Russ joined the SVAS Board in March 2006. Even though their successful businesses, Earthmovers and X-Press Mart, and family keep them extremely busy, Russ and his wife Jeanne still find time to be involved in the community. Whether it’s personally helping to build Habitat for Humanity homes, serving on local nonprofit organizational boards, or contributing to worthy causes (including their longtime financial support of the SVAS), Russ and Jeanne have definitely given back to Minot. They try to steal some time in the summer for themselves and their two small dogs, Gracie and Angel, at the lake. Russ also enjoys flying model airplanes and has helped the Minot Aircraft Modelers make their flying field one of the finest in ND .This field was also the home to the “Christmas in July” fundraiser Jeanne and Russ single-handedly organized that raised several hundred dollars for the Animal Shelter in 2006. Russ has sold Earthmovers and is now a consultant for Statoil in Williston. SVAS BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jessica Donamaria-President (2020)
Jessica was born and raised in Minot, North Dakota. In February 2013, Jessica joined the SVAS board of directors for the first time and was secretary for her 2014-2015 term. She stepped down in September 2015 to have her 2nd child. Jessica has been married to Zack for 8 years and they are raising two children, Zoey (3) and Benno (1.5) as well as their two furkids, Jaina (5 yr old lynx point siamese) and Tremonti (3 yr old tuxedo). Both of their furkids were adopted from SVAS in 2013.Jessica is excited to have more free time to be back on the SVAS board of directors and can't wait to continue to help the shelter grow!
Laura Thomas - Vice President(2020)
Laura was born and raised on a farm in Bottineau North Dakota. As a child Laura spent countless hours a day caring for all her farm cats. She moved to Minot and graduated from Minot State University in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. Laura is currently employed with a company as a Regional Human Resources Manager. Laura and her Husband CJ call Minot home. They are the proud parents of four children, Kemper (12) Yorkshire terrier rescue, Pretzel (12) calico, Neko (11) korat and Panda (10) she was adopted from the SVAS 8 years ago. Laura is excited to be part of this organization, as animals are a very important part of her life.
Sheila Miller - Secretary(2020)
Sheila is a Minot native who has been married to her husband, Mark, for eighteen years. They have a five year old husky/shepherd mix, Sophie, that was adopted from SVAS about three years ago. She is a Certified Public Accountant with degrees from Minot State University in accounting and management. She has over 20 years experience in accounting and finance and is currently employed as Vice President of Finance for Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. She is hoping to bring her expertise in finance and fundraising along with a lifetime love for animals to help the SVAS sustain the good work it does for animals.
Mason Cool - Director (2019)
Mason was raised in Minot. He graduated from Minot State University with a BA in Finance. He is a Mortgage Loan Officer at Gate City Bank, where he’s been employed since 2004. He and his wife Jenny have a daughter Cecily, and Miniature Dachshund Emery which they adopted from SVAS in 2009. While growing up, he had many family pets and is eager to play a role in the advancement of this non-profit organization whose sole purpose is caring for, and finding homes for animals in need. In his free time, he likes to golf, travel, and spend time with family & friends.
Jennifer Burdick - Director (2018)
Jenn was born and raised in the Minot area. She earned her BA in Elementary Education and Special Education from Minot State University. She started teaching Elementary Special Education while earning a MS in Special Education, as well as a credential in Early Childhood Special Education. She is currently the Behavior Strategist at Edison Elementary. Jenn was raised to care for animals and people alike. Joining the Board of Directors for the Souris Valley Animal Shelter will be her first experience in a non-profit organization, but she is excited to learn and contribute. She has owned dogs throughout her life, and recently adopted a lab mix named Abby.
Judy Brooks - Director (2018)
Judy is from the South, and was born in North Carolina. Her father was in the Air Force, as was her husband Barry. She's lived and traveled all over the US and the world, including England and Okinawa, Japan, where she and Barry met in high school. They have a grown daughter. Judy graduated from Northwest Florida State College, also attended Florida State University, and has worked for the Minot Public Schools. She's a lifelong pet owner, animal lover and advocate, and is involved in animal welfare causes. Over the years, Judy and her family have rescued a number of stray cats/kittens, most of which they've kept, and others they've found homes for. She's an administrator for two Minot area pet related Facebook groups which were first created during the 2011 flood to help lost and abandoned/homeless animals during that time. Judy is a strong supporter of the SVAS, is honored to be a part of its board, and hopes to bring her love for animals and concern for their welfare to help the SVAS in the great work that it does.
Leann Mellum - Director (2018)
Leann was born & raised on a small grains family farm in ND. She grew up caring for the farm cats, dogs, cattle, horses and bison – often delivering medical attention to the animals when needed. She earned her BA in Communication from the University of North Dakota and spent many years working for the Grand Forks Herald. Later, she worked in Enrollment Services at Dakota College at Bottineau before relocating to Minot, ND. Currently, Leann is the Marketing Director at Norsk Høstfest, a 501(c). She is active with the Minot Area Chamber’s Ambassadors Committee, The Optimist Club, iMagicon – Minot’s comic con, Sons of Norway Thor Lodge and the Scandinavian Heritage Association. Leann is a proud rescue “mother” to her two fully clawed cats, Renegade & Felony, and two basset hounds, Ruby & Daisy, and is an outspoken advocate against the practice of declawing.
Emily Schenfisch - Director (2018)
Emily was born in Barney, GA, a small town in South Georgia. She grew up on a farm there that had many farm dogs and cats that she ran and played with for hours on end. She graduated from Valdosta State University with a BA in Public Relations. In 2012, Emily moved to Minot, with her husband Tanner, who is originally from Makoti, ND. They then moved to Velva in 2013. Emily is Assistant Manager of Loan Operations for First International Bank and Trust, in Minot. She is mother to one fur baby, a red heeler border collie mix, Junebug, who keeps her busy every day. Emily is also an alumni of Women’s Leadership Minot and member of the Star City Golf Course in Velva. Emily is very excited to put her experience to work at the SVAS.
Kami Hansen - Director (2019)
Kami was born and raised on a ranch near Des Lacs, ND. She grew up helping take care of animals on the farm like cattle, horses, and chickens. Over the years Kami showed many in 4H and FFA. She showed various different species including cats, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, canines, swine, and more! Kami currently has two horses and her rescue dog, Otto. She graduated with a main focus in animal science and animal husbandry. Kami is a co-owner of Twisted Creek Ranch & Animal Supply and works as a Certified Animal Care Advisor/Expert with a main focus in animal nutrition. She is very involved in outdoor activities and wildlife conservation committees with hopes of bringing public awareness to animal nutrition requirements and care.
Russ Gohl-Associate Director
Russ joined the SVAS Board in March 2006. Even though their successful businesses, Earthmovers and X-Press Mart, and family keep them extremely busy, Russ and his wife Jeanne still find time to be involved in the community. Whether it’s personally helping to build Habitat for Humanity homes, serving on local nonprofit organizational boards, or contributing to worthy causes (including their longtime financial support of the SVAS), Russ and Jeanne have definitely given back to Minot. They try to steal some time in the summer for themselves and their two small dogs, Gracie and Angel, at the lake. Russ also enjoys flying model airplanes and has helped the Minot Aircraft Modelers make their flying field one of the finest in ND .This field was also the home to the “Christmas in July” fundraiser Jeanne and Russ single-handedly organized that raised several hundred dollars for the Animal Shelter in 2006. Russ has sold Earthmovers and is now a consultant for Statoil in Williston.
Mia Farstad-Associate Director
Mia Farstad graduated from St. Catherine University located in St. Paul, MN. She earned a B.S. in Business Administration: Marketing and Management, with an emphasis in Marketing. Originally from Champlin (MN), Mia moved to Minot in 2014 to be with her husband Shane, who is originally from Minot. Mia is the Marketing Director of the Minot Area Development Corporation (MADC). Mia began working at MADC in 2014, MADC is dedicated to building and supporting a resilient, sustainable, and diversified economy to ensure Minot is the right location for businesses and families. Mia is a member of Minot Young Professionals (YP), Kiwanis, and has also served in Junior Achievement.