Primate Rescue Center

Our People

The residents of the Primate Rescue Center are looked after for by an experienced team of boardmembers, a knowledgeable staff and a dedicated team of volunteers and interns.

Meet the people who make miracles possible - all day, every day, 365 days a year!

 

Board

The five individuals who comprise the Primate Rescue Center's Board bring with them decades of experience with animal handling, business, finance, and ethics. Most importantly, each board member believes strongly in the PRC's mission and helps strengthen the organization as a whole.

April D. Truitt, Co-founder

April's involvement with primates began in 1987, while she was Executive Director of SAVTA - the Safe & Vault Technician's Association. Her future husband, Clay Miller, brought home a young macaque named Gizmo, and the rest is history! Born in New York City, April never imagined a career with animals, nor a future in Kentucky, but after 30+ years in the Bluegrass region, and nearly the same amount of time working with primates, she says "I wouldn't trade this life for anything!" April is proud to also be a founding member of the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance. She looks forward to the day when keeping primates as pets is unthinkable, and primate sanctuaries are no longer needed.

 

J. Clayton Miller, Co-founder

Clay's fondness for animals was evident from an early age. Nearly every childhood photo features an animal (or three), and his schoolmates best remember him as the kid who brought his pet rat "Sniffles" to school in his shirt pocket. He went on to a successful career in the family's safe lock business, but his Nicholasville farm was home to a variety of species - many of whom had the good fortune to wander in. Of his decision to purchase young macaque Gizmo those many years ago, he says "It was a foolish mistake, but look at all the good that's come from it." When he's not building primate enclosures, he enjoys time with his children, grandchildren, and a collection of early Ford automobiles.

 

Lynn Albanese

Lynn has been involved with the PRC for so long that she’s not even sure when it all started! Her whole life seems to have been dedicated to caring for animals. She was raised on a dairy farm and attended Eastern Kentucky University before she started rescuing farm animals. Lynn has spent the last three decades as a Horse Identifier for Sales at Keeneland Association, where she also runs the Ship-In and Receiving Barn for races. Lynn shares, “I really enjoy the PRC and what a good job April has done with it.” Originally from Lincoln County, she currently lives in our town of Nicholasville on a 51-acre farm.

 

Jack Furlong

Jack, a board member since the early 2000’s, first had experience with primates due to his career involvement with research on animal cognition. This led to his corresponding ethical and environmental concerns about how primates should be treated. "Primates are sentient, intelligent, social creatures,” Jack explains, “and the PRC gives them respect, dignity, and a safe and interesting environment to live in." He lives in Lexington, Kentucky, where he teaches philosophy at Transylvania University.

 

Lisa Young

Lisa’s ties to the PRC stem from her years working alongside our co-founder Clay Miller at Lockmasters Technologies Inc., where she is Chief Financial Officer. She joined the PRC board in 2010. “I've lived on a farm my entire life.” Lisa says, “It's so great to be involved with a place that gives animals a safe haven to enjoy a natural environment after being deprived of it for various reasons.” A native of Kentucky, Lisa earned her BA in Accounting from Eastern Kentucky University and lives nearby in Stanford.

 

 

Staff

The Primate Rescue Center staff truly makes us shine. From the grounds crew to the caregivers,  our team works day in and day out to ensure that sanctuary residents are happy, comfortable and well cared for. With backgrounds in psychology, biology, education, animal studies, agriculture, and more, our staff's talents provide a perfect mixture of expertise and passion to help primates.

Eileen Dunnington

portraitSanctuary Manager Eileen Dunnington joined the PRC staff in January 2004 upon the completion of her fall internship here. A native of nearby Lexington, Eileen graduated magna cum laude from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Her introduction to the center’s chimpanzees and monkeys cemented her lifelong interest in working with animals. 


 

Melanie Parker

portraitMelanie Parker, a Primate Caregiver and the PRC's Volunteer Coordinator, grew up caring for horses, cows, and goats on a farm in Lewisport, KY. She has been a member of the PRC staff since June 2006. Melanie graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Chemistry, and she previously worked in the Education Department at the Louisville Zoo.

 

Matt Howard

portraitMatt Howard, who joined the PRC's Maintenance and Grounds Keeping department in September 2010, graduated with a degree in Agricultural Economics, magna cum laude, from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. Matt grew up surrounded by animals on a farm in rural western Kentucky.

 
 

Laura Clifford

portraitLaura Clifford has had a life long interest in primates, which lead her to complete an internship at the PRC in the summer of 2011. In August of 2013, Laura made the move from Texas to Kentucky to join the PRC Staff as a Primate Caregiver and the sanctuary's Instagram Coordinator. She graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.

 
 

Becca Banks

portraitBecca Banks has been interested in animals since childhood. Her passion for the natural world was cemented by her time spent at Eastern Kentucky University as an Animal Studies major. Born and raised in Nicholasville, she grew up just ten minutes away from our center. Her time with us started in June 2015, when she completed a summer internship. Six months later, she was hired on as a Primate Caretaker. Her favorite part of the job is tending to all of the incredible beings that call the PRC home.

 
 

Erika Fleury

Erika Fleury started at the PRC as an intern in 2006 and later returned in 2013 to assist the organization from a distance, as a freelance associate from her home in Los Angeles. Erika graduated from University of Delaware with a major in English and a minor in Philosophy. In 2013 she published her book, Monkey Business: A History of Nonhuman Primate Rights, with the PRC’s late macaque Boo featured on its cover. Erika is also the Program Director of the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance.

 

 

Volunteers

The Primate Rescue Center is lucky to have a web of loyal volunteers, interns, and off-site participants across the country who assist with everything from daily tasks to special events. The veteran volunteers pictured on this page have been with the PRC for at least one year, but most have been with us for many more!

portraitCheryl Parson, a certified nursing assistant who hails from Nicholasville, KY, has been a volunteer here since October 2006.
portraitGina Lyons, a resident of Nicholasville, KY, who teaches at Eastside Technical Center, began volunteering here in November 2009.
portraitRetta Ritchie-Holbrook, a resident of Lexington, KY, and an employee of the University of Kentucky, has been volunteering with the PRC since November 2010.
portraitMelissa Firestone, who began volunteering in May 2003, is our longest-serving volunteer, and works with primates at the Louisville Zoo.
portraitWally Littell, a volunteer since June 2006, retired to Florida, but each summer returns to Kentucky to help us keep things running smoothly.
 
 
portraitLisa Scott is the owner and manager of Hickman Creek Kennels in Nicholasville, KY, and currently resides in Lexington, KY. Lisa began volunteering at the sanctuary in June 2012.
portraitAmie LeMaster, a resident of Lexington KY, processes disability claims for the Social Security department in Frankfort, KY. Amie began volunteering with the PRC in October 2011.
portraitPatti Hard is a resident of Harrodsburg, KY, is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, and runs a private practice in Lexington as a Marriage and Family Therapist. Patti joined the volunteer program in June 2013.
portraitBeth Goldenberg, who began volunteering at the sanctuary in October 2012, works at Keeneland in ticketing and sales and is a resident of Lexington, KY.
portraitKaile Short, a student at Lindsey Wilson College, became a PRC Off-Site Volunteer in 2013. She also completed an On-Site Internship the summer of 2014.
 
 
 
 
portraitBrian Brown became a PRC volunteer in January 2015. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Indiana and is a packaging engineer at Wild Turkey Distillery.
portraitMari Schroeder is a student at the University of Kentucky majoring in Food Science, and is a resident of Lexington. Mari joined the volunteer team in October 2015.
Michelle Meeker is an Animal Studies major at Eastern Kentucky University, and is a resident of Lexington. Michelle began volunteering with the PRC in January 2016.
portraitBrandi Hunt is a former PRC caregiver, who now commutes to volunteer with us from Erlanger, KY. Brandi began her time with us as an intern in January 2012.
 
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