Emergency Equine Response Unit

Staff & Volunteers

 Our Team

EERU/ASAR staff provides professional both large and small animal emergency rescue and training.  Instructors from across the Country are leaders in their field of expertise, and renew their skill-sets annually to ensure current training guidelines are achieved.




Operations Manager and Training Officer

Eric Thompson, Emergency Equine Response Unit/ASAR founder, is a graduate of Kansas University with a B.G.S. in Environmental Science and graduated the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center with his Police commission. Currently Eric is working as the national Director of Disaster Response for Code 3 Associates; and serves as the Chair position for the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition (NARSC). Eric also teaches and provides technical large animal rescue operations for EERU.

Eric is certified as a Swiftwater and Technical Rope Rescue Technician and also in water, mud, rock, ice, fire and trailer rescues of animals. Eric has received over 25 certificates of achievement from FEMA in regards to disaster response and planning; and is working with several States as a disaster planning consultant by incorporating animal-related operations into existing Emergency Support Functions. Eric also instructs technical small Animal Search And Rescue classes (Swiftwater/Flood Ops/Ropes) that meet new NFPA 1670 guidelines for Fire departments and first responders.

For disaster response information visit www.code3associates.org To contact Eric for consulting or instructing request please feel free to email him.


Large animal response team instructor, Angela CornelisonAngela Cornelison attended Johnson County Community College and Emporia State University. Angela is currently working as an assistant instructor, board member and responder for the Emergency Equine Response Unit, a  professional responder for the ASPCA, a national disaster responder and team lead for Code 3 Associates and a volunteer responder for the Johnson County Animal Response Team.

Angela is certified in TLAER, swiftwater rescue technician, technical  ice rescue, technical rope rescue, mud and trailer rescues. She is also a professional animal handler and shelter lead for emergency sheltering. She has received over 25 FEMA certificates of achievement in disaster planning and wildland fire awareness; her training meets the current  NFPA 1670 guide lines for animal search and rescue.


John Garcia (Best Friends Animal Society) is the emergency response manager and sanctuary security manager for Best Friends Animal Society. In this role he heads up Best Friends’ response in cases of natural disasters and many other emergency situations throughout the country.

John GarciaJohn grew up near Best Friends and started working at the sanctuary in 1999. In his time with Best Friends he has been a maintenance worker, dog caregiver, volunteer coordinator, dog trainer, assistant Dogtown manager, manager of Dogtown and is now the Emergency Response Manager at Best Friends. One of the first staff to volunteer for Tylertown, where Best Friends staged its rescue area near New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.  This is where both John and Best Friends first started responding to disasters.  In 2012 John became the Emergency Response Manager for Best Friends Animal Society and is now able to help across the country by responding to emergencies and assisting Best Friends with their national programs.  John and his team have worked relentlessly to become well rounded in Animal Search and Rescue techniques.  They also spend time training others in animal behavior, safe handling, humane capture techniques, emergency pet first aid and many other various topics associated with helping animals in a disaster.



Cathy HammackCathy Hammack is currently a Program Director for Johnson County Parks and Recreation.  Along with Cathy’s love for working with kids, she has an extensive background with many species of animals.  Cathy graduated from Pittsburg State with a Bachelors in Biology, and her Graduate degree from Texas Christian.  She worked in law enforcement as an Animal Control Officer for 5 years, while working as a Veterinary Technician for 14 years.  Cathy is currently a Senior Team Leader for Code 3 Associates, and has been an ASAR Instuctor since 2006.  Cathy is certified in swiftwater, floodwater, low and high angle rope rescue, and technical large animal rescue.


Robyn KeiterRobyn Keiter has been a Certified Veterinary Technician for 14 years. She graduated from Maple Woods Community College in Kansas City with a degree in Animal Technology.   After graduating, Robyn worked several years at the Denver Dumb Friends League, a large-scale animal shelter in Castle Rock, Colorado. In 2004, she joined the team at Animal Emergency & Specialty Center in Parker, Colorado where she served as an Emergency Veterinary Technician until 2015.  Robyn obtained a bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Colorado-Denver in 2008.  She was on the teaching staff at Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology from 2011 to 2015, where she taught advanced CPR and veterinary sciences among other subjects.  In early 2016, she made a move back to the Kansas City area and now works as a Technical specialist in the Pharmacovigilance department of Bayer Animal Health.  She also serves as Director of Veterinary Services for EERU/ASAR where she teaches courses in CPR and pet first aid.



Carla LewisCarla Lewis is currently an Animal Control Officer in Leawood, Kansas, and is the President of the Kansas Animal Control Association. Carla graduated from Kansas State University majoring in Wildlife Biology, and worked as a Zookeeper at the Kansas City Zoo. Carla adapted her exotic and companion animal experience to disaster and technical animal rescue response in 2012; and is the current Vice President for the Johnson County Animal Response team.  In addition, Carla is a Midwest Regional Team Leader for Code 3 Associates and an instructor/responder for the Emergency Equine Response Unit in the Kansas City metro area.  Carla is certified in: Swiftwater rescue, Boat operations, Ice rescue, Technical rope rescue and Technical large animal rescue.  Carla recently joined the asartraining.com instructor team with expertise in companion animal handling, capture, restraint/packaging, handling aggressive animals, exotics, and technical large animal rescue, and NFPA 1670 skills.


Jamie Mott

Jamie Mott is a full time firefighter with Newton, KS Fire EMS; and graduated with her Fire Science Degree in 2011. In addition, Jamie received her Bachelors of Science in 2009 from the College of the Ozarks.  Jamie joins the ASAR Instructor team as a technical rescue operations Instructor and team lead for Code 3 Associates, which is a national technical animal rescue team. Jamie continues to expand her technical rescue speciality to include large animal applications along with ASAR high angle rope/rigging operations.  Jamie is a Kansas native and continues to expand her human/animal rescue skills to bring a collaborative level of expertise to provide professional ASAR training and response.





Kelsey PepperKelsey Pepper is currently an Animal Services Officer in North Carolina and a technical field responder for Code 3 Associates. Raised on a Colorado farm and inspired by her Mom, Kelsey grew up caring for a variety of rescue animals. Kelsey is a life-long animal advocate who is passionate about animal care and education. She has worked at multiple barns, rescues, and dog care businesses, and also worked in Ireland for a few months as an exercise rider and caretaker at a racehorse facility. In her current job position Kelsey spends work days handling various animals, educating pet owners on appropriate care, enforcing local and state laws, and investigating animal cruelty, and responding to aggressive animal and rescue situations. Kelsey is a nationally certified Animal Control Officer, is a certified pet CPR and First Aid instructor, and has earned her Associates Degree in Criminal Justice.  Kelsey is an ASAR certified Swiftwater and Rope Rescue Technician, and is a volunteer with the Piedmont Emergency Animal Response Team, and Humane Society.



Large animal response team volunteers
EERU staff and volunteers are all trained in technical large animal rescue and response.  These dedicated men and women bring with them a variety of talent and expertise.  EERU volunteers are trained to effectively respond with all facets of Emergency Management, Fire Departments, Police and Animal Control Units, and Veterinarians.  If you have taken an EERU or TLAER class and are interested in volunteering with EERU’s large animal rescue team in KS and MO; please email a letter of inquiry with your training and credentials for consideration to EERU.