ACHS Staff

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Angela Marx, Executive Director

Angela has worked for non-profit organizations for over 20 years and has volunteered with animal rescue groups for almost as long. Her passion is working on implementing programs that prevent the homelessness of cats and dogs in our area. She is critical in coordinating our foster and adoption programs and works hard to increase the capacity and growth of our spay/neuter clinics. In her free time, she likes to travel far and wide with her husband and hang out with her 3 dogs and 5 cats. 

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Rachel Bendler, Humane Agent

Rachel is an Ohio native who moved to Athens in 2007. The daughter of two veterinarians, she has been immersed in animal care and welfare from a young age. Her life is deeply entwined with non-profit work, with a heavy emphasis on equine and canine rehabilitation. A well-rounded animal person, she is comfortable with all sorts, from snakes to sheep! In her free time, she enjoys "unplugging" and being outside... working with horses and playing with the dogs. She is proud to serve her community as the Humane Agent of Athens County, and looks forward to helping even more animals in her community in the future.

Athens County Humane Society Board Members (listed alphabetically)

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Paul Benedict, President

Paul has been a board member since 2017 and board president since 2018. Ironically, Paul is allergic to cats, but from time to time, some snuggles from a friends’ kitty are worth itchy eyes and a runny nose. Paul and his family (wife and 2 kids) are proud dog parents to Thunder, Lucy, and Maggie. They want more dogs. Two kids are plenty, thanks! Paul’s day job is an entrepreneurship professor at Ohio University and director of its Center for Entrepreneurship.

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Lydia Giesige

Lydia began volunteering with ACHS as an undergrad student at Ohio University and recently joined the board in 2022. Her primary focuses are further developing the Spay/Neuter Clinic and providing support to the foster program. When she is not spending time with her two foster fail cats and spoiled dog, Lydia enjoys DIY-ing new projects, cooking, and visiting with friends and family. Lydia is currently a vet student at Ohio State and looks forward to serving the Athens community in her future career. 

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Heather McDowell

Heather has been an ACHS board member since 2015.  Passionate about animal welfare, she has been adopting, rescuing, and advocating for homeless pets for decades.  Thankful to have a supportive family, Heather has been able to give a forever home to many animals over the years.  Professionally Heather has worked with kids in Athens county for some time and is currently the children's librarian at The Plains Public Library.  

Luke McElfresh, Vice President

Luke joined the ACHS board in 2018, previously serving as Volunteer Coordinator and Treasurer currently holding the position of Vice President.  Thankful to be part of such a great organization, he values the positive impact that is made in the lives of so many animals and their owners.  Professionally, Luke is an Associate Professor of Instruction within the Finance department at Ohio University.  In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife, two kids, and their three dogs.

Patrick McGee

Patrick recently joined the Humane Society Board after having retired as the Managing Attorney for the Center for Student Legal Services. He had been active with the Athens County Humane Society and the Cat Shelter around 1980 after having moved back to Athens from Moorhead, Kentucky, where he raised goats and horses on a small farm. He is well known in Athens as an eccentric musician who plays harp and bagpipes and received the “volunteer of the year” award this year, from the Last Chance Corral, which rescues orphaned foals. Patrick has always had a deep love of animals, and currently spends a lot of his spare time trying to teach his cats to appreciate his fiddle playing.

Char Rae, Secretary
Char has lived in Athens County since 1990 when she moved here from the West Coast to attend OU. She worked as an administrator, advisor,  and instructor at OU until 2018, and has since become a career volunteer, dividing her time among various organizations, but primarily the Athens County Humane Society and Master Gardeners. She has volunteered with ACHS for at least 20 years, helping with the spay and neuter program and adoptions. She most recently joined the Fundraising Committee. Her home in the country, west of Albany, includes seven cats and her mom's misanthropic chihuahua.

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Karen Wright

Karen is retired from a long career in health care management. She and her husband, Scott, have what they call a “hobby farm” outside Athens.  Karen’s avocation is serving the Athens County Humane Society in whatever capacity that is most helpful. Karen is also a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.