Brandon G. Phillips is both a successful business entrepreneur and a champion of nonprofit causes. He has guided the growth of numerous projects from planning and development to sustainability by successfully maximizing cutting-edge business concepts in start-up ventures and possessing a strong understanding of consumer and investor needs. A University of Michigan graduate, Mr. Phillips founded Global HR Research (GHRR). As GHRR’s president, he has developed the company to where it now counts Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, governmental agencies, and health care providers among its client base, garnering him national acclaim.
As an active member of his community, Mr. Phillips donates his time and expertise to help nonprofit organizations. He and his daughter met Trouper and Dorothy (Dot) Lee by happenstance at one of the pair’s personal appearances on Sanibel Island, Florida. Mr. Phillips says his heart went out to them immediately upon hearing Trouper’s harrowing story. As an entrepreneur who already served on the board of several nonprofit organizations, he saw helping to establish WEP as an opportunity to show his children that it is possible to create positive change to better the world.
With a master’s of education from Smith College in Massachusetts, Judy Louis was a schoolteacher before retiring to Sanibel Island. She became a volunteer with the island’s wildlife hospital, CROW — the Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife.
In 2012, one of her neighbors called and told her that, if she did not drive immediately to a book signing taking place on the island, she would regret it. Her curiosity piqued, Ms. Louis followed her neighbor’s advice and met Trouper, Dot Lee, and Kyle Miller at the book signing. She noticed the sheer amount of equipment required to make a personal appearance with Trouper and wondered how Dot and Kyle managed carrying it all, and Trouper as well. She saw the opportunity to volunteer, and she has been a part of Trouper’s team ever since, providing invaluable logistical help with his personal appearances.
The education and work experience that Dorothy “Dot” Lee experienced prepared her for a role she never imagined would become her life’s mission — the full-time caretaker for Trouper the Blind Raccoon and presenter of educational workshops to children and adults about respecting wildlife. Ms. Lee has applied everything she learned as a physical education teacher with a Master’s Degree in Special Education from the University of North Carolina, as Special Olympics swimming coach, and as a licensed wildlife rehabilitator to her fulltime role as caretaker for the brain-damaged raccoon.
Ms. Lee describes Trouper as a rehabilitation project in progress. She has taught him how to walk and swim and is attempting to teach him how to lap at food and water, since he is unable to feed himself. She spends a good part of her day — every day —putting food and water into Trouper’s mouth for him. Ms. Lee holds both Florida and USDA licenses to keep Trouper as a non-releasable raccoon for educational purposes. Part of Dot’s duties are to make sure Trouper has his visits to a veterinarian and is fully vaccinated. She conducts educational presentations at schools, libraries, churches, and other groups with Trouper.