Executive Director

Jimmy Burgess

Email: director@heartlandk9s.org

Jimmy joined the HK9 Team in November of 2022. A disabled Veteran, he shares a passion for the HK9 mission. Jimmy is married and has two boys, Ethan, 21, who lives in the Joplin area and Ryne, 19, who is currently serving in the United States Marine Corps. His military service included three tours to Iraq with the 160TH Special Operations Aviation Regiment as well as many TDY missions to South America. Jimmy has a service dog and her name is Riley

Board President

Chris Flemming

Chris Fleming served as an air traffic controller in the United States Marine Corps. During that service, he learned the leadership skills and “never give up” attitude to become a successful entrepreneur and multi-business owner within the pet care community.  His wife, Misty, is also his business partner and his greatest accomplishment is raising two young men who are starting their own small business: the oldest, Nathaniel, is a kennel owner, the youngest, Anthony, a certified dog trainer.

Chris lives with 3 dogs, a Poodle, Frenchie, and Papillion and a rescued cat at home. With over 20 years working with dogs, he understands the importance of the Human- Animal bond and the potential healing it provides.

Board Vice President

Robert Wood

Army veteran and VA Peer Support Specialist working in general mental health, substance use disorder clinic and the trauma recovery team. Robert also works with kids in a Judo Ministry and enjoys doing Judo, Tai Chi and hanging out with his dogs. He is married and has two adult children.

Board Secretary

Desiree Breidenstein

An OIF/OEF Veteran, she is passionate about serving others. Her commitment to serving on the board is driven by her natural love of animals and heart for Veterans. In addition to fulfilling the role of Secretary on the Board, she is also committed as the Community Outreach Coordinator for Children’s Center of Southwest Missouri. She is married with four children, many chickens and one sweet pup.

Board Member

Courtney Farley

Board Member

James Childers

James Childers is a Navy veteran who spent the majority of his military time attached to the 11th Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron. James utilized his college fund to pursue a career in mental health and has been a professional counselor for over 16 years, with an emphasis in post traumatic stress disorder.

By focusing on the needs of the community, James has been able to put his military experience and education to good use and has garnered recognition for his professional accomplishments, as well as his contributions volunteering for a variety of local non-profit and government positions.
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Board Member

Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer and her husband Michael have been married for 26 years. They are the owners of Union Station Deli & Event Center. Previously, they were the owners of Simple Simons Pizza in Joplin for 10 years. Mike is a retired Combat Veteran of 26 years, leaving Jennifer to “hold down the fort” during deployments. Both extremely patriotic, they have made a point of hiring Veterans and those in need or a “hand-up”.

Jennifer is extremely active in the community and Veteran issues and is passionate about HK9 and helping as many Veterans as possible.

Board Member

Naomi Baker

Naomi Baker is a Southwest MO area field representative for Missouri’s 7th District Congressman Eric Burlinson, but also well known to be an advocate and volunteer for just causes. She has been a volunteer peer counselor at CareNet Pregnancy Resource center, a field director for Susan B. Anthony Lists, and as a political campaign coordinator for several notable political candidates. Naomi is also a current board member of the True Charity Intitiative, which assists nonprofits in finding real solutions for ending homelessness and poverty. Naomi’s grandfather, Staff Sgt Earl Leon Thomas, was a medic during the Korean conflict and was the primary inspiration for her to become a passionate advocate for veterans causes.

Naomi resides in Neosho, MO primarily as a career “stay at home mom” with her three daughters and husband Ben Baker, who is a current State Representative for the 160th District in Newton Co. Naomi’s eldest daughter Natalie and son-in-law Davy, are full time missionaries to Haiti. Naomi enjoys leisure time reading and baking, as well as unique travel and dining experiences with her husband Ben.

Volunteer Coordinator

Jim Burgess

Email: jim2burgess@hotmail.com