Sharon Toney-Finch, Interim President – Sharon is a US Army Veteran and Purple Heart Recipient. She graduated from Monroe College with a Masters Degree in Business Administration and served as a Logistics Administrative Manager in the Army from Feb. 2006 to Nov. 2019. Sharon’s heart for service also lead her to found the YIT Foundation which serves Veterans and active military families who have premature babies or who are experiencing housing insecurity. Sharon has a heart for helping any veteran or military family in need as well as the special needs children that Victory Hill serves. When Sharon’s passion meets her purpose, she truly knows how to make things happen!
Brenda Duff, Interim Treasurer – Brenda is a mother of two girls and has been a Clinical Laboratory Technologist at Garnet Health Medical Center for over 20 years. Her passion for Victory Hill’s mission began when her daughter, Kasey (Pictured with Brenda) began attending Equine Assisted Learning classes. She has now moved into Victory Hill’s Vocational Training classes and has learned and grown so much! Brenda would like to give back by helping Victory Hill to reach even more families in our community.
Ashlee Lutz, Interim Secretary – Ashlee is a mother to two beautiful children. Julianna is 18 and Wyatt is 14. Both attend Minisink Valley HS and are active in the JROTC. Ashlee’s heart lays in helping others, especially those in her community. She is an active member of the Otisville Fire Department as a firefighter and their secretary. The fire department is her second home and family. Helping others has always been important for Ashlee as well as her children; from prior experience with employment at Center For Discovery to volunteering with Veterans through VFW’s and other outreach groups. She comes from a family of Veterans including her grandfather and sister. Her brother is still currently serving. Ashlee has a passion and drive to help those in need no matter where they come from or their walks in life.
Demetria “Dee” Bartziokas, Director – Dee is the owner and founder of Dee’s Classic Cleaning, a very successful residential and business cleaning service in Orange County for the past 10 yrs. Dee has a passion for helping others in the community and volunteers her time for causes such as Cleaning for a Reason which offers free house cleaning services to Cancer patients. Dee lives in Middletown with her husband, children and grandchildren. She is excited to be helping Victory Hill with their future growth and firmly believes in their mission.
SHARON O’DOWD, RN, BSN, Medical Advisor – Sharon is the Nurse Educator at Jawonio, in New City, NY. She began her nursing career as an LPN, and subsequently her RN in 1981. She has a very strong medical/ surgical background having spent the early part of her career working in medical oncology and in the OR. Most recently her career focus been the privilege of working with people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Behavioral Health challenges and Chronic Medical needs since 2014. Her role is to provide staff with health-related education to ensure the highest quality standards of care to the individuals served. She is a Certified Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid instructor which provides tools to recognize and manage mental health emergencies as well as an American Heart Association CPR instructor. Sharon was previously employed as the Head Nurse for The County of Rockland Outpatient Mental Health Clinic. Before that, at Westchester Medical Center as an Oncology Nurse. Sharon also enjoys spending time with her husband, Michael, and daughter, Holly as well as her equine partner, Gradee, a beautiful dark bay quarter horse.
Jamie Striano, Director – Jamie is a mother of 3 and works at Cornerstone Family Healthcare. Jamie has experienced first hand the benefits of Equine Assisted Services at Victory Hill. Her daughter, Ella, began taking Therapeutic Riding Lessons in 2021 and Jamie noticed positive changes in her daughter as she progressed through her therapeutic goals. Jamie is very excited to be part of the Board of Directors and helping to further Victory Hill’s Mission in the coming years.
Corey Ferretti, Director – Corey is the owner and founder of CB Farrier Service LLC. Corey lives in Walden, NY with his 2 beautiful daughters. He proudly served in the US Navy as a CB (Construction Battalion) from July 2002 to October 2012. Working with horses for many years has given Corey a true understanding of the benefits of Equine Assisted Services and a passion for Victory Hill’s mission. He especially looks forward to helping his fellow veterans in Victory Hill’s “Horses 4 Heroes” program. Corey brings a unique perspective of the struggles that veterans sometimes face after discharge. Victory Hill is lucky to also have Corey as our farrier. He takes excellent care of our horses feet!
Lisa-Ann LaBue, Director– Lisa-Ann is the Assistant Vice President Business Relationship Manager at Empire State Bank and a Renovation Specialist Home Mortgage Consultant at Wells Fargo. Her love of horses and her passion for serving the community led her to volunteer as a Board Member for Victory Hill. Lisa-Ann is skilled in building and maintaining relationships with many different members of the community. She is excited to be helping Victory Hill to grow their support base, increase their reach, as well as the number of individuals and families served in the coming years.
Ariana Vele, Director – Is a mother of two beautiful boys and the wife of a New York City Firefighter. She is passionate about helping First Responders and their families to find the help they need to deal with the stress and burn out many experience on the job. As a foster parent and mother of a special needs child, Ariana is focused on helping Victory Hill to maintain and expand their services for at-risk youth and children with special needs. Ariana has a BA from Montclair State University. She is currently seeking her certification as an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship and serving as a mentee at Victory Hill. She also has future plans to pursue her certification as a Therapeutic Riding Instructor.
Emily Greaves, Director – Emily currently works as a Veterinary Technician at Banfield Pet Hospital and spends her Sunday mornings caring for the horses and petting zoo at Victory Hill. She is also the loving mother to her Standardbred (horse) “Legs” and her Donkey “Ace”. Emily has been riding and working with and around horses for many years and understands the benefits they have to offer and all that they can teach us. She is excited to help bring Victory Hill’s mission to more people in our community and to be part of our organization’s growth in the coming years.
LAURIE BRYCELAND, Executive Director/Founder – Laurie is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island with a BS in Elementary Education and Secondary English Education. She worked toward her Masters at Adelphi University and worked as a teacher for five years after graduation. Laurie has held several other certifications such as an Emergency Medical Technician & Veterinary Assistant. She is most proud of her work with children and adults with special needs in the world of Equine Assisted Activities and Therapy. Laurie holds two certifications through PATH Intl (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship Intl) as a Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor and an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. She is also a certified mentor teaching others to become instructors. Laurie held a past position as the Asst. Executive Director at a PATH Intl Premier Accredited Center in Milford, PA. There she started the first “Horses 4 Heroes” program in the area in order to serve Veterans, First Responders, active military and their families and is now proud to bring that program to Victory Hill TH. Laurie also enjoys being a member of the Hudson Valley Veteran Task Force. She truly enjoys life on the farm with her husband, Chris and their three children: Shane (23), Raeanne (22) and Tyler (18), their horses and 25 other beloved fur babies.