Cheryl Wicks, President
Curt Romander, Vice President and Treasurer
Beloved Sammie made such a powerful impact on Cheryl and Curt that they wanted to give back to the animal community by creating a non-profit dedicated to caring for and saving the lives of less fortunate animals. Starting in 2001 they made it their mission to completely change the lives of as many animals as they could. In that one year alone, they had created a volunteer program at the Nevada County Animal Shelter, and had spent over $30,000 of their own money to provide medical treatment for the animals that would otherwise be euthanized. In 2004 they received non-profit status for Sammie's Friends so they could raise money to provide for medical care of the shelter animals. In 2005 they expanded the program to provide medical care for animals in the community belonging to low income people who needed help to provide for their animals.
After Sammie's passing in 2007, they decided to make an even bigger impact to keep his spirit alive, and what better way to do so then run the shelter. They began the long journey and entered into negotiations with the county. In July of 2010, all of Curt and Cheryl's hard work had paid off and they signed a contract and began operating the Nevada County Animal Shelter. Since that day in March of 2001, Cheryl and Curt and all that has become known as Sammie's Friends has saved the lives of 30,000 animals. 100's if not 1000's have joined in to help through volunteering, donating, providing goods, writing grants and planning events. It's awesome and totally amazing.
In 2019 alone Sammie's Friends has provided medical treatment for more than 3,000 animals, and the euthanasia rate at the shelter is less than 1%! When they are not putting in countless hours saving the lives of under privileged animals, you can find these two enjoying time together,along with their 5-year-old pittie, Chula (Chu Chu for short).
Fran Cole, Executive Director
Fran is the incoming Executive Director. She was formerly a partner in Diamond, Baker, Mitchell Cole, LLP in Grass Valley. Fran was an original dog walker at Sammie’s Friends in 2001 and has served as its legal counsel. She practiced business law in-house and in law firms and served as Chief Counsel, Charles Schwab Investment Management, Inc. and as Senior Vice President of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. in San Francisco.
Fran has devoted considerable energy to helping our community, advising a number of local nonprofits as their legal counsel and serving on several boards of directors. She has served on the Board of Directors of Bear Yuba Land Trust, the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition, Gold Country Trails Council, Nevada County Digital Media Center, the League of Women Voters and Rudiger Foundation.
She was also a Commissioner on the Nevada County Historical Landmarks Commission. Fran received
the Colonel Lambert Award for community service in 2020.
Mirand Leach, Board Secretary
Miranda Leach aka "Mandy" started her career in Animal Health in 2006 through the 49er R.O.P. program. She worked with Veterinarians Dr. Ron Rosner and Dr. Denny Nolet at Pine Creek Veterinary hospital starting as a kennel assistant at 18, cleaning kennels and walking the dogs. She quickly progressed to an enthusiastic and compassionate veterinary technicians assistant for the next 8 years. During this same time Miranda attended Sierra College majoring in English and History and volunteered with many of our local animal rescue organizations. In 2014 Miranda took a position with MWI Animal Health assisting veterinary professionals and MWI Territory Managers in California, Nevada, and Utah. Miranda is currently working with MWI Animal Health as a Territory Manager helping Veterinarians create healthier futures from the Sacramento area up to Redding Ca and doing relief work on the weekends at Pine Creek Veterinary Clinic when she can. Sammie's Friends has always been an organization that she has worked closely with and has been proud of advocating for. Miranda is looking forward to what she can bring to our organization as a board member with her years of experience in animal health and business combined. She and her husband Jon Viola live in Grass Valley with their adopted tabby cat Roman and their rescued dog Leighton.
Jon Peek, D.V.M., Board Member
Originally from Claremont Dr. Peek graduated from the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. After leaving a multi-animal practice as an Equine Veterinarian, Dr. Peek started working for Grass Valley Veterinary Hospital in 1967. From 1975 until 2008 Dr. Peek owned and ran the hospital. He has been a CVMA member since 1966, CVMA president in 2001-02 and was a CVMA board member for eight years. Dr.Peek was also chair of the CVMA House of Delegates and has served on 20 CVMA committees or task forces, including the Agriculture Committee, Disaster Preparedness Committee, Finance Committee, Legislative Committee, and the Certified Veterinary Assistant Committee. He not only serves on the Board for Sammie's Friends but also on the Board for the Western Sierra Medical Clinic. In his spare time Dr. Peek loves spending time in the great outdoors on his kayak, traveling and exploring new beers, and spending time with his two chihuahuas, Roxie and Lucy and his wife, Leslie, a Registered Veterinary Technician.
Michelle Seary, Board Member
Michelle retired after 30 years as a chemist and splits her time between Grass Valley and the Bay Area. She is passionate about animal welfare, especially spay/neuter assistance for companion animals and Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs for community cats. Michelle is currently the feline spay/neuter coordinator for Sammie’s Friends and continues to be active with TNR around Nevada County. Michelle and her husband enjoy outdoor activities and music, and share their home with a few formerly homeless felines.
Bobbi Guidiccelli, Board Member
Bobbi is a serial entrepreneur. Her latest venture is Read The Ingredients which makes foods that are super clean, super healthy and 100% plant based. After raising her 3 sons in the Bay Area, Bobbi moved up to Nevada County 13 years ago and has been able to expand her 4-legged family to her current 4 horses, 4 dogs and 3 cats. Bobbi is a lifelong animal lover. When she not working or spending time with the animals you can find her on the Pickleball courts with her husband. She is a proud grandmother of 6 1/2 (coming 11/22) little kiddos.
Cheryl Berg, Board Member
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