In the spring of 2017, five volunteer dog walkers (3 teachers, a lawyer and a nurse) at the Sarasota County Animal Shelter formed LEADSRQ. Their purpose was to help provide funds for health services to animals in local shelters and to educate the public on local adoption programs for dogs, cats and other homeless animals.
Jill Creevy moved to Florida in 2001 and has lived in Belgium, Hong Kong, New Jersey, Washington, DC, North Carolina, Maryland, Connecticut and Texas! She and her husband, Joe, met freshman year at Georgetown University and have been married 22 years. After earning her law degree, Jill worked in federal relations/lobbying for a trade organization in Washington, DC. Her husband’s work took them to North Carolina and then Florida where they raised their two daughters, Megan and Caroline. As a longtime volunteer for Sarasota Sheriff’s Office Animal Services, Jill is especially interested in understanding dog social behavior. She runs the playgroup program at the shelter and enjoys matchmaking dogs with potential adopters. Jill also volunteers at humane Society of Manatee County and board member and volunteer with Satchel’s. Jill’s family includes 7 rescue dogs - greyhound siblings Jersey Joe and Carita, chihuahua mix siblings Penny and Perry, rat terrier mix Betsy, boston terrier mix Chippy and corgi/chihuahua.
Gail Gilliland Balkwill was born and raised in Sarasota growing up on Siesta Key (Crescent Beach) during the 1950's - 70's. It was a time when you could walk the beach WITH your dogs, ride a horse on the beach and enjoy a much simpler life. As she grew up her family ALWAYS had dogs and cats and a multitude of other animals, all of them being rescues! Attending local public schools prepared her to return to Sarasota after graduating from University of Florida. She taught 34 years in Sarasota focusing on students with learning and behavioral disorders. While she loved teaching she is now enjoying retirement with her husband, Bill Balkwill, former Sheriff of Sarasota County. They enjoy traveling throughout the United States, Eastern & Western Caribbean and most recently traveled to Amsterdam, Africa and London. The trip was a life changing experience for them and plan to return to Africa one day. They also spend time with their daughter, son-in-law and beautiful granddaughter multiple times per year. At home they have two rescue dogs. Abbey is a Black Mouth Cur mix that came from a local shelter (foster failure) and Lady, a Yorkie they inherited last year after a relative passed away. Gail has been busy volunteering her time (even as she worked full time) at a local shelter and now at a true no-kill rescue in Sarasota. She has found it to be extremely rewarding to be a support and a voice for animals in need.
Kristi Geib grew up in Sarasota where she lives with her husband, Dwayne, and their two rescue dogs, Bella and Lily. She has been an elementary school teacher for 26 years, currently employed with Sarasota County Schools as an instructional substitute. Kristi is also active in her church, Restoration Fellowship, as the administrator of the children’s ministry and as a worship leader. She enjoys art, music, children’s books, writing, and photography. Kristi has always loved dogs and began her volunteer work at Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services in 2014 as a dog walker. She also found a way to incorporate photography into her love for the dogs at the shelter. As the volunteer photographer for the shelter, she enjoys capturing the beauty and personalities of the amazing adoptable animals.
Jan moved to Sarasota about a decade ago. She was born in upstate New York where she was raised on a twenty acre, Upic Strawberry farm. She was introduced at a young age to animals on the farm, raising chickens and pigs then selling eggs and fryers to neighbors. She preferred to play with her cats and dogs and fancied her hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs, parakeets, and, even, at one point, a Shetland pony. Her family moved to the Chicago suburbs in her teens. Jan attended nursing school on Chicago's magnificent mile. She has decades of fond memories of the patients, co-workers, and physicians that she encountered in pediatrics. Jan and her husband met while ballroom dancing at the Willowbrook Ballroom. Jan has two grown children.
Jan's volunteer work began before her retirement. When she was still employed full-time as a pediatric nurse, she committed to volunteer projects of one or two weeks duration across twenty years with Medical Ministry International in Jamaica, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic. In her retirement in Sarasota, Jan has volunteered at Resurrection House Day Center for the Homeless for five years. She has been a dog walker at SCAS for four years. Jan is on her third year volunteering as a medical liaison for SCAS and putting her nursing skills to use in the monthly tracking of medications and observing/improving the condition/treatment of ill dogs and cats. Jan is also the happy medical foster of two adult chihuahuas, Mozelle and Twyla Mae, from Satchel's Last Resort.
Doug Gilliland has lived in Sarasota since 1952 and retired in 2013 after 40 years of teaching Chemistry and the Physical Sciences at Sarasota Junior High and Sarasota High School. He has been a volunteer dog walker at the Sarasota County Sheriff's Animal Shelter (SCSAS) since 2009, in 2013 he was honored to be selected as Sarasota County Sheriff's Volunteer of the Year.
Doug and his wife of 35 years, Debi, attended first grade together at Southside Elementary and have two sons and 4 rescues, three of which were adopted from the SCSAS shelter. He, and his Bernese/Border Collie mix, Colby, also volunteer in Tidewell Hospice Pet Therapy program, visiting patients in local assisted living facilities and hospitals. Doug is the LEADSRQ webmaster, helps design promotional materials and teaches local school children about Colby and his role in Tidewell's Pet Therapy program.
In Loving Memory of Doug Gilliland
Doug Gilliland, husband, father, uncle, brother, dog dad, dog walker, teacher, friend, kayaker and LEADSRQ board member, lost his battle to cancer on Sunday, October, 11. Doug struggled on and off for the last 7 1/2 years battling cancer but never complaining. He found great joy in his family, friends, his dogs, shelter dogs and being on the water in his kayak. As a group, we shared a passion for saving animals, getting medical care for animals and keeping animals in homes and out of shelters when possible.
Please take a moment to remember a special man. Find the good in your day as he always did. Take time to do the things you love. Life is short.
RIP Doug ️