Meet the Executive Board

Gerald Paulsen    Founder & Executive Director/President  Biography

Gerald Paulsen

Founder & Executive Director/President

Jerry is a former U.S. Army NCO and proud veteran. During his military career he served in many positions as did most military personnel. He especially enjoyed his time serving in the infantry and with Special Forces.

He has been an entrepreneur and business owner for over 20 years and currently has 3 businesses - two of them internationally. With global headquarters in Illinois his other offices are in Guam, China and South America. He is an internationally recognized Subject Matter Expert in interpersonal communications, delivering keynotes and workshops around the world and is a published author. Jerry is a nationally recognized small business consultant and veteran small business mentor and a recipient of the United States Small Business Administration Veterans Business Champion of the Year.

Jerry is President/CEO of Paulsen Productions, Inc., President of Guam Business Discovery and the Founder & President of Operation Horses and Heroes, Inc. Additionally, he co-hosts a TV show in Chicago that was created especially for veterans. Jerry is also one of the Ambassadors of Good Will for Guam.

Through his vision of Operation Horses and Heroes he plans on continuing to give back to his fellow brothers and sisters and their families who are serving and have served our great country.

Susan Parker    Co-Founder & Vice President   Biography

Susan Parker

Co-Founder & Vice President

Susan Parker is a dynamic, collaborative community leader with extensive experience as a healthcare operations executive, both in the for-profit and non-profit worlds. Her behavioral healthcare career spanned two decades and led her to progressively more responsible positions in executive leadership across the country. More recently she has tapped into her entrepreneurial talents, owning a retail home furnishings store, a public safety company, Artemis Protection, as now her latest endeavor in northeast Ohio, Artemis Property Ventures LLC.

She has always maintained a high commitment to advocacy and community involvement and has sat on and chaired numerous local, county and regional boards. Susan is a decorated USAF NCO and credits her early military training and experience with setting her life on course. She currently lives in Chardon, OH with her husband, also a veteran and a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and her menagerie of horses, dogs and cats.

She is excited to serve our veteran community through Operation Horses and Heroes, and hopes to share the love and healing power of horses with deserving veterans and their families.

Keith French    Co-Founder & Treasurer   Biography

Keith French

Co-Founder & Treasurer

Born and raised in Chicago, IL, Keith is the first born of two children, married to his wife Donna for 32 years, father of five and grandfather of one.

Keith received his BS degree in Aviation Sciences in 1982 from Parks College of Engineering, Aviation, and Technology, he was a Marine Corps Officer upon graduation up until 1990. He is a former corporate executive with backgrounds in logistics, warehousing, and procurement. In 2002 Keith left the safety of Corporate America and became the sole owner of a retail camera store and photography studio, turning is hobby into his livelihood. Currently a full time professional photographer in the Chicago area specializing in marketing and advertising photography for clients like Hilton Hotels, Hampton Inn and Suites on the large scale, and numerous small businesses, custom builders, manufactures and restaurants in the area.

Keith enjoys teaching as well. He was an instructor in the military and hosted many camera classes and photography workshops over the years. Being able to shift gears towards helping military veterans and their families is an exciting prospect and he’s looking forward to the successes of Horses and Heroes.

Cynthia Abraham    Secretary & Board Member   Biography

Cynthia Abraham

Secretary & Board Member

Cynthia has dedicated 28 years to her passion for animals as a companion and exotics veterinarian. She currently works at the Eau Claire Animal Hospital in Eau Claire, WI, where she incorporates her belief in the human animal bond and the power that exists in that connection.

Cynthia has done local television and magazine interviews on seasonal topics and animal health concerns to the public. She routinely volunteers her veterinary services to the local humane society as well as the Animal Cruelty Society in Chicago and the Hooved Animal Humane Society in Woodstock, IL.

Cynthia is a Major in the US Army Reserves, a veteran and the commander of the 719th Medical Detachment Veterinary Services in Ft. Sheridan, IL. She is married to Steve Abraham, who spent 31 years in the Navy and is also a veteran. They live in Elk Mound, WI with a multitude of animals.

Cynthia is ready to serve her fellow veterans and their families by dedicating her time, talents and treasure to the men and women who are already working to grow the magic of Operation Horses and Heroes.