Our Team

Meet the Sarge's Team

Nancy Bulluck

Social Media & Medical

With great sadness, we announce the passing of our Founder, Nancy Bulluck. Sarge’s wouldn’t exist without Nancy’s vision and drive, and we are blessed to have her guidance over the last 16 years. Nancy was preparing her Christmas Cards and was going to include these words with them. We’re thankful to be able to share her message with you. Thank you, Nancy, for all you’ve done. Nancy Bulluck 5/8/49 – 12/15/21 —– Dear Friends and Family, I wish I had profound words of wisdom to share with you, but the best I can do is to remind you of what you already know. Live every day as if it is your last, because it may well be. Take care of yourself, but enjoy life as well – eat good food, drink good beer, laugh a lot. Hang out with younger people – the energy they share with you will slow your own aging process, and they benefit from your wisdom and experience – a win-win! Find a purpose – something you are passionate about, and throw your whole heart, mind and soul into it. All the good you put out into the world will return to you multiplied many times over. Live life without regrets – if you make a mistake, learn from it and move on. If someone makes a mistake and hurts you, learn from it and move on. If you have a success, learn from it and move on. Keep your life light – no need to collect baggage that you have to carry through life, because you’ll need that energy for more useful endeavors. Remember we are just walking each other home. When it is time to part ways, say farewell with grace and gratitude, and let go. The universe will support you. There’s no need to struggle and resist. Just relax and let it carry you to where you need to go. -Nancy.

Erica Phillips

Adoption Center Manager

Erica has been with Sarge’s since 2013. She has always enjoyed being a part of the rescue effort in Haywood County. She saw the need, first hand, over the 9 years she was a veterinary technician for more community involvement and is thrilled to be part of Sarge’s mission. Erica was also the rescuer of Wuzbug, a two legged Chihuahua, who inspired the Sarge’s Special Needs Fund in her name. Erica’s fur babies include 4 cats, Scoots, Lloyd, Widget, and Rosie, also 3 dogs: Oscar, Zoe & Dumplin’.

Nikola Rubley

Kennel Manager

Nikola has been with Sarge’s for over two years and enjoys keeping the adoption center looking it’s best as well as spending time with the resident rescues. Nikola adopted her first dog from Sarge’s in 2010; a dog named Roadie who ended up changing her life. Since adopting Roadie Nikola has changed her career to become a Veterinary Technician and has become involved in several dog sports with her second dog, peanuT. She also loves to travel, learn new things, and always keeps an eye out for wayward animals who need a little extra help.

Phyllis Lunsik

Office Assistant

Phyllis retired to Waynesville with her husband and two dogs in 2007. She says she can’t remember a time in her life that she didn’t have a pet of some kind (fish, gerbils, rabbits, cats, dogs, parakeets and even a green anole). When her last fur baby crossed the Rainbow Bridge, she began to volunteer at Sarge’s. She couldn’t imagine not having a pet to love. She has been here since helping in the office and fostering cats and dogs. She is now one of Sarge’s happy employees. Phyllis loves what she does, entering our incoming dogs and cats into the data base, answering phones, maintaining volunteer hours, and helping with adoptions. Two years ago she and her husband adopted Izzy the YorkshireTerrier. She calls Sarge’s her “Happy Place”.

Fred Strohm

Operations Administrator

Fred moves to WNC from Terre Haute, Indiana, where he was the Operations Manager at the Terre Haute Humane Society. He and his wife have three dogs, Heidi, Morgan and Lala; and three cats, Mokey, Luna and Aladdin. He considers Aladdin his “child,” since he raised him from the bottle-feeding stage. The bond between Strohm and his cat Aladdin is so strong, Aladdin often rides around on Strohm’s shoulder. His previous career path dealt with Information Technology, Business Incubators and Video Game Centers. “Taking care of the animals, in their best interests, is my number one priority,” Strohm said. “My focus will be on how we can better serve the animals in Western North Carolina.” fred.strohm@sarges.org

Carisa Ledoux

Kennel Staff


Official Mascot

Sunshine came to Sarge’s in November of 2016, by way of the Haywood County Animal Services’ rescue of 140 dogs from a hoarding case. She was hugely pregnant, and gave birth to her litter within a day or two of arrival at their temporary shelter. She raised her litter, they were all happy healthy puppies who were adopted as soon as they were old enough. We then discovered that Sunshine is diabetic and has a condition called exocrine pancreatic insufficiency or EPI, so she requires daily insulin injections and a strict diet with a supplement to replace her pancreatic enzymes. In short, she was a difficult fit for most adopters to take on. We also discovered that she is a terrific nanny, so when we have singleton puppies we put them with her for cuddling and warmth, and she takes great care of them. She is a playful participant in our playgroups with other dogs, and is quite comfortable with her routine at Sarge’s Adoption Center. So we decided to make it official and give her an honored position on our team. Welcome aboard, Sunshine! Get your Sunshine shirt here!

Jeff McDonald

Adoption Manager

Jeff is originally from New Haven, CT but has called Western North Carolina home since the summer of 2014. We lives Waynesville with his 4 year old son, raising him as a single father since just after his first birthday.  He came to Sarge’s in July of 2019 with a love for animals and has always been an advocate for the underdog. He worked many years in the corporate management world but decided there wasn’t a much better time to pursue something that he would actually enjoy. Jeff is grateful to have had the opportunity to meet the wonderful humans and animals of the community!

Emily Johnson

Kennel Staff

Amanda Emery

Volunteer/Foster Coordinator

Amanda is originally from Western North Carolina and calls Waynesville her home. She has worked in the criminal justice, legal and social work fields for over 8 years and loves making a difference in the world. Amanda came to Sarge’s in May 2021, to focus on making a positive impact on animals’ lives that live in Haywood County. Amanda is in graduate school for her masters in social work at Western Carolina University. In her free time she enjoys aerial arts, reading, spending time with her friends and family and of course cuddling her four fur-babies. Amanda has four cats named Katie, Isabelle, Possum and Pickles. Amanda is the definition of a cool crazy cat lady. amanda.emery@sarges.org

Meet the Sarge's Board

Jim Ray

Vice President

Born and raised in Haywood County, I love both the mountains and the pace of life here. I am retired from my business developed to manufacture and distribute tactical knives and rescue tools. My connection to animal rescue began with Sarges in 2008, and much of my focus has been on transport operations, facility upgrades, and fostering. My wife, Katie, and I have had the pleasure of fostering scores of great dogs, most of them coonhounds (to see many of them, go to Katie’s Youtube channel 4dogsandafoster). We also have a Maremma Sheepdog, two Redbone mixes, a Plott Hound, and a Black and Tan Coonhound of our own. The progress Sarge’s (and the entire Haywood County rescue community) has made since the early years has been amazing. Our Board, our staff, and our volunteers are deeply appreciative of the support our friends and neighbors continue to provide.

John Rice

Board Member

Kaleb Wingate


Mark Avrunin

Board Member

Pamela Wilcox Smith

Board Member

Pam is one of our newest members and is excited to join the growing number of Sarge’s supporters. Growing up in Waynesville as a daughter of a Dayco Engineer, she rode motorcycles with her Golden Retriever Duke running by her side. She graduated from Tuscola and then High Point University. Her desire to be a prosecutor took her to law school in Michigan, and that dream came true when she prosecuted for the State of NC for eight years after law school. She married a Highway Patrolman she met in the courtroom and brought him back home with her. After their wedding he surprised her with a Golden Retriever puppy, Jake. She left the DA’s office after they had her first child and entered private practice. Her practice consisted mostly of family and criminal law. She left the stress of a solo practice and is now the director of the Paralegal Program at Southwestern Community College and teaches all the law courses. She lives in Waynesville with her husband who is now a retired Sergeant of the Highway Patrol, their 14-year-old son [who plays Tuscola soccer], their 12-year-old daughter [who wants to be a Veterinarian], a Boxer [Tank], a Golden Retriever puppy [Chief, another surprise from her husband] and a cat named Trooper.

Ron Kroot

Board Member

I have been fortunate enough to live in western North Carolina since 1996. Married 52 years and have two boys and four grandchildren. I’ve been in varied businesses during my working years. I enjoy my affiliation with Sarge’s and I have met a variety of interesting people and find that people that have a compassion for animals usually make very good friends. We consider our animals our furry children, and the mountains our forever home.

Steve Hewitt


Steve was first elected to Sarge’s Board of Directors in 2008. By then Steve and his wife, Connie, had officially moved from Indianapolis to their Haywood County vacation home. This was a big change from their home in downtown Indianapolis where Steve had worked for 25 years with Eli Lilly. Back then the Haywood County Animal shelter took in just over 4,000 animals. Sarge’s evolving mission to end the euthanasia of adoptable, healthy dogs and cats at the Shelter seemed more like Mission Impossible. But some things are possible given a lot of hard work and the cooperation of local animal welfare groups with the County Shelter. In 2017 the Shelter intake had been reduced by more than half and over 90% of the animals were finding homes. Steve is still on the Sarge Board as Treasurer and still finding homes for cats and dogs. The Hewitt’s, doing their part to keep the momentum going, have 4 cats and one recently adopted, 10 year old hound – Thom.

Windy McKinney

Board Member

Windy was raised in Haywood County, and has wandered back home after years spent studying abroad. She is an avid animal advocate. She has always had animals in her life, and if its up to her, she always will! She has volunteered and fostered with animal rescues in Waynesville, Asheville and Wilmington, as well as with the RSPCA in the UK, and happily brings this passion for animal welfare with her to work every day. She hikes and runs regularly with her two dogs, Pearl and Bandit. Arthur, the family cat, often joins them for strolls through their Waynesville neighborhood. When not hiking, working, or spending time with her family, Windy is a cultural historian who does research and writes from home, with the family cat for company.

Join Us!

Interested in joining our team or board? Contact us today!