer, and wine industries of the Mid-Atlantic.
Debbie has been helping and caring for animals all her life. A native of Garrett County, Debbie is a licensed Real Estate Agent at Long & Foster Realtors for her WV License. Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations & Sales for her MD License. She has been 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 her Dachshund. She is dedicated to helping animal’s and helping HART in anyway she can.
Jim retired as president and CEO of the American Meat Institute, the Washington, D.C. based association representing meat and poultry companies and their suppliers and overseeing AMI’s legislative, regulatory, scientific, international trade and communication activities. During a 31-year career at AMI, Jim served as executive vice president and president of the AMI Foundation. Prior to joining AMI, he worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. Jim and his wife, Pam, have owned a home in McHenry, Maryland since 1992 and retired to Garrett County in 2015 with their dog Heidi and cat Clever.
Ann Kirwan Horton
Ann Horton is a health care executive with over 20 years’ experience in health care, public health and health communications. She has served on the boards of numerous not-for-profits such as the Maryland-National Capital Home Care Association, the DC Public Health Association, the Silver Spring YMCA, and her local PTA. Most recently, she has served as president of her local civic association, and co-chair of a civic transportation group. Ann lives in Silver Spring, Maryland and has frequently spent time in McHenry, MD at her family home over the past 25 years. Ann’s family has served as fosters to new kitten families for a number of years, but recently retired from fostering after adopting a special-needs kitten from HART. The kitten, “Lily” lives happily in Silver Spring with Ann’s family, including her husband, two teen daughters, a rescued corgi-sheltie, and another cat rescued in McHenry.
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 its Adoption Wing. Michael served for many years as the president of HART and now remains active as a member of the HART Construction Committee. He and his wife have two adopted dogs.
John 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 six adult cats and a kitten, all rescues.
Ann comes from a family deeply rooted in Garrett County. She has dedicated most of her life to volunteering in the county, having served since 1974 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, and Boomer, a Yorkie.