Love & Friendship Adoption Center Team

tim.jpeg

Ries Magnuson

Executive Director

Ries is so happy to be back in animal welfare work after seven years in other community betterment organizations. She has a bachelors degree in Animal Science and Microbiology from Iowa State University and has worked at the Animal Humane Society and the ASPCA. She leads HSNEI ensuring that we are a trusted resource to provide temporary shelter for animals waiting to find forever homes. In her words, "This is my passion, the mission is so dear to my heart." She uses her people care and organizational culture skills to build and maintain a high functioning team that is dedicated to exceptional animal care and genuine engagement with community members. She is a workaholic but also makes time for gardening, kayaking, and spending time with friends and their animal kids. The human kids are pretty cool too, especially her two grown daughters and young grandchildren. She and her husband enjoy having friends and their dogs over for bonfires and outdoor movies. Also living on the estate (a small acreage) are Beylix (a 140 lbs dog), 10 cats (the calico has claimed her husband but Ries is only a little jealous), 3 chickens, and two horses. She grows, preserves, and shares much of her family's food. She aims to serve and eat as much farm to table food as possible and is a customer of the many wonderful market farmers we have in our region. Ries is grateful for the generosity of this community that supports the important work HSNEI does every day.

tim.jpeg

Sarah King

Operations Coordinator

Sarah has been involved with HSNEI for years through fostering or bringing in stray cats. She has always wanted to help animals on a bigger scale and working at HSNEI makes that possible. At home, her house is full, with a dog, three cats, multiple foster kittens, a tortoise and two kids who are also animal lovers. She enjoys living in Decorah where she loves hiking with her dog, Rosie, exploring and being an amateur paleontologist. When not busy taking care of animals or kids, she enjoys reading, knitting and spending time with family.

tim.jpeg

Brian Lang

Animal Care Assistant

Brian is recently retired after 31 years with ISU Extension. He has had pets throughout his life, with the most recent being a cat adopted a few years ago from HSNEI. Now with retirement, Brian looks forward to spending some of that time working at the shelter helping critters find their forever homes.

tim.jpeg

Evan Dake

Animal Care Assistant

Evan grew up on an acreage near Vinton, Ia. where he spent countless hours fishing and hunting with his best friend, Bonnie, a Golden Retriever - Black Lab mix. He moved to the area 14 years ago and recently retired from golf course maintenance. He has an Associates Degree in Parks and Natural Resources and enjoys spending time outside on trails and in parks with his best friend, Tonka, a Boxer - Bully mix rescue. He has always felt animals are an amazing blessing and am excited about being able to spend time at HSNEI and help care for the critters there.

tim.jpeg

Brooklyn Holmstrom

Animal Care Assistant

Brooklyn Holmstrom is originally from northern Wisconsin where she worked different positions at a veterinary clinic for three years before moving down to Calmar Iowa to get a degree. She had a few dogs and other cats before and currently owns two horses plus two cats on her family’s ranch. She recently rescued a cat in the last year and named him Jack. She is going to NICC to earn her AAS for veterinary technician.

tim.jpeg

Mya Herrmann

Animal Care Assistant

Mya was raised in Decorah and has always loved animals. She is currently attending Upper Iowa University to receive her Bachelor’s in conservation to keep pursuing those passions. With an immense love for animals and a rescue dog of her own, applying for the Humane Society of Northeast Iowa was an easy decision. Mya believes that every individual animal is a gift and should be treated and cared for as so.

tim.jpeg

Suzy Hilgerson

Animal Care Assistant

Suzy currently works in the Luther Book Shop and has a house in Decorah that she shares with her two rescued cats Felix and Oscar while also maintaining her time on the dairy farm she owns with her husband in rural Elkader. Having grown up on a beef and hog farm and married into the dairy world , she has always had cats, dogs, cows, pigs, horses, goats etc in her day to day life and cannot imagine it any other way. Working at HSNEI is a wonderful opportunity to help make a positive difference in the lives of the animals she so loves.

tim.jpeg

Andrea Becker

Animal Care Assistant

Andrea grew up on a farm with lots of cows, pigs, a few chickens, cats, and 2 dogs. The animals were their best friends and source of inspiration for art and stories. These days Andrea still makes art and writes (including poems at the farmers market on a few occasions), with fancy rats being another frequent muse. Andrea has lived in Decorah since 2011 and is a trusted pet sitter for clients with dogs, cats, and other animals. Andrea is happy to be giving care and socialization to all the cats and dogs at HSNEI and giving them the best quality of life possible.

tim.jpeg

Hailey Abbey

Animal Care Assistant

Hailey currently works at Luther College and lives with her cat Willow. She grew up with many cats and a couple dogs, and has always been an animal lover. She was born in Decorah and later moved to Des Moines. A recent Luther graduate, Hailey is excited to be returning to her roots and spending more time in the Decorah area. Hailey loves taking care of her cat and her parents' pets and is so happy to be able to extend that care to more animals in need!

tim.jpeg

Kendra Mahr

Animal Care Assistant

Kendra has always loved animals. She has explored different lines of work trying to find what it is that she loves to do, and it always comes back to her love of animals. Growing up near Dorchester, IA, her pets and any other animals or critters she came across are what she strives to do everything and anything she can for. She is blessed to be part of the HSNEI team, where she can put her time and effort towards something that truly makes her happy.

tim.jpeg

Grace Pearson

Animal Care Assistant

Grace currently lives in Waukon, Iowa with her small lap dog and her cat she adopted in 2022 from HSNEI. Growing up, Grace always had a love for animals, small and large, and was happy to care for them. A recent graduate from the Northeast Iowa Community College(NICC) with her Associate Degree in General Education, Grace is currently deciding what she would like to go back to school for to continue her future career goals and plans. Grace is deciding between a couple of majors, one of the major’s she is interested in is becoming a Vet Tech, so she is eager to have the opportunity to work with the animals at HSNEI. She is also very thankful for the experiences and the amazing staff members at HSNEI. She is delighted to be able to dedicate her time with each animal as much as possible so they are ready to go to a loving home!

tim.jpeg

Tess Hilgerson

Animal Care Assistant

Tess Hilgerson grew up on her family’s small dairy farm just outside of Elkader, IA. Growing up, Tess showed her family’s dairy cattle alongside her siblings. She was in 4-H, FFA, and on the Clayton County Youth Council, where she participated in many different competitions like soils judging, dairy judging, agronomy, livestock judging, public speaking, and parliamentary procedure. Currently, she is a Luther College student majoring in computer science. When she’s not working or doing homework, she mainly spends time with friends or goes home for the weekend to help on the farm. Tess was very excited when she saw an open position for part time at HSNEI because she still adores taking care of cats and dogs. On her farm back home, they always had two dogs and too many cats to count. Her favorite part about this position is being able to give the animals affection and attention until they find their forever homes.