Leadership & Volunteers

BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS

Dan McCabe (Director)

Dan McCabe (Director)

President

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Dan McCabe is the rescue President and is a rescue jack of all trades master of a few. He is dedicated to moving the organization forward along with the scores of other dedicated dog loving volunteers with the goal of saving as many homeless dogs as possible. In his other full time job Dan is an Insurance Compliance Director. Dan makes his home with Ellen 2 dogs and an occasional guest on its way to their forever home.

Ellen McCabe (Director)

Ellen McCabe (Director)

Intake Leader

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Ellen McCabe is the Intake Coordinator of Dog Star Rescue. Ellen is a 5th grade teacher and lives in Avon, CT with her husband Dan, dogs Duke and Redd and many times a foster dog. She and her husband helped start DSR after being involved in rescue work for several years. She has a lot of fun working along side great volunteers and feels the best part of rescue is seeing a dog meet their forever family for the first time.

Wendy Dobrindt (Director)

Wendy Dobrindt (Director)

Fundraising Leader

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Wendy Dobrindt is the Fundraising Leader for DSR. She started her work with DSR in March, 2016 and volunteers at most events. She works as a Finance Director in the Insurance Industry. She has two very spoiled cocker spaniels, Maddie and Roddy; who was intended to be a short term foster, but decided he never wanted to leave her home and became a forever family member on 12/29/16.

Ali Wasley (Director)

Ali Wasley (Director)

Treasurer and Vice President

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Ali Wasley is the Dog Star Rescue Treasurer and Vice President, overseeing the finance department. She’s also very active in fostering (closing in on #100!) and leads Dog Star’s Strategic Planning Committee. Ali volunteers at most events and enjoys getting to know each DSR pup. Ali lives in West Hartford with her three dogs and is a CPA and Accounting Manager in her professional life.  She has been a passionate Dog Star member since May of 2016.

Karen Potterton (Director)

Karen Potterton (Director)

Foster Leader

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Karen is our Foster Coordinator who also volunteers at almost all DSR Events and works with our Behavior/Training Team. She started volunteering with DSR in 2014 when she retired after spending almost 40 years in the Insurance Industry in various Management and Consulting roles. Karen currently has 3 rescue dogs and 1 rescue cat that are a part of her family. Karen’s greatest dream is to find a home for all the dogs we take in!

Hudson Atkinson(Director)

Hudson Atkinson (Director)

IT Leader

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Hudson Atkinson is Dog Star Rescue’s IT Coordinator. He oversees IT operations and is passionate about implementing technology into rescue organizations. He has been supporting DSR since early 2016 and later became a volunteer in May 2018. He volunteers at most events and enjoys handling dogs as they seek their future families. Outside of Dog Star, Hudson works in Technology Delivery for UnitedHealth Group. Hudson currently has one dog, DSR alum Bruno.

Robert Swartz(Director)

Robert Swartz (Director)

Transport Leader & Leader of the Dog Star for Veterans Program

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Robert oversees Dog Star Rescue’s Transport logistics along with facilitating the new Dog Star for Veterans Program. Robert joined DSR in 2017, welcoming dogs to CT after their long road trip north, and accompanying them to adoption events. Robert is the Director of Operations for a Digital Government Technology company, and lives in Burlington with his two dogs Tucker and Bodhi. The latter of which is a Dog Star Rescue pup, who reminds him daily the importance of rescuing.

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Hayley Haspeslagh (Director)

Screening Leader

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Hayley started volunteering in August 2015 with her husband, Kyle. They began their rescue journey as fosters and Hayley found her passion shortly after by joining the screening team. During the day, Hayley works in Product Marketing and Management for a global technology company. When she’s not answering emails or participating in events, she enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 Dog Star Alum – Sam, Maverick (fka Bouncer), and Tremont. You might find them on hiking trails off the beaten path around Connecticut!

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Colleen Atkinson (Director)

Event Leader

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Colleen started volunteering for Dog Star Rescue in May 2018. She has helped out in many areas of the rescue including dog handling at events, fundraising, screening and fostering. When not helping dogs find their furever homes, Colleen works at UConn as a Health Educator. She also has two Dog Star alums she calls hers, Bruno (DS light) and Tommy (DS Curmit) aka Mr.3000.

COORDINATORS

Margaret

Margret Frenette

Transport Coordinator

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Margret became a Dog Star volunteer in 2015 when she moved to Avon.  She started by dog walking and handling dogs at events.  She is now a Transport Team Coordinator, welcoming new Dog Stars as they arrive.  Margret grew up and raised a family here in Connecticut.  After a 30-year career in the insurance industry, she now enjoys helping people as a Realtor.  She has rescued and fostered many dogs over the years including her German Shepherd, Blake, who she trained as a Therapy Dog.  Together, Margret and Blake visited the kids at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center until Blake retired due to arthritis.  When she’s not volunteering with Dog Star, Margret spends her summers in the garden, and knitting and quilting during the winter.  She walks all year long, in all kinds of weather.  For the fourth consecutive year she has a goal to walk the number of miles in the year – 2,020 miles in 2020!

James Mackey

James Mackey

Behavior Coordinator

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James began rescuing dogs in 2000 from overcrowded Southern California public shelters. After moving to CT, he joined DSR as a volunteer in 2017.  Prior to becoming the Behavior Team Coordinator, James has been an adopter, foster, adoption screener, and Kennel Coordinator. He is now retired and happily living in Avon with his four wonderful dogs.

Sue Zeppa

Sue Zeppa

Medical Coordinator

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Sue started volunteering with Dog Star Rescue in 2015 as a foster. Amazingly, Sue has now fostered over 90th dogs and counting!. Prior to her role as the Medical Coordinator, Sue has been on the marketing team, screening team, and foster team. Sue is a registered nurse at St Francis Hospital and her hobbies include horseback riding, running, and golf.

Michelle Brown

Michelle Brown

Marketing Coordinator

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Michelle began volunteering for Dog Star Rescue in 2019 and helps coordinate marketing and advertising efforts, including managing our social media presence. She can also be found at adoption events as a dog handler and helping out where needed. When not playing with dogs or talking about dogs, Michelle heads up marketing and sales for a digital agency. Michelle lives in West Hartford with her husband, two kids and two very spoiled rescue dogs, Lucy and Izzy. She is also often seen cheering on her kids at swim meets and supporting Villanova Wildcats swimming where her son competes.

Jennifer Potter

Jennifer Potter

Screening Coordinator

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Jennifer started volunteering with Dog Star Rescue in January 2019 during her search to add a second dog to her home. After weeks of searching online and attending adoption events throughout the state, Jennifer came across Dog Star Rescue. She was impressed with their mission and commitment to finding the right home for their dogs, so made the decision to sign up to volunteer. Jennifer’s  first volunteer assignments were to help with transport and handling of dogs at events. Since then, she’s volunteered to help any way possible, including events, assisting with weekly vetting and screening potential homes for dogs. She currently volunteers as a Pre-approval Coordinator to help ensure pre-approved applicants have the best opportunity to be matched with the right dog for their family. Jennifer and her husband live with two dogs, Odie and Penny (former Dog Star Ada). They enjoy spending time outdoors, including hiking and camping.

Katje Pearson

Katje Pearson

Screening Coordinator

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Katje adopted her Loki from Dog Star on 6/7/14. She would bring her by DSR adoption events to visit and realized that she wanted to volunteer as well. Katje has volunteered as a handler, foster, transporter, screener, as well as during our Bark and Brew events. Katje has fostered nearly 90 dogs with DSR! She lives in Avon with my her Dog Star alums, Loki Loo, Baloo, and Parker. When she’s not volunteering, she teaches kindergarten.

Cheri Cote

Cheri Cote

Volunteer Coordinator and Event Coordinator

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Cheri started volunteering with Dog Star Rescue in September of 2016.  She is currently the Volunteer Coordinator and Event Coordinator. In addition to Coordinating, I have been a screener, foster, dog handler, transporter, as well as helping out with social media. When not volunteering with Dog Star, Cheri works full time for the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch. She also volunteers with the American Cancer Society. Her hobbies include dogs, playing competitive and recreational volleyball, hiking and watching football! In March of 2019 she adopted Dog Star Domino.

Zoe Arnold

Zoe Arnold

Event Coordinator and Accounting Coordinator

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Zoe started volunteering with DSR in March 2019. She is now an Event Coordinator, and more recently, Assistant Treasurer. Zoe started volunteering at a rough time in her life, and a friend suggested trying to volunteer for something she believe in, for a cause that is close to her heart – of course she thought of dog rescue! She began volunteering as a dog transporter and handler, and quickly fell in love with volunteering for DSR! Not only did she find an indescribable passion for dog rescue, but also found out that in rescuing dogs, they rescue her in a very real way too. Zoe has three beautiful pups of her own, adding her first rescue pup to her pack in 2019. Her dogs are her whole life, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Ashlee Trelli

Ashlee Trelli

Event Coordinator

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Ashlee started volunteering for Dog Star Rescue in early 2020 and has played many roles. She has helped make a video for the rescue, supported our telethon, supported the events team, fundraising team and supported social media efforts as well. Ashlee has a 4 year old rescue Jack Russell terrier, Brynlee, and in her free time loves being in the kitchen and baking. She loves being crafty and spending time with friends and family.

Patricia Lauzier

Patti Lauzier

Intake Coordinator

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Patti started volunteering with Dog Star Rescue in August 2016. She started off with dog handling at events. After learning more about the rescue and the other opportunities that were available, she got involved with fostering, transport, social media pictures, and bio writing. When not volunteering with Dog Star, she enjoys spending free time with her husband and their rescue dogs – a 7 year old Rottweiler mix named Ruckus and 1.5 year old Maltese/poodle mix named Moxie. Her other hobbies include hand painting wine glasses, reading, going to wineries and going out to dinner.

rachel poutre

Rachel Poutre

Headquarters Kennel Coordinator

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Rachel started volunteering with Dog Star Rescue in the beginning of 2020 after realizing she wanted to help dogs in any way she could.  She currently is the Headquarters Kennel coordinator and also is a screener on the screening team.  Rachel started off  handling dogs at Events and helping dogs off transport. When not doing things at Dog Star Rachel works as a Program Director for a youth group home.  She lives with her two huskies, and her fiancé who also volunteers with DSR.

2020 SHARON EMBORSKY

Sharon Emborsky

Foster Coordinator

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Sharon first got involved with DSR when she attended a Christmas Event-Santa Pictures in 2018.  She started fostering dogs in May 2019 and became a Foster Coordinator in March 2020. She lives in Bloomfield with her husband Rick (who is also a DSR Volunteer) and her 2 dogs, Thor and DSR alum Tess! When not working they also volunteer at various events and help with various projects at DSR Headquarters.

Susan Casagrande

Susan Casagrande

Foster Coordinator

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Susan is a Foster Coordinator with Dog Star Rescue.  She joined Dog Star as a volunteer in April 2014 after fostering for a few other rescue groups.  She enjoys working any role at adoption events where dogs have their best chance at a forever home.  Susan volunteers at most adoption events and any other event where she is needed.  Susan’s family (Angelo – husband, Katy – Step Daughter, and Megan – Step Daughter) are also DSR volunteers resulting in a family gathering at many events.  The Casagrandes have 5 rescue dogs of their own, including Grace (the blonde) and Riley (Great Dane), who are Dog Star alumni. The family often has a foster around too. Outside of Dog Star, Susan works for The Hartford in the latent bodily injury claim group.

alyssa

Alyssa Kurth

Foster Coordinator

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Alyssa started volunteering with DSR in 2018, volunteering at events and fostering dogs.  She became a Foster Coordinator in May 2020.  Alyssa is a Sign Language interpreter, single mom to 8 year old son, and has 2 dogs (yellow lab named Rubble and 2 year old DSR alum Plott Hound named Chance).  She will be helping DSR expand our ability to work with people who are Hearing Impaired.  She has been a dog lover my whole life and started saving rescue dogs when she was in her 20’s.

Christina Kursawe

Christina Kursawe

Foster Coordinator

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Christina started volunteering with DSR in February 2019. She began by fostering dogs and then joined the foster coordinating team. Along with her 3 dogs (2 of which are foster failures), she has 1 cat, 2 geckos, some fish, and 7 chickens. Her husband and two sons help out with fostering and love all the dogs they’ve met along the way. When not volunteering with DSR, she volunteers either with Scouts as advancement chair, or at Donate Life CT. When not volunteering you will find he reading a book or stocking her Little Free Library with books I just finished.

Jamie Petriashvili

Jamie Petriashvili

Foster Coordinator

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Jamie first heard about Dog Star Rescue when they held a Corporate Event at CIGNA.  She started fostering and attending adoption events for Dog Star in July 2019 and became a Foster Coordinator in April 2020.  When not volunteering or working with Dog Star, she works as a program manager for Tapfin in the Insurance industry.  Jamie lives with her husband David, rescue dog Tyson, and many times a foster dog.  The entire family can be seen watching the Premier League Champs: Liverpool on the weekends.

kyrs

Krzysztof Matusik

Foster Coordinator

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Krzysztof started volunteering with DSR in July 2019 at various events, transporting dogs both from the South and those that are in Kennels in CT.  In November of 2019 he started to foster dogs on the weekends.  He joined the Foster Leadership Team in March 2020 as the Foster Operations Coordinator.  As part of my Coordinator Role, in addition to working with the Foster Team making sure they have all the supplies that they need, he gets to work with our Event, Transport and Medical Teams. He also recently joined the DSR Alumni team when he adopted his first DSR dog. In his spare time he enjoys working on various projects at DSR Headquarters. Dexter (his 6 year old dog) really enjoys it when they go to DSR HQ too.

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Jan Beatty

Grants Coordinator

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Jan joined Dog Star Rescue in November 2015, and lives in Simsbury with dogs Jessie and DSR alum Raja, as well as two cats and one husband (Michael Park, fellow DSR volunteer). After college and a degree in English/journalism (UConn), Jan worked for 30+ years in college textbook publishing, finding authors nationwide to write textbooks in anthropology, archaeology, art, theatre, and music. Most recently, Jan worked as the Grants Manager at the Wadsworth Atheneum and now volunteers as a docent there. Volunteering with non-human animals has always been important to her. When she lived in San Francisco, she volunteered with the Marine Mammal Center; she knows how to rescue stranded marine mammals and can draw blood from an elephant seal!

terri

Terri Buganski

Event Coordinator

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After teaching for 41 years, Terri wanted to pursue her love of dogs. She heard about Dog Star from a former volunteer and joined in 2016 as a handler at events. Since then she joined the event team and volunteers at most events at main table. Terri also serves on the fundraising and advertising teams
and fosters as well. She adopted Kelly in 2017 after her meet and greet did not work out. Terri’s dream is to buy a huge piece of land and have a dog sanctuary.

ADVISORY BOARD

kara-fenn

Kara Fenn

Advisory Board Member

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Kara’s life-long passion for animal advocacy began with her childhood rescue, a Golden Retriever named Rusty. Committed to her community and her planet, Kara aspires to make the world just a little kinder. In her professional life, she is the Vice President of Development & Marketing for Leadership Greater Hartford, specializing in strategic communications, marketing, and philanthropy for non-profits. When she isn’t working, you can find her outside enjoying and protecting the great outdoors. Currently, Kara  serves on the Board of the Connecticut Chapter of Conscious Capitalism and on the Bridge Center for Children and Families’ Annual Gala Committee.

Margaret

Margret Frenette

Advisory Board Member

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Margret became a Dog Star volunteer in 2015 when she moved to Avon.  She started by dog walking and handling dogs at events.  She is now a Transport Team Coordinator, welcoming new Dog Stars as they arrive.  Margret grew up and raised a family here in Connecticut.  After a 30-year career in the insurance industry, she now enjoys helping people as a Realtor.  She has rescued and fostered many dogs over the years including her German Shepherd, Blake, who she trained as a Therapy Dog.  Together, Margret and Blake visited the kids at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center until Blake retired due to arthritis.  When she’s not volunteering with Dog Star, Margret spends her summers in the garden, and knitting and quilting during the winter.  She walks all year long, in all kinds of weather.  For the fourth consecutive year she has a goal to walk the number of miles in the year – 2,020 miles in 2020!

matt

Matt Ominsky

Advisory Board Member

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Matt is a Director of Data Engineering at CVS Health where he spends his time analyzing healthcare data and building custom solutions to help connect customers with their data.  Originally from Amherst Massachusetts, Matt attended college at the University of Hartford and after graduating decided to stay in the Hartford area, ultimately settling down in Middletown with his wife and 2 dogs Max & Bailey.  Matt is an active member with the Society of Information Management after graduating from their prestigious RLF program in 2019.  He enjoys volunteering at his alma mater teaching interview and resume writing skills to students.  In his spare time, Matt loves riding his motorcycle throughout the state, visiting as many local restaurants as possible, reading, fishing, and of course, playing fetch in the back yard.

erum

Erum Randhawa

Advisory Board Member

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Erum joined Dog Star Rescue as a foster mom in 2018.  Prior to her involvement with Dog Star, Erum served two terms as a Board Member for Interval House, assisting in the Finance Committee and Board Development Committee. She is a proud mom of her eight-pound yorkie, Cosmo and her toddler, Logan. Professionally, Erum was a partner at BlumShapiro where she led the Forensic Accounting team, and will be starting a new role this spring leading a team of accountants at a Hartford insurance company. She and her husband currently reside in South Windsor and enjoy good food over good conversations.

laura

Laura Santirocco

Advisory Board Member

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Laura has been a Dog Star volunteer since 2018 and, since 2019, its corporate secretary; she also volunteers at various events. A Hartford-area resident for over 30 years and longtime dog lover/owner, she started volunteering after losing her last cocker, Edward, and moving to an apartment where she was not allowed a dog. She is a corporate and mergers-and-acquisitions lawyer in The Hartford’s law department, where she has worked since 2008. When she’s not working or volunteering, she pursues a variety of interests including history, travel, bicycling, pilates, and outdoor activities. She currently lives in West Hartford, where—in her proudest accomplishment as an adult—she learned to swim.

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Mike Smith

Advisory Board Member

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Mike is a recent addition to the Dog Star team having joined in late 2019 to assist with the strategic planning efforts. This after having been a regular attendee at so many Dog Star events over the years with wife Marty, also a volunteer.  A Durham resident for the past 31 years, Mike recently retired from Hewlett-Packard after a 34 year career as a Director of Global Operations. An avid dog lover with 2 Chin-Pugs and an incredible rescue named Zoey, he has been very much looking forward post-career to providing as much assistance as possible to Dog Star. Outside of volunteering, Mike is an avid fisherman, Ironman/Triathlete, golfer, traveler and conservationist, and truly enjoys spending as much time as possible with his three adult children.

bill

Bill Teich

Advisory Board Member

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Bill is Vice President of The Hartford’s Reinsurance Center of Excellence.  He joined the company in 1986, holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Bill is the board chair of the Association of Insurance Reinsurance Runoff Companies, and previously was chair of his local Cub Scout Pack in Southwick, Massachusetts. He lives in Southwick, Massachusetts with his wife Elizabeth, and has two grown sons, Adam and Dustin, who have recently graduated from Law and Pharmacy school. The Teichs are long term supporters of rescue animals, most recently adopting an abandoned Golden Retriever.

Jim Walter (Director)

Jim Walter

Advisory Board Chair

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A Dog Star volunteer since 2014, Jim was a member of the Board of Directors and served as the organization’s Volunteer Leader, both for 5 years.  He retired in 2012 from the University of Connecticut as Associate Vice President of Communications.  He previously was a board member of the Charter Oak Chapter of the American Red Cross and was a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician with the Cranbury (NJ) First Aid Squad, serving as President for two years.  He and his wife Cathy (also a Dog Star volunteer) have an adult daughter and son, three absolutely perfect grandchildren, and are long-time owners of rescue dogs.

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Scott Wetstone, MD

Advisory Board Member

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Scott is an associate professor of Population Health Sciences in the UConn School of Medicine where he teaches Evidence-Based Decision Making to medical, dental, graduate and undergraduate students. Throughout his UConn career, he has had many other duties ranging from directing academic computing to serving as the administrative liaison to the UConn Health Board of Directors.  He has been a funded researcher in educational computing and served as the institution’s Freedom of Information officer and director of the Faculty Consulting Office.  He is also on the Board of the Connecticut Science Olympics. Scott enjoys gardening, learning how to do FYI home repair and equipment  maintenance, and is a die hard UConn women’s basketball fan.  He resides in Farmington with his spouse, Gloria Shusdock, a UConn Master Gardener.  They have two adult sons and are the proud owners of Marlee, who they gratefully adopted from Dog Star. Scott is also an experienced balloon clown, performing at many events during his sons’ elementary school years.

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