Our Team

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JACKIE BAKER

Founder/CEO

Growing up in a single parent family was not always easy. The one extra special gift of escape that I was given was my love for horses and animals in general.  I dropped out of high school twice, once my freshman year and again my senior year.  I tell people I am the poster child for “Stay in School.”  My life long dream was to be a Large Animal Veterinarian.  After my daughters were born, I went back to high school and received my high school diploma and took a few classes in college.

 

If I ever win the lottery, I will go back to college and take those lifelong classes that I dream to be a part of.  On the other side of my youth, I now know that we all have two choices in our lives, we chose to be bitter or be better.  I have chosen to be better.  I have written my memoirs, under a pen name, and they are scheduled to be published in the fall of 2021. 

My husband and I have created an amazing family and I have surrounded myself with good people. Even with all of the mistakes that I have made in my life, and there are many, I am truly blessed.  I want to leave a positive mark in this life by reaching out to those that I may be able to assist in finding their way.  I can’t rescue humans, but I can establish a little day retreat to get away, and share life knowledge and experiences and hope. I can also help support local youth programs and food closets. 

My love for animals started before I was born.  My mother rode horses up until a few weeks before my birth and if unsupervised, at 2 years old, I would climb up on any horse’s back.  I was raised with every farm animal imaginable, helping birth their babies and others to cross over the Rainbow Bridge.  I find inner peace with animals around me.  I enjoy sharing my knowledge of animals with others and I enjoy continuing to learn from others. 

My family and I have always made sure we help where we can and when we can.  As my husband and I look forward into our retirement years, our vision is to establish an organization that can help to support community needs.  We are proud that we are working towards these goals, and with your generous donations, establishing Blissful Retreat and Rescue. 

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JON BAKER

Trustee

I grew up in a charmed life with an intact nuclear family.  We always shared a love for animals, knowledge and sports.  I enjoyed school and as the son of a college chemistry teacher learning was a priority.  I also enjoyed baseball and was drafted and played minor league baseball for the Chicago Cubs.  Baseball and seeing the country was such an adventure and a great experience for me.  I will always have fond memories of putting on my catching gear and heading out on the field to play.  After baseball I returned to college and received my degree in Electrical Engineering with a minor in History.  Not soon after College, with the direction of my father, I began a career in Computer Technology and Network Design.  Then for several years, I played baseball in a Senior League and Coached Softball at our local high school.

My wife always had pets around for our kids.  Rescuing anything from lizards, chinchillas, bunnies, birds, cats, dogs… pigs, cows and horses, you name it… if it needed to be helped, we would help.  We spent time raising rodents for reptiles in the science room at the local school and for a friend that was a Falconer.  Then consoling our youngest daughter that made signs and marched in protest “Save the Mice!, Save the Mice!” As our family matured, I helped our daughters with the FFA project animals for county fair.  I enjoy spending time with my family and the animals that live with and around us.  As my wife and I venture into the next phase of our lives, our retirement years, it feels like a natural progression into establish Blissful Retreat and Rescue.  I am the forever ranch hand and the go-to animal whisperer, the trick is… I feed them.

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TINA DELLEPERE-HAISH

Vice President

I was born in South Dakota and my family and I moved around the western States until we settled in Santa Cruz Ca where I grew up and call my hometown. I retired a year ago from the CA prison system. I am married to my to the love of my life, Amy. I have one son and two step sons. I currently run our small hobby farm and have always loved animals. I work hard to make everyday a good one for our animals!

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KATHY VAN STEYN

Secretary

I grew up in Jackson CA and French Camp CA went to school in Jackson, Argonaut High Class of 92. I have had the blessing of having and loving animals my entire life. We've had, horses, cows, chickens, ducks, sheep, goat, pigs, cats, dogs, rabbits, Emu, Guinea fowl, and many, many rescue animals over the years. My passion is God first, animals second. I have an AA and was going to further my education in Animal Husbandry but life has not taken me in that direction. I'm an animal lover, wife of 28 years, mother of one and raised my niece and nephew with 3 bonus kids, 8 grandkids and 1 great grandson on the way.

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AMY SPITHORST

Resource

Grew up in Bodega on a Large sheep ranch.  Went to Fresno State University and received a Bachelor's of Science in Agriculture Education with an emphasis is Animal Science. 1990-1994. 1995 earned an Agricultural Specialist /single subject teaching credential from CSU Fresno. In 2005 earned a Master's Degree from Sacramento State in Educational Leadership and administration. In 1995 started my teaching career in EGUSD at Florin High School 1995- current. In 2008 I was named Teacher of the Year of the Elk Grove USD.  I completed my National Boards certification in 2006. Currently run a small sheep/goat ranch with my wife in Elk Grove.

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LAURALEEN PATTERSON-GILLEEN

Resource

I was born December 21, 1975, in Roseville, CA. I grew up in Rocklin, CA where I am living today with my husband and my dog. I am married to my best friend of 27 years; we have a mini golden doodle named Sophie who is 6 years old. I have always loved animals, especially dogs. I would adopt all the dogs that need a home if I could, so I am excited about a rescue. I work in health insurance for a company I have been with for 17 years. I volunteer for an organization called NAMI, running a family support group for family members who have a loved one diagnosed with a mental illness. My group focuses on schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. I am passionate about helping animals and those who struggle with a mental illness