Board Of Directors

DeeDe Baker – Founder, Executive Director
Through her tenacity and passion, DeeDe has grown Dog Tag Buddies from a kitchen table conversion to the organization it is today. She is the wife of a combat veteran with 21 years of service and founded Dog Tag Buddies after seeing the relief their own dogs brought her husband when he returned from Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. DeeDe’s love of dogs began at an early age, and she currently has five of her own. Her love of dogs and desire to help Montana veterans drives her passion for Dog Tag Buddies, and has become her true calling in life. In 2018, after three years splitting her time between Dog Tag Buddies and her career of over twenty years with the State of Montana, DeeDe now fully dedicates her time to the organization. She takes a hands on approach to driving the growth of the organization and works directly with program participants, trainers, staff, volunteers, and our Board of Directors to achieve her goals. For her, being able to assist veterans and rescue dogs brings together the best of both worlds, especially knowing she is giving two lives a second chance. She is a member of Pet Partners with her dog Oliver, is an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen evaluator and as a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals has successfully completed the Dog Trainer Foundation Examination. In 2019, she successfully completed the PTSD Service Dog Trainer Essentials and PTSD Service Dog Trainer Academy through This Able Veteran

Kati Grove – Operations Director
Kati Grove has a Bachelors in Business Administration and over 9 years experience in Banking Operations, including 3 years of Operations Management and 3 years of Project Management experience. She is also trained in Lean Six Sigma methodology and is a graduate of the SWGSB Bank Operations Institute. Kati is the daughter of DeeDe Baker, our founder and executive director, and shares the same passion for helping our veterans and rescuing dogs. She has been involved in supporting animal rescues for several years, and has 3 rescue dogs and a cat of her own. Kati was selected as one of the 2019 40 Under 40 award recipients by the Billings Gazette and brings a unique business and project management perspective to the operations of Dog Tag Buddies.

* Steve Bertrand – Board President
Steve served in the Army from 1997-2001. After the Army, he received his degree in Cisco Systems from MSU-B. From 2004 to current, he has helped many different IT positions. Currently, he is the Senior IT site leader/Senior Analyst for BMO-Harris Bank in Billings, MT. He joined the Dog Tag Buddies because of his great passion for helping both veterans and animals.

Mike Wick – Board Vice President
Mike has a background of teaching, working as a correctional officer at a women’s prison, a case manager at a mental health center and several other endeavors. Her family is laced with most military branches, including but not limited to National Guard, Marine Corps and Air Force. She has a retired Marine Gunny Sgt. and a Lt. Col. in the Army in her family. Mike rescued eight retired racing greyhounds and cared for many other pets. She cares about retired service personnel and rescued pets, and her background is incredibly valuable as a board member.

* David Schantz – Board Past President
David Schantz grew up in Billings, MT. After graduating high school, he joined the Marine Corps Reserve. The Marine Corp sparked a flame of interest and enthusiasm, which led to a different attitude in life. He volunteered for as much military training as he could, completing jump school, Jump Master School, USMC Sniper School, USMC Advanced Sniper School, and obtaining the amphibious reconnaissance MOS, to mention a few. This new found enthusiasm carried over to his civilian life as well. He has solidified a career in the Information Systems security world, and has obtained some of the highest security certifications. Three combat tours (2 in Iraq and 1 in Afghanistan) opened his eyes to the greatness and evil of man. After retirement from the Marine Corps in 2012, he found he still needed to serve. David committed himself to helping fellow veterans through volunteer organizations at the local level.

Amanda Lackman – Board Member
There are many in Amanda’s family that served our country over the years. Her father is a former Marine, who while serving in Vietnam, was awarded a Purple Heart. His service and bravery, along with that of many others before and since, is something that should forever be honored. Amanda has a great admiration for all service men and women, and she has a great love of animals. Amanda feels honored to be a part of an organization that serves our country’s heroes and furry friends needing a home. She is an alumni of the University of Montana and holds a B.A in Journalism with an emphasis on Photojournalism. Currently a Bank System Administrator for First Interstate Bank and has been with the company for nearly 13 years.

* Alexander Roth – Board Member
Alexander Roth was attending Montana State University when the September 11th attacks occurred. After the attacks he enlisted in the Marine Corps as an infantryman, wherein he served with 4th Reconnaissance Bn. and Antiterrorism Bn. In 2005, he deployed to Iraq with 3/25, a unit that suffered heavy casualties. Upon returning and dropping to reserve status, Alexander completed his college education at MSU-Billings in 2007. In 2007, Alexander also began working in law enforcement with Stillwater County Sheriff’s Department. In 2010, Alexander left Montana to attend law school at the University of Miami, School of Law, where he was very active with veteran organizations. Upon graduating he returned home to Montana and set up his own law office, focusing on criminal defense. Alexander has grown up with pets and knows firsthand how much comfort and support pets can provide veterans. Visiting his office or seeing him around town, you”ll often find that Alexander is accompanied by Leo, his toy Australian Shepard.

Darin Lonski – Board Member

Darin has a degree in Business, with focuses on Management and Information Systems. He rescued 3 dogs, and does a personal fundraiser for Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter and Dog Tag Buddies. His father is a retired Marine, his brother was in the Navy, and all seven of his uncles served too. He has worked in the financial industry for 15 years. Darin has a passion for dogs and his life revolves around his Boxers.

*Quint Nyman – Board Member
Quint is a native Montanan and grew up in Anaconda. After graduating from high school in the mid 80’s, Quint began his studies at Montana Tech and quickly realized school was not the next step for him. He joined the Marine Corps in the Spring of 1985. Quint believes his time as an ambitious crewman in Okinawa and Camp Pendleton provided critical opportunities that helped shape him into the person he is today. Following his service, Quint worked for the Montana DNRC as a wildland firefighter on an initial attack engine. He also enrolled at The University of Montana, graduating with a degree in English and Secondary Education.

In 1999, Quint began work for the former Montana Public Employees Association as a field representative and then as Assistant Director. IN 2006, he was hired as Executive Director and served in this role until 2018 when the organization merged with another union. Quint remains Deputy Executive Director, and is responsible for supervision of all field operations.

Quint has been happily married to his wife, Jill, for 21 years, and together they have three wonderful daughters and three amazing dogs. He spends his summer weekends hiking into mountain lakes to fish and, being a true Montanan, spends the fall in search of elk with a bow or rifle.

When asked to serve on the board, Quint responded: “I believe I owe it to my fellow veterans who have gone in harm’s way and been fortunate enough to return home. My time in the military was safe by comparison. I can say that I have all of my parts and am whole. Veterans over the course of the last 20+ years do not often find themselves in that position. I firmly believe that because I can, I am obligated to ‘cover their six’ and support them as they work to heal and continue on with their lives.”

*Mike McManus – Board Member

Mike is originally from Miles City and returned to Billings, Montana in June of 2020 with his wife. Prior to the move, he served 10 years as the County of Ventura (CA) – Veteran Services Officer (CVSO). The CVSO is responsible for managing the Veteran Services Office (VSO) and its staff. The primary mission of the VSO is connecting veterans, their dependents, and survivors with federal and state VA benefits and local services, as well as advocating on behalf of Ventura County’s 39,000 veterans, 10,000 military personnel, and their families.

Prior to assuming CVSO duties, Mike worked three years in the private sector for Baxter International in their Thousand Oaks BioScience facility as their training & development manager. Before working in the private sector, Mike held a variety of leadership positions in the Air Force, first in fuels management/logistics planning and the last seven years as a First Sergeant (E-8) overseeing all enlisted personnel within his units. He had general supervision over all enlisted personnel and was responsible for advising the unit commander on all issues which affected those personnel, whether stateside or deployed.

During Mike’s military service, he deployed for three major operations: to USAF in Europe Headquarters Staff for ALLIED FORCE in 1999, to Kuwait for SOUTHERN WATCH in 2002, and to Kuwait for IRAQI FREEDOM in 2003. He was also stationed in Kunsan AB, Republic of South Korea from August 1996 – February 1998. He ultimately retired after 20 years of service, with his last assignment as the First Sergeant for the Air Force Detachment at Naval Base Ventura County – Port Hueneme. Among his military awards and decorations are the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor Device with three oak leaf clusters, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and the NATO Medal.

Mike has served as first vice president of the CA Association of County Veteran Service Officers and was the Director of the Veteran Collaborative of Ventura County. He has testified twice at field hearings before the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Veterans’ Health and was selected Veteran of the Year 2018 by CA Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin, Chairperson of the CA Assembly Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Mike holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Management.

* Stars represent our board members that are veterans

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