Riley MacKenzie Fund - Helping Animals and Their People

Board of Directors

Debra J.M. Szot, President and Founder
The Riley MacKenzie Fund was started in the fall of 2009 after Debbie received numerous calls for financial help with animals in the Big Rapids, Michigan and surrounding areas. Debbie has loved animals all of her life, so starting this fund was a natural heartfelt decision. Debbie lives with her husband on their family farm along with dogs, cats and horses. Debbie teaches dog obedience classes and works with behavior issues with dogs in Mecosta County at Riversbend Animal Hospital. She occasionally teaches a Therapy Dog Prep Course. She is a member of Boxer Haven Rescue, a member of Midwest Boston Terrier Rescue, a member (along with two of her dogs) of Alliance of Therapy Dogs. She was a former board member of Mecosta County Area Foundation, WISE (Womens Information Services), Mecosta County Medical Center Foundation, Mecosta County Council for the Arts, Mecosta County Homebuilders, Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce board member and past-president, founding member of Artworks.

David Szot, Vice-President
David retired from Big Rapids High School in 2010 where he taught English, art, and history. As a teacher, he saw a need for education on the treatment of animals in the school system. This partnership to help animals was an easy decision for David. David is currently teaching art part time at Ferris State University. He is a member of the classic rock band Free Flight. He is a former board member of Mecosta County Council for the Arts and Artworks.

Heather L. Hodges, Secretary
Heather is a social worker in care management at Spectrum Health Hospital. She lives in the Big Rapids area with her four dogs, Jackson, Emily, Pete and Lola. Her Boston Terrier Emily was adopted from Midwest Boston Terrier Rescue and Lola was adopted from Boxer Haven Rescue. She is the former chairperson for the Committee on Sexual Assault (COSA) at Ferris State University, facilitator for WISE (Womens Information Services) for Alternatives to Violence class for men who batter their partners.

Steven D. Schut, Treasurer
Steve lives in the Cadillac area where he is a baker for the Blue Heron Restaurant. He is the treasurer for New Hope Shelter (a shelter for homeless men). He is very active in his church and has always had animals in his life. He is an avid antique collector and a collector of Cadillac, Michigan memorabilia.

Sherry Comer, Director
Sherry is originally from Reed City and a former resident of the Big Rapids area. In 1999 she and her husband, Terry, and their Yorkie, Baxter, moved to northern Michigan. Their beloved boy crossed the Rainbow Bridge in 2006 and was welcomed by his Lab sister, Brandi, and cat brother, Ashley. Sherry is a graphic artist and talented photographer and uses these skills to promote the Riley MacKenzie Fund. She is employed at Allegra Printing in Traverse City and as an aqua fitness instructor at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. Her love of animals is great and she welcomes the opportunity to educate others about animal welfare and the Riley MacKenzie Fund.

Barbara Graham, Director
Barb is employed at Spectrum Health Hospital. Barb has several Certified Therapy Dogs, LT a Boston Terrier, Ember and Probe both rescued Boxers. Barb is married to Lonnie and he is also very involved in dog rescue work. Together they have fostered more than 200 dogs. They have a high interest in training deaf dogs and have fostered three litters of puppies through their rescue dog work. They foster dogs for Boxer Haven Rescue. Barb’s other public involvement is through volunteerism and fund raising for the Reed City Fire department Auxiliary and the Nazarene Church. Barb has two adult children who also have rescue and Therapy Dogs. She has two wonderful Grandsons and engages them on many levels of canine work, believing they will be our next generation to help promote responsible pet ownership and champion the “underdog” so to speak, plus help mold them into well rounded people through community volunteerism.

Glenda Montague, Director
Glenda is a Massage Therapist at The Massage Spot in Remus.  Glenda and her husband Jim, live in Canadian Lakes, they have two children, Summer and Corey.  The Montague’s are animal lovers, they have two dogs, Peaches and Herb, and a cat named Spike. Glenda has worked with both dogs and taken obedience classes, people often comment on how well behaved they both are. Glenda volunteers with Rolling Rescue transporting dogs from animal shelters to various rescues statewide. Glenda is a former board member of Mecosta County CARES as she is an advocate for spay and neuter.  Glenda’s daughter, Summer, along with her husband also have an adopted rescue dogs. Glenda is very proud of her son Corey, is also a proud owner of a rescue dog. He has held several very successful, dog and cat food drives in Canadian Lakes.  Corey collected pet food for the Mecosta County Animal Shelter, God’s Helping Hands in Remus, and the Riley MacKenzie Fund to distribute at the Manna Pantry in Big Rapids.

Leonard (Lenny) Schebil, Director
Lenny is the owner of Premier Auto Sales Inc in Big Rapids and has been in the auto business since 1976.  He has been a resident of Big Rapids for 28 years and enjoys life with his wife Mary, two dogs, and a cat. He has two children and four grandchildren.  Lenny enjoys taking his dogs to the local schools to help educate young people on some of the different breeds of dogs and how to care for them. His dog Rugby, a Golden Doodle, is a therapy dog.  Lenny is an animal advocate, and believes strongly in spaying and neutering animals to help with over population of dogs and cats. He enjoys working with the Riley Mackenzie Fund as an auctioneer to help raise money for a great cause.

Carol Byrne, Former Director

Sue Brooks, Former Director