Laura Lee Franks, Founder and President
For years, Laura Lee was the person stray dogs seemed to find. Before Austin became a no-kill city, she wasn’t comfortable taking her foundlings to Austin Animal Center, so she set out to rehome them herself, eventually aligning with a local mixed-breed rescue group for guidance and kicking off her dog rescue experience. She has volunteered as a foster (and three-time adopter) for Heart of Texas Lab Rescue since [add year please] and a walker and foster for Austin Animal Center since 2004. She also works with her eight-year-old tracking Labrador, Rufus, to search for lost dogs alongside the Trapping, Rescue, and Pet Recovery Service (TRAPRS).
Laura Lee has also held long-term volunteer positions with such human-centric organizations as The Safe Alliance, Project Transitions, and Hospice Austin. An engineer and project manager by training, she enjoys yoga and artistic pursuits in her spare time; Laura Lee is dedicated to leveraging her left- and right-brain experiences to create an organized, sustainable nonprofit that is as resilient as her blind dog, Maverick, whose journey from uncertain to unstoppable opened her eyes and heart to the potential of differently abled dogs.
LeAnn Skelly, Treasurer
LeAnn’s long history as a payroll manager and her passion for educating dog owners and enriching animals’ lives make her the perfect addition to The Unstoppables team. For two years, LeAnn and her late dog, Lucy, teamed up with Divine Canines to provide pet therapy visits to children in foster care, high schools, and colleges. And when the duo wasn’t offering their therapy services, they were working with Trapping, Rescue, and Pet Recovery Service (TRAPRS) to find lost pets in and around Austin.
Today, LeAnn fosters dogs through Heart of Texas Lab Rescue, and her fosters are lucky enough to learn the ropes from her two adopted pups, Mack and Guster. Mack is a yellow Labrador who failed out of service dog school. While he finds couch potato life very comfortable, he makes himself very useful on laundry day, when he carries dirty clothes upstairs to the washer and then retrieves clean laundry for folding. Guster came into LeAnn’s life when he was fourteen months old. With LeAnn’s help, the chunky pug pup has grown into an agility superstar who spends his time working toward American Kennel Club titles.
Kim Chrisman, Secretary
Kim was drawn to The Unstoppables Project because she strongly feels no living being should be cast aside, regardless of any differences of ability. Kim has worked with animals all her life and believes that, as humans do, all animals have a purpose. Kim graduated college with a degree in biology (zoology focus) and has been working in the animal realm ever since, with a career in animal health manufacturing. Her extensive volunteer experience includes the San Antonio Zoo, the Austin Wildlife Rescue, the SPCA, Texas Humane Legislation Network, and Austin Pets Alive!
When she’s not advocating for differently abled dogs, Kim is taking care of her three senior rescue pets: A Russian Blue mix named Sunny, who was left on a vet’s doorstep in a box with her kittens in 2010; a floppy, hoppy super mutt she rescued from death row at the Arlington, Texas, shelter in 2012; and Tramp, a feisty tabby Kim nicknamed “Pepe la Pew,” who had been living in a home with minimal care for six months in 2017 after his human had passed away.