Board of Directors

LaVonne Bower, President/Founder– LaVonne has a big heart and is a natural leader. She believes in taking action and follows through on the promises made. LaVonne is uniquely positioned by her love for animals and love and respect for Veterans who protect us and fight for the freedom of others. October 2016 LaVonne was diagnosed with breast cancer and required immediate surgery. She found herself receiving the pet therapy from her own dogs which further inspired her to continue her vision for Paws and Warriors even through chemo and radiation treatments. Her understanding of how to run a business, be an advocate and her ability to work with and inspire others will place the development of Paws And Warriors in loving and capable hands.

Matt Bower, Vice President (Veteran, U.S. Army)Matt Bower was born and raised in Manatee County. During his seven years of service in the U.S. Army as an NCO he was awarded 15 honors. Matt is a financial advisor with Edward Jones while at the same time serving his community on the Manatee County Planning Commission. Before his career as a financial advisor he spent 15 years helping build one of the area’s most successful law firms, Luhrsen Law Group. His military and management experience and love for animals provide a key element to Paws and Warriors.

Lt. Col. Caroline Horton, Secretary (U.S. Army)Lt. Colonel Horton, soon to be Colonel Horton, is active military and entering her 20th year of service. She is wrapping up her term at the Pentagon and will soon be attending War College in Rhode Island. She will then take command as Warden of Leavenworth Military Prison. Lt. Colonel Horton has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and throughout her career has seen the toll PTSD, TBI and physical injuries has on active military and Veterans.

Jeanne Paulus, TreasurerWhen Jeanne is not volunteering with the Sarasota Junior League she is spreading awareness of the Paws and Warriors mission. She adopted her dog, Scotch, from Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue in 2015. Jeanne and Scotch are in the process of getting certified as a Pet Therapy team.

Greg Lindsey, Director (Retired , US Army)Greg Lindsey is Chief Operating Officer for Boardroom to Battlefield. He has leadership and management experience with over 26 years in the defense industry including US Army Ranger and Infantry Units. He brings a unique experience having served as both enlisted and a commissioned officer during his military career. His military experience and active support of veterans is a key component in assisting Paws and Warriors to be successful in their mission.

Ben Knisely, Director (Retired , Colonel, US Army)Mr. Knisely was a Medical Service Corps Office and MEDEVAC Helicopter Aviator. As a young Lieutenant, he was shot down by an enemy missile in Viet Nam and declared MIA. Wounded, he and his co-pilot spent 4 days without food and water evading enemy capture until being rescued by the 101st ABN Division. After his recovery he remained on active duty and completed a 27 year carrier.  Mr. Knisely is a member of the Board of Directors of The Sarasota Military Academy. He is on the Board of Directors of Operation Second Chance and also serves as the Military Liaison Officer for the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Department. We are proud to have the support of such a distinguished and active Veteran to assist with the visions of Paws and Warriors and mission statement.

Dawn Pomaybo, Director (Business Consultant, Instructor USNSCC)Dawn Pomaybo is an Employee Benefits Consultant with Brown & Brown Insurance of Sarasota; President of Pomaybo, Inc, a human resource outsourcing firm; Executive Director of The National Association of the Women’s Interactive Network and an Instructor with the US Naval Sea Cadet Corps, Maritime Eagle Division, Palmetto, FL.  Dawn’s vast knowledge of businesses, processes and industries have brought many diverse clients to seek her knowledge and consultation. Dawn helps organizations improve their performance, primarily through the analysis of existing business problems and guides the development of plans and processes for improvement. We are proud to have her business expertise available to support the mission of Paws and Warriors.