Our Board Members
The board members of HITVERAS come from many different backgrounds but have found a common cause that unites them. Their ages range from 30 to almost 70, and their vocations are equally as diverse.
Ande is the founder of Hope In The Valley Equine Rescue & Sanctuary, Inc. She started her human health care career as a paramedic and became a flight RN on LifeWatch air ambulance after she obtained her nursing license. She has worked for Wesley Medical Center since 1985 and is currently an RN in the Radiology Department.
In September of 2005, Ande was at a local sale barn looking at horses. She saw Jim and pitied him, he was so gaunt and weak. She wondered how anyone could leave a horse unable to chew food to starve to death in a pasture full of grass. As she continued to look at horses throughout the sale barn, the image of Jim stayed with her. He had once been a beautiful horse and she saw in his eyes the spirit and determination that was dying with him.
Ande turned back and bought Jim. He had looked her in the eye and they had connected. When she brought him home, she discovered more about the sickening results that abuse and starvation had wrought upon Jim. Lisa had come to trim Jim's feet, and they soon discovered he could not lift his hind feet without falling down. The horse had grown so weak he could not support his structure on three feet, even for the time it took to clean and trim his hoof. One of the lasting legacies of Jim's abuse was that he never allowed anyone to clean his hind feet. Ande figured it was because even after regaining strength, the fear of falling never left him.
Ande fed him mash for the rest of his life; food that he didn't have to chew, and he lived his last years as a testament to kindness and trust. Click here to read more about Jim. Jim became a symbol to Ande that there is a great need in the world, and her health care career expanded to encompass equines. It is safe to say that Ande's call in life is to care for people by day, and horses by night.
She turned her own farm, 85 acres in Valley Center, Kansas, into a horse rescue facility and Hope In The Valley was born.
Once asked, "How do you do this, doesn't it rip your heart out to see these horses like this?" She replied, "You just have to love them for the short time they are here and remember that you are doing them a favor and not allowing them to suffer any longer. It is hard and I cry for each one of them. "
Ande has been blessed with 12 other people who have come together to form the board of directors, each from a different walk of life, to become a part of her passion and assist her in caring for these wonderful equine companions. She says she could not do it without each and every one of them. And we could not do it without her.
Deb heard about the rescue several years ago from a friend who thought it might spark her interest. She came out to visit the rescue, met the horses, and never turned back. She doesn't remember when she joined the board, she says "it's always been that way." A staple in the function of the rescue, Deb provides key help with events and operation of the rescue.
Dixie became a board member in August 2012. From Kansas City, Mo., her first job at age 13 was working with a veterinarian. She went on to graduate from college with an Animal Health Technology degree in 1983. Dixie joined the board after having been a volunteer with us for over two years. She says she has "had some very important jobs in my life and aside from raising my  children, the most rewarding work I have ever done is volunteer." We welcome Dixie's energy, enthusiasm, and work ethic to our board.
Carla is the Treasurer for HITVERAS. She does timekeeping and processes payroll as her vocation, so it is natural for her to extend that skill to the rescue. Carla, Ande's sister, has been involved with Hope from it's inception. Although she is admittedly not as comfortable around horses as her sister is, Carla is invaluable in her role of keeping the financial aspect of this non-profit organization up-to-date. Carla is also Paris McGinn's mother, so she just became a grandma in June of 2010!!!
Let us also thank Carla's husband Denny who has spent countless hours and strength working to give us a better facility. Denny has helped us build fences, repair sheds, and built our training area together with Ray Oller.
Christina has found her home away from home. She works in advertising, and is originally from Wichita. As a child she rode as often as she could, but fulfilled her childhood dream of owning a horse when she recently moved into the country and adopted Kizmet. She updates the HITVERAS Facebook page as well as the HITVERAS blog, and takes pictures of the horses at the rescue in addition. Christina enjoys doing one of the most important things someone can do with these underprivileged horses, she grooms them and talks to them every chance she gets. It's good for her, but excellent for these horses who crave positive human interaction. She has been on the board since 2008.
Chasity is a very active mom of two wonderful and very active children. Originally from Medicine Lodge, Chas has been in the Wichita area for about 10 years. She was looking for a place for her daughter to interact with horses and hone her sensory skills when she found Hope In The Valley. She and the children came out to volunteer one day in 2009 and have very actively worked since to help with the care and maintenance of the rescue. Chas has also become our de facto public relations liaison and communicates upcoming events to the media and our volunteers, promoting awareness and hopefully finding these horses new loving homes. She became an official board member in April of 2010.
Paris is Ande's neice, she's been on the board for many years, too. Paris has been instrumental in building forms and log sheets for the rescue. In June of 2010, Paris had a baby! His name is Lane, and we look forward to seeing him grow with our horses.
Dixie also works in the medical profession. Born in Oklahoma, she's been a Kansas resident most of her life. She was raised with horses and they have "always been a big part of [her] heart."
Married for 32 years  to Ray, with two daughters, great sons-in-law and four grandchildren, she is now enjoying life with her family, horses, and new friends. She says, "My dreams are all coming true."
Dixie spends countless hours at the rescue coordinating volunteers, working with horses and assisting Ande in rescue efforts. Her husband Ray is equally as irreplaceable — transporting horses to various fundraising activities and doing extensive carpentry, fencing and repair work around the rescue. Where Dixie is, there is Ray, right by her side.
Mary Lou Rivers
Originally from Wichita/Valley Center area, the City of Wichita has much reason to thank Mary Lou. She worked with the Parks Department to develop Botanica, and also spearheaded the development of the Delano district. A retired local business owner, Mary Lou has been a board member since 2008 and puts her efforts to good work helping spearhead the rescue. She performs many valuable services, and perhaps the two most valuable are taking board meeting minutes and spending time with Tiny. Those two are inseparable.
A professional web developer, Peri's company, The Saner Way Web Development, donates the hosting, design and development for the rescue's web site. As suggested by her horse-training mentor, Peri began volunteering for HITVERAS in July of 2009.
Joy, an engineer by day and active board member by night, and her daughter Rachel were new to Wichita in 2012. Rachel, an accomplished rider and horse enthusiast found our booth at the Wichita River Festival, where we were giving rides for donations, and immediately the two began volunteering. They helped us all week at the River Festival, leading horses with riders, cleaning up after horses, whatever was needed, they did. Today Rachel is one of our exercise riders and helps keep the horses' training up-to-date. Joy became a board member in July 2013, and is instrumental in helping us apply for grants and organizing fundraising activities. In addition, Joy updates the web site information and performs many administrative duties such as the scheduling and maintenance of the horses' health and hoof care records.