Chapter Leadership

Chapter Leadership

Meet Your Chapter Leaders and Contact Them to Learn More about Canine Companions Service dog holds iPhone in mouth for person in wheelchair

President - CJ Smith
CJ and his wife Vickie have been puppy raisers since 2010 and are currently raising their 6th puppy, Mesa. CJ has led DogFest committees, created videos and banners and has appeared on radio and TV programs to promote Canine Companions. He is an active ambassador, often sharing the Canine Companions mission with the members of various civic, fraternal and veterans groups and college students. A military veteran, CJ looks forward to the day he will "pass the leash" to a fellow veteran. Because of his community involvement, and his heart for advocating for persons with disabilities, CJ was recognized as a 2017 Jefferson Awards Foundation Champions winner and was honored to represent his employer, and Canine Companions, with his wife at the annual awards ceremony in Washington, DC.

Vice-President - Heather Adams
Heather was first introduced to Canine Companions through the puppy raising program at the Gadsden Correctional Facility in Quincy, FL. As Heather worked with the puppy raisers there for eight years, her love for the mission grew. Upon moving back to Jacksonville she contacted Canine Companions to find out how she could become involved with the local chapter and she started volunteering with DogFest in 2014 and chaired the 2017 event. Heather adopted a retired racing greyhound, Grace, who loves our mission too.

Treasurer - Karen Farah
Karen is a very active local volunteer and gives of her time to many Jacksonville charities. She started volunteering with DogFest in 2013 and is "sold" on the mission of Canine Companions after attending national volunteer leadership conferences. She was instrumental in the formation of the First Coast Chapter and is a great example of someone who gives back without being a puppy raiser. She and her husband, Mike, are the proud parents of Snoopy III, who was a dog released from the Canine Companions program, but is still an excellent Canine Companions ambassador.

Secretary - Julie Engelien
Julie's involvement with Canine Companions began in 2009 when she discovered her veterinarian was a volunteer puppy raiser. She quickly realized that this organization was the perfect fit for meaningful volunteer work for Julie and her family. She is proud to have raised four puppies for Canine Companions and has been successful in recruiting new puppy raisers in the area. She has volunteered with DogFest and is proud to be part of the amazing volunteer community of this life changing organization.

Please send an email to the local chapter leaders by clicking here.

They will be happy to talk to you about how you can get involved.