Our Team

Elena_s Bio_About Page
Elena Welte Executive Director

Elena has lived in Madera since 2002. Starting her career with the State of California, she has over 16 years of office experience. An avid animal lover all her life, Elena began with FMAS as a foster in 2019 where her love of animals and passion for rescue flourished. When the opportunity arose, she couldn’t wait to work with the amazing staff, volunteers and fosters at FMAS where she could continue her passion of helping animals in need.

Diana_ Bio_About Page
Diana Frazier Cat Foster/Adoption Coordinator

Diana moved to Madera in 2006, with her, she brought a tremendous passion for animal rescue that started early in her childhood. She has been a long time volunteer and brings her 10+ years of experience within the shelter environment in addition to many years in rescuing animals to head our cat foster/adoption program. Her passion for animals shines in everything she does and she has saved countless lives of animals in Madera.

Chelsie_s Bio_About Page
Chelsie Burkhalter Rescue Assistant

Born and raised in Madera, Chelsie has worked with and around shelter animals her entire life. She began as a volunteer with FMAS in 2019 while she was still in high school and became a permanent staff member with FMAS in 2021. Chelsie is passionate about working with animals and changing their lives for the better. She hopes to become a veterinarian but until then she is FMAS’ jack of all trades. From caring for cats, to fostering, to working our vaccine clinic. Chelsie is a woman of many skills.

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Becky Koop Administrative Assistant

Becky, a long time foster and volunteer for us, officially joined the FMAS team in 2021. An avid animal lover from birth, she enjoys contributing to the FMAS mission of saving lives. Becky is a co-owner of a local HVAC company, Jefferson Mechanical Services, and a mother to two grown daughters, Rachel and Emily. She coordinates their monthly FMAS low cost vaccine clinic, assist in our dog and cat adoption programs and fills in as needed. The rescue world provides a variety of opportunities and she enjoys the chance to help.

Kirsten Bio Pic_About Page
Kirsten ParksionBoard Secretary

Kirsten has been volunteering for 16 years with FMAS. Starting out with fostering and adoption events and our cat program she is involved in a little bit of everything now. Her passion for rescuing animals started as a young child with parents who taught animal care and compassion from an early age. She has many of her own as well as still fostering and taking in hospice care and behavioral animals that can not be rehomed through our normal adoption avenues.

Bob Bio Pic_About Page
Bob Labrucherie Board President

Bob Labrucherie is a retired Madera High School Animal Science teacher. He first joined the Friends of Madera Animal Shelter Board in 2014. Bob has served as Board Vice President and is currently serving as President of the FMAS BoardBob presently assists in the operation of the monthly FMAS Vaccination Clinic and has worked as a volunteer transport driver for the Madera County Animal Shelter.Bob and his wife, Leslie, feed and care for 10 head of livestock on their farm. In addition, they feed and care for their large dogs, their small dogs, their house cats and their barn cats!

Thomas Bio Pic_About Page
Thomas Picquette Board Vice-President

Thomas was born and raised in the Central Valley. With his love for animals starting young in his childhood
he has rescued countless animals in his lifetime. He has given a home to many that were on their last chance, He specializes in harder to handle
dogs and helps rehabilitate them to go to their forever homes. Thomas joined FMAS
Almost 3 years ago starting with helping us manage our growing fleet and managing employees and operations in our office. He is currently our acting Vice President.

Velvet Bio Pic_About Page
Velvet Rhoads Board Treasurer

Velvet Rhoads has been volunteering for nearly 2 decades. Seeing her mom and half a dozen other ladies make significant changes to the unwanted pet population drove her to follow in the same footsteps. Velvet started by helping out at Super Adoptions to fostering and later becoming a board member.
Velvet has many dogs, cats, chickens and rescue horses of her own. Animals have always been a part of her "everyday", spending the workday with 2 or 3 of her pack.
She is currently our acting treasurer.

Claudia Bio Pic_About Page
Claudia Densmore Board Member

Claudia Densmore became involved with FMAS by way of the Madera Rotary Club. Kay Rhoads, founding member of FMAS and her daughter Velvet are also members. Claudia's love of animals and concern for their welfare made becoming a member of the board a perfect fit. Claudia's experience as a successful business owner made her a valuable contributor to the board. You can find Claudia assisting the vet during our low-cost shot clinic or helping balance the budget.

Tiffany Bio Pic_About Page
Tiffany Daily Board Member

I was born and raised in the Central Valley, having spent most of my life in Madera. My love for animals started at a young age with our childhood Cocker Spaniel named Sandy and it just stemmed out from there. In 2008 I lost my job and decided to start volunteering by fostering and my love for animals AND volunteering grew from there. I still foster, A LOT. However, I really love doing adoption events and have been doing them since 2009. I get the most satisfaction from seeing the animals find their forever homes and from seeing the joy in the families who adopt.

Blanca Bio Pic_About Page
Blanca Bowden Board Member

Blanca joined as an FMAS Board member in 2022 but she has been helping foster animals since 2020. Born and raised in Los Gatos, CA, she moved to Madera with her family in 2001 and just recently retired from her transportation position with Madera Unified School District. Blanca has always had a love for animals and those in need and it shows in the care she provides. She loves her family, anything beach related and her Harley!

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In Honor of Kay Rhoads Former Treasurer and Founding Member

Gillian "Kay" Rhoads was one of the founding members of FMAS back in 2002.
She was a lifelong animal lover and became involved out of pure necessity of helping Madera County's shelter animals. Kay was treasurer for over 16 years managing over a million dollars at times. She was the type of treasurer that any business or organization would love to have. She ran a tight ship! Paying it forward was her motto and that is what she will be remembered for.... helping those who can't help themselves. FMAS lost their #1 advocate late this year. She will never be forgotten.

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