Illinois Equine Humane Center is Governed by a Board of Directors that Provides
Oversight and Transparency
Board Member/Volunteer Coordinator
Board Member/Volunteer Coordinator
Gail Vacca has been engaged in the horse industry for over four decades. Her career within the industry began on the east coast where she taught riding lessons, trained, and competed hunter/jumpers throughout New England. In 1984, she passed the New Hampshire Racing Commission licensing exam and began her career as a Thoroughbred racehorse trainer. While no longer actively training racehorses, she still owns her own rescued Thoroughbreds. Active in equine rescue and rehabilitation for over 35 years, her most visible role in recent years has been as a grassroots advocate for both national and state-based non-profit organizations dedicated to reducing equine cruelty and neglect through education and legislation. She is the Founder of the Illinois Equine Humane Center which was organized in 2008.
Charle Deveaux is a retired airline pilot and Navy Captain who started volunteering in 2011. He has owned two pleasure horses and enjoys the Triple Crown as a sporting event. He is happy to help the ILEHC as a volunteer and as a Board member. Charlie also tends to the several barn cats.
Justine Dover is newer to the equine world having started as an ILEHC volunteer in the late summer of 2012 and during January 2014 accepted an ILEHC Board position. Since the age of 5, Justine has wanted and loved horses but living in the suburbs precluded her from pursuing that interest. Justine adopted an ILEHC horse, King Cielo, during the autumn of 2013. The therapeutic value derived from caring for a horse has been boundless, my true passion is rescue not riding.
Megan Howard fell in love with horses at the age of 8, started riding lessons at that same age. By age 13 she was a working student and continued to take lessons under a dedicated instructor. After college, she obtained her first horse and competed in NIHJA horse shows through 1999. Megan continued to ride though; after the birth of her first child and also after the birth of her second child. Although her riding time is slightly restricted, horses are her zen place. She started as a volunteer with the ILEHC in January of 2013 and accepted an ILEHC Board position a year later. She loves the hands on work with the horses and this is her way to give back to the horses that she worked with in earlier years. She adopted an ILEHC horse, Do Not Pass.
Sarah Mowat was born in England and began riding Shetland ponies as soon as she could waddle, from then on horses became her passion and purpose. As a youngster she worked in stables in exchange for a pony to enjoy Pony Club activities with, working her way up through the British Horse Society exams. Her first paid job was caring for horses and fondly recalls squeezing in school assignments in the tackroom between training sessions. As an adult, barn time eased off in place of work, re-locating to the US, and starting a family, but she would always seek out horses and continued riding at every opportunity. Sarah discovered ILEHC at a Christmas event in December of 2017 and was inspired by the mission, people and horses to get more involved, accepting an ILEHC board position in June of 2019.
Jessica Otto has been a volunteer at ILEHC since 2010 and her equine experience has grown immensely because of it. She feels that volunteering is a very rewarding experience and cannot wait to see what the future holds for the Illinois Equine Humane Center.