LoveWay Staff

 

Our Staff

Alice Rea

Alice Rea

Barn Assistant

On staff since 2015
Hometown: Elkhart, IN

Alice was home-schooled and in 4-H learning how to raise all sorts of animals – from ducks to chickens, goats, llamas and horses! She also has a strong interest in digital art and 3D animation, and is slowly working towards these occupational fields. Alice enjoys living at home with her father and sister.

Fun Fact: Alice really, really likes Star Wars! She also likes space and science, and loves to play video games with friends. And surprise! She used to be Copper’s owner before he came to LoveWay!

Bhakti Fiori

Bhakti Fiori

Business Operations Manager

On staff since Fall 2016
Hometown: Port Chester, NY

Bhakti grew up in New York and most recently resided in sunny California, with many other places in between. She loves to read and exercise in her spare time. With a colorful resume, she has done everything from corporate training to respiratory therapy to being a preschool teacher. Bhakti’s background in early childhood education and a personal relationship with Evie, a special needs child, drew her to our clients and our mission.

Bhakti relocated from California to be with her daughter, Triniti, and her husband, Rod, and her 3 wonderful grandsons, Brady, Brecken, Mikey.

Chris Stice

Chris Stice

Assistant Program Manager & PATH Certified Instructor

On staff since Spring 2006
Hometown: Billings, MT

Chris started riding when she was about three.  When she was little she used to ride in front of the saddle with her dad. While living in Montana she lived on a ranch where her family kept their horses.  Around age 10 her sister was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Having been so closely affected by that inspired her work at LoveWay.

Chris and her daughter Ariel started volunteering in the Saturday Morning Teen Volunteer program in 2005.  She fell in love with LoveWay and started coming out on her own when her kids (she also has a son, Tristan) were in school.  Chris had been volunteering for about six months when the barn manager asked if she might be interested in becoming an instructor.

Daryl Abbott

Daryl Abbott

Community Outreach Specialist

On staff since 2009
Hometown: White Pigeon, MI

Daryl graduated from Goshen College and was previously the CEO at CAPS (Child and Parent Services) for 32 years. Daryl enjoyed serving and wasn’t ready to retire after his career at CAPS; LoveWay has been a good fit for him to continue using his many God-given gifts.

He has been married to wife Sue for 43 years. They have three adult children; seven grandchildren; one great grandchild.  Daryl and Sue enjoy biking, spending time with their kids and going to their cottage in Michigan.

Fun Fact: 
“I knew nothing about horses before I came to LoveWay, even though I had ridden horses a few times.  I know a little more about horses now thanks to my colleagues who have educated me.”

Deb Beehler

Deb Beehler

Instructor-In-Training

On staff since Fall 2018
Hometown: Osceola, IN

As a lifelong resident of Elkhart County, Deb has strong family and community ties here. She lives in Jimtown with her husband. Although her greatest blessings are being mom to her wonderful daughter and grandma to her three remarkable teenage grandchildren, she enjoys caring for her horses, chicken, cats, and dog, traveling/camping and vegetable gardening. After working as Chief Juvenile Probation Officer for Elkhart County for 18 years and Coordinator of Behavior Supports for Elkhart County Community Schools for 15 years, she retired from full-time employment in January 2017. Having been involved at LoveWay for over 10 years as a volunteer and Board member, she is thrilled to join the staff and continue to experience the miracles that happen at LoveWay on a daily basis. Deb says, “To work with children and horses…life is good!”

Erin Thompson

Erin Thompson

Development Associate

On staff since Spring 2014
Hometown: Tinley Park, IL

Erin came to LoveWay during an internship through Ivy Tech. She graduated with her Associate’s degree in Human Services. She is a part of the transfer program for her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work through IUSB and plans to continue until receiving her Master’s in Social Work. Before moving to the Goshen/Middlebury area to be with family several years ago, she resided in Atlanta. She also spent a few years living in Asheville, NC. Erin loves working with children and feels very fortunate for all of the amazing experiences that she has had while at LoveWay.

Hannah Kemper

Hannah Kemper

Barn Assistant

On staff since June 2018
Hometown: Goshen, IN

In 2016, Hannah joined LoveWay as a volunteer helping as a sidewalker during classes. Discovering how much she loved the goals and mission of LoveWay she applied for the Barn Assistant position. Growing up Hannah had opportunities to work with and learn about horses. She is excited to use and grow her knowledge while taking care of God’s creation and serving others. Hannah’s hobbies include: working with a drama ministry, reading, and writing.

Jess Shelner

Jess Shelner

Certified PATH Instructor

On staff since Fall 2018
Hometown: Rockford, MI

Jessica has always loved horses and has been riding since she was 8 years old. She graduated from Albion College with a degree in Psychology and has been a certified PATH Instructor since 2008. She married Eric, her best friend since seventh grade, in 2009 and they now have 3 crazy kids (Titus, 6; Aurora, 3; Maddox, 1). Jessica says, “I have seen God do amazing things at LoveWay before (I worked here 2009-2012) and I am excited to be part of this ministry again now that we are back in Indiana!”

Kayla Abbott

Kayla Abbott

Certified PATH Instructor

On staff since Fall 2018
Hometown: Granger, IN

Kayla grew up a mile down the road from her great aunt and uncle’s farm. From the moment she could walk being out in the barn with the horses was her favorite thing! Growing up caring for and riding her aunt’s horses Kayla learned the importance of respect, community, and love. In 2017 Kayla graduated from Taylor University with a degree in Christian Educational Ministries. While in college Kayla competed on Taylor’s equestrian team. After college God led Kayla to Chesterton, Indiana where she worked at a non-profit that uses horses as a way to counsel and mentor kids at risk. Through that internship she realized this would be her dream. Kayla became PATH certified in June 2018. She is excited to be using her passions and gifts as an instructor at LoveWay!

Maggie Pippenger

Maggie Pippenger

Lead PATH Certified Instructor

Back on staff since Fall 2015
Hometown: Middlebury, IN

A graduate of Northridge High School, Maggie grew up owning and showing horses. Working with horses has been a part of her life for over 20 years! She was a 10-year member of 4-H Saddle Club and competed in High School Rodeo. Through her time in Saddle Club Maggie discovered her passion of working with others on their riding and helping them with their horses overall. Maggie became a volunteer at LoveWay in 2009 to combine her love of working with horses and others. She came on staff in the fall of 2009 and became a certified instructor in April 2010.

In the fall of 2017 Maggie took some time off and got married to her now husband, Michael. They own 2 horses and 3 dogs. In her free time, Maggie loves trail riding and working with her dog, Pearl. Maggie immensely enjoys working with everyone who comes through LoveWay’s doors and considers herself extremely blessed to be part of the amazing LoveWay team!

Ryan Eash

Ryan Eash

Director of Equine Development

On staff since Fall 2018
Hometown: Goshen, IN

An Indiana native, Ryan grew up enjoying the outdoors, trail riding with horses and training Labrador Retrievers. In 2010 he graduated from Miracle Mountain Ranch School of Discipleship with a horse major, as well as studies with Rosedale Bible College. He is passionate about horse training, and greatly admires the many ways horses are able to enrich the lives of people all of the world. Ryan stated, “I always thought it would be neat to be involved with people and horses somehow. Joining the LoveWay family is a dream come true!”

Ryan, and his beautiful wife Tabitha, are blessed with two children, Chet and Willow.

Shannon Oakes

Shannon Oakes

Community Engagement Specialist

On staff since Fall 2018
Hometown: San Diego, CA
 
 Shannon is a graduate of Goshen College and served as the previous Senior Program Officer for the Community Foundation of Elkhart County. Although she greatly enjoyed her role, after 17 years she says she felt a tugging on her heart to get back into direct mission work. She admits she was terrified of making a change but felt pulled to LoveWay and the opportunity to work with the horses, the volunteers and most of all, individuals with special needs.
She and her husband Tony live in Middlebury and have three daughters, Christine, Victoria and Sydnee. They also have seven pets and a frequent flyer card for the Humane Society of Elkhart County.
Fun Facts: Shannon grew up in sunny San Diego, California. She is an avid shoe lover, is hearing impaired, has a talent for sarcasm and her life verse is 1 John 4:4.
Shelley Becker

Shelley Becker

Executive Director, PATH Certified Instructor

Back on staff since Fall 2017
Hometown: Elkhart, IN

Shelley came to LoveWay as a Volunteer in 2008 and served on staff from 2011-2015 as an Instructor and in marketing and fundraising.  Her degree from Indiana State is in graphic design.  She initially came to LoveWay “to get a break from being a stay-at-home mom and stayed at LoveWay because I couldn’t get enough of the feeling inside me after a class with the kids and horses.”

Shelley and her husband Brent have two children, Jacob and Jordyn.  They have a mini-farm of 3 horses, 3 goats, 3 dogs and 2 cats!

Shelley says “I know God sent me here.  I knew absolutely nothing about horses at the time and even less about special needs children.  God not only grew a great passion in my heart for the mission of LoveWay but also equipped me to do things I never dreamed I could.  Becoming an Instructor was a HUGE task for me.  It was definitely the Lord’s will and a LOT of help from teammates that I am blessed to say I am a PATH Instructor.”

Stephanie Smith

Stephanie Smith

PATH Intl. Instructor

On staff since Fall 2017
Hometown: Elkhart, IN

Steph is a graduate of Concord High School who was in 4-H for nine years, and competed in Horse Bowl/ Hippology, Judging, Drill Team and Public Speaking.  Her background also includes four years of American Sign Language.

Steph came to LoveWay as a volunteer in 2011 and began the Instructor in Training program in the fall of 2017.

She owns four horses, and enjoys spending her free time trail riding at Potato Creek State Park and Russ Forest County Park in Cass County, Michigan.  Steph is a member of Cowboys for Christ.

Tim Krecsmar

Tim Krecsmar

PATH Certified Instructor

On staff since 1993
Hometown: Elkhart, IN

Tim is LoveWay’s most seasoned instructor having been at Loveway for 23 years. He began his journey in January of 1991 and he became an instructor in 1998. When not instructing at LoveWay, Tim still molds imaginations as a Special Education teacher at Concord Junior High School.

Tim resides with his wife, Meg, and children Kessa, Jackson, Kerecsen, Kelemen, Adia and Bence.