Board of Directors


Deb (1)

Deb McFadden

Deb McFadden, President
VP, Osborne Capital Group

Deb became involved with Friendship APL in July of 2012 when she and her husband Jerry adopted their first cat, Mellow, from the shelter.  Her mom had previously adopted from here and Deb decided it was time for her to get her own pet.  As a child Deb grew up with dogs but a cat was more conducive to her and her husband’s lifestyle.  Deb became a shelter volunteer shortly thereafter and then they adopted a kitten, Mya, in November 2013.  Deb could see what a great organization FAPL is and was asked to become a board member in January 2015. Now Deb serves as Board President since April 2015.  In January 2016 Deb adopted another cat into her home, Misty, a handicap cat that was fostered by Executive Director Greg Willey.  In addition to her three cats, Deb’s workplace has two adorable dogs that “work” on a daily basis.  Deb is very involved with events and supports animal welfare and anything that will improve the lives of animals.

Deb received her Bachelors of Science in Business Management and a Masters Degree in Business and Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix. Deb works for Osborne Capital Group in Mentor and is an active member in the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).  She also serves on a committee in the Meadow Lakes Home Owners Association.  Deb is married to Jerry and their only children all have fur, Mellow, Mya and Misty.


Amy Richards

Amy Richards

Amy Richards, Vice President
Senior Accountant, Cleveland Indians

Amy Richards is a senior staff accountant for the Cleveland Indians.  She has been actively involved with the Friendship APL Board for almost 5 years.  She has held the position of Treasurer and chaired the finance committee.  She is currently the Vice President.   Amy has always cared deeply about animal rights. Serving on the FAPL Board of Trustees has allowed her to follow her lifelong passion by taking on a more active role in advocacy for animals.

Amy resides in Grafton Township, where is the fiscal officer, with her husband Bob and their two English Bulldogs, Chunk and Lulu!


Val Porterfield and Family

Val Porterfield and Family

Valerie Porterfield, Secretary
Sr. Analyst, PolyOne Corporation

Val started volunteering at Friendship in 2011 after losing her dog Caden to cancer.  She started out by walking dogs and quickly became involved with events.  Val and her husband have fostered several Friendship dogs and became foster failures when they adopted their chocolate pitbull, Indy.  Volunteering and fostering quickly became a family affair as her parents and younger siblings joined in the fun.


Val was elected to the Board in 2015 and currently serves as Secretary and a member of the Marketing and Public Relations committee.  She currently works in human resources and also has an accounting background, including a Certified Public Accountant certification.

Val and her husband Corey reside in Sheffield Village with their three dogs, Maggie, Molly and Indy.  They are currently expecting their first two-legged addition to the family in the summer of 2016.


Patrick Radachi

Patrick Radachi

Patrick Radachi, Treasurer
Investment Advisor/Retirement Plan Consultant, Spira Benefits

Patrick Radachi is the founder and President of Spira Benefits, LLC, a consulting firm that helps companies design, implement, and operate corporate retirement plans such as 401(k), Profit Sharing, and Cash Balance plans.  He holds certifications from the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA) and fi360.   In addition, he is a Registered Representative and Investment Advisor Representative with his financial services firm, Spira Wealth Management, LLC.  Patrick previously served on the board from 2011 to 2013.  Having himself adopted from the shelter, he hopes more residents of the area become aware of the work Friendship APL does and appreciated the great resource available right here in Lorain County.  Patrick resides in Elyria with his wife, his son, and their dog, Cinnamon.


Justis, Melody, and Spencer

Justis, Melody, and Spencer

Justis Clifford, Trustee

Senior Communications Specialist, Ross Environmental Services, Inc.

Justis got involved with Friendship APL while volunteering as part of Leadership Lorain County; however, he recently realized it started much earlier than that. Harley, his mother’s lat Bichon Frise and Justis’ best four-legged fur friend growing up, was a senior dog adopted from Friendship back in 2005.  He also recently adopted Buck the bunny from Friendship APL in December 2016.

After his first-time volunteering at Friendship APL, he just couldn’t get enough and returned every chance he got.  He was truly moved by the many volunteers, dog walkers, cat cuddlers and others who donated their time for these animals.  Not to mention the staff that chose careers helping animals at some of the worst moments in their lives.

Justis is the Senior Communications Specialist at Ross Environmental Services, Inc. in Elyria. He handles the communications, marketing and public relations for the Ross Group of companies (which includes Ross Environmental Services, Ross Incineration Services and Ross Transportation Services).  In addition, he is co-founder, along with his wife, of his own marketing and information company, Clifford Business Services, LLC, and is working towards obtaining his Master’s degree in Mass Communications and Public Relations from Kent State University in 2017.

Justis also enjoys giving back to his community through other organizations. He is a Master Mason of the Free and Accepted Masons of Ohio and a member of the Wellington Fraternal Order of the Eagles.  He resides in Wellington with his high school sweetheart turned wife Melissa, daughter Melody and rescue pup Spencer Winston Clifford.  Justis is truly excited to join the board and hopes to help out any way he can.

Dawn with her cat, Sammy

Dawn with her cat, Sammy

Dawn Ermler-Fischer, Trustee                                  Broadcast Technician, WKYC

Dawn is a graduate of Valparaiso University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She moved to Cleveland from Chicago in 1990 for her job as a broadcast technician at WKYC-TV. She has always had a passion for animal welfare and rescued her 1st cat when she was 8 years old and has rescued 2 dozen cats off the streets of Cleveland. She got involved with Friendship APL in January of 2011 after talking with Greg Willey in the Green Room at WKYC-TV. Greg asked her to come to the shelter for a visit, Dawn asked what she could bring, catnip toys was the answer. Dawn bought some toys but made some toys too.  This is how “Trixie’s Toys” began. Dawn visits the shelter every month with a fresh batch of catnip toys for all the shelter cats and “Trixie’s Toys” for sale in the toy shop. “Trixie’s Toys” are an ongoing fundraiser for the shelter. Every penny raised by the sale of her toys stays with the shelter.  Dawn hopes her skills as a broadcast technician will provide social media support for the shelter and awareness to animal welfare in Northeast Ohio.


David Humphrey

David Humphrey

David Humphrey, Trustee              Chief Executive Officer, Ohio Desk

David Humphrey grew up in Valley City, Ohio and many dogs, cats and horses were always part of the Humphrey home as his mother and aunts were always rescuing stray animals.  He graduated from Ohio University with a degree in industrial engineering and worked for National Gypsum for a number of years.

Humphrey joined Ohio Desk in Cleveland in 1977 and then eventually bought the company in 1984 where he remains as CEO.  Animals have always been part of his life, remembering that now living in Columbia Station for 38 years, not one of those years has been spent without at least one cat and one dog but usually with more.  He became interested in Friendship Animal Protective League many years ago and has been supporting it ever since.

Outside of the business, Humphrey is a 35 member of the Rotary Club of Cleveland as well as a trustee and treasurer of that club and is now a Rotary Club of Cleveland Foundation Trustee.  He has been a board member of Ohio Motorist Association and a 35 year member of the Vermilion Yacht Club.  He has been on the board of trustees and an officer in that club.  Humphrey is also an active member in the Strongsville United Methodist Church.


Chris Pyanowski

Chris Pyanowski

Chris Pyanowski, Trustee
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Lorain County Prosecutor’s Office

Chris has always loved all animals and but would describe himself as a “dog person.” He adopted his dog Gorman in December 2014 and decided to get involved with Friendship APL to help others have the same kind of amazing experience. He sees Friendship APL as an organization that provides the opportunity for pets and families to come together and a safe place where animals can come until they find their forever home.

Chris earned his law degree and MBA at Cleveland State University after earning his bachelor’s degree from Kent State through the University Partnership Program at Lorain County Community College. Chris served in the United States Marines including a deployment to Iraq prior to pursing his education. Chris currently works in the Lorain County Prosecutor’s Office as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney and he currently resides in Elyria.

Barb with Friendship APL Alumni Squirt at Doggie Dash

Barb Sangiacomo with Friendship APL Alumni Squirt at the Doggie Dash.

Barb Sangiacomo, Trustee                    Owner, Rabbit Wing Studio

Barbara Sangiacomo can’t remember a time in her life when she didn’t love animals, but she distinctly remembers the day she became an animal rescuer.
She was 12 years old and was horrified when a school friend told her that her dad planned to drown a kitten. Barb ran home and told her parents, also animal lovers, and they went to the schoolmate’s house and took the kitten. Poco, a loveable black cat, lived to be 22 years old.
She is a 1980 graduate of the College of Wooster and took post-graduate courses at Kent State University and many other local colleges and universities.
Today, a few decades later, Barb’s love of animals has only grown as one look at her South Amherst home can attest. She and her husband, Michael, are the proud “parents” of five dogs, three cats and a rescued stuffed rabbit named J.R., who is her assistant music teacher.
And we would be remiss if we did not name the animals. The dogs are Allie, Krypto, Benton, Samantha and Squirt. The last two came from the Friendship shelter. Krypto was pulled from a horrible Lorain animal shelter. Allie was adopted from a rescue group and Benton was a rescue from near Heidelberg College.
Two of our three cats: Memphis and Tierney, came from Friendship. The third cat was rescued from a now-defunct rescue organization in Amherst.
She taught elementary school music in the Oberlin School system for 17 years before semi-retiring in 2014.
Barb currently teaches music part-time at St. Angela Merici School in Fairview Park and also teaches private piano and trumpet lessons at her home studio in South Amherst called Rabbit Wing Studio.
Over the years, she has taken in many old dogs and cats from Friendship that no one else wanted. She believes that every animal deserves a loving home in those final years. While it has been difficult to adopt elderly dogs only to see them die a year or two later, she knew that they had the happiest time of their lives at the end.
She has adopted a grand total of six dogs and two cats from the Friendship APL, including several foster fails.


Kathy Schlather

Kathy Schlather, Trustee     Registered Nurse, University Hospitals, Elyria Medical Center

Kathy has been working in surgery and recovery rooms in Lorain County as an RN for 38 years. She has been married to her husband for 37 years and has two children and one grandchild. She also has three rescued cats and a rescue dog. Her work in this field and her dedication to her family has made her a truly compassionate person.

Animals have always been a major part of her life. She has served on the board of Friendship Animal Protective League for six years. During that time she has been a major part of our fundraising team. Her work alongside her cousin Alice Ayala have helped make fundraisers like Wags to Riches and The Dog Gone Poker Run events that have allowed the organization to continue its mission to save lives.

Linda Stepan and family

Linda Stepan and family

Linda Stepan, Trustee                        Attorney at Law, Brouse & McDowell

Pookie changed Linda’s life.  When Linda adopted Pookie, she learned that this beautiful spirit had been left to die in a dumpster and then was scheduled to be euthanized for space at a shelter.  Linda knew that she had to take action to save the other Pookies in the world.

Linda met Greg Willey when she and her husband, Rob, volunteered and fostered Beagles for the Cuyahoga County Shelter.  They were inspired by Greg’s move to the Friendship Animal Protective League to save even more lives so they joined him there to volunteer and foster more Beagles.  Linda is a partner at Brouse McDowell and she jumped at the opportunity to further serve Friendship Animal Protective League as a board member.

Linda and Rob strive to spend every resource that they can to further the mission of the Friendship Animal Protective League and save more Pookies.


Friendship Animal Protective League of Lorain County

8303 Murray Ridge Road, Elyria, Ohio 44035    (440) 322-4321  

Friendship APL is a 501(c)(3) organization.

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