Our Team

Dedicated to Making a Difference…

Lee Conger

President & Lead Trainer

Lee is responsible for training/evaluating each dog team (handler and dog) in basic obedience and tasks related to assisting disabled veterans.  Lee was an instructor at the 341st/Dog Training Section (DTS) and Military Working Dog (MWD) Academy, Lackland AFB, TX from 1999 to 2002, training MWDs both pre- and post- 9/11. MWDs were trained in both patrol work/handler protection and in the detection of either explosives or narcotics. Lee trained over 100 MWDs, while assisting in the training of countless other MWDs as team leader of one of the six training teams, each with 11 personnel. After his tour of duty at the 341st, Lee continued the field training and deployment preparation of MWD teams at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine for Individual Augmentation (IA) in support of Enduring Freedom for both Iraq and Afghanistan until he retired from military service in June 2007. In September 2008, Lee certified as an American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Trainer/Evaluator and continues his education in dog training.

Julie Sanderson

CEO and Cofounder, Director of W.O.O.F.

Cofounded Patriot Service Dogs in 2009 and created the W.O.O.F. program at Lowell Correctional Institution in 2011. Julie volunteered for New Horizons Service Dogs, raising and training puppies from 2000 to 2007 and was a volunteer puppy raiser for CCI from 2000 to 2003.

Julie has a BS in Early Childhood Education, specializing in disabilities/ELL from the College of Central Florida, as well as a BS in Business Management. She has a MSW from Saint Leo University.

Lori Frye


As a member of the Board, the Treasurer oversees the management and reporting of finances and provides the annual budget for the Board members’ approval. Lori has twenty years of experience in accounting, customer service, supervisory, secretarial and office management. Currently working as Assistant Controller for Taylor Residences, Lori earned a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from American Public University.

Ivette Alvarez


Ivette brings a strong background in dog training to Patriot Service Dogs. As secretary she is in contact with our past recipient veterans and is active in community outreach.

Garth Franz

Board Member

Garth brings a business background working with CSX in a management position. He knows Patriot Service Dogs from many aspects, including as a volunteer, a financial supporter, and a spokesman. Garth proudly served in the Army for 20 years reaching the rank of Captain. He has a Masters Degree in Systems Development and a Bachelors in History and has served on the board of the Boy Scouts and Holy Catholic Family Church.

Mike Appelbaum

Village Coordinator

Mike Appelbaum is the Village Coordinator. He brings a strong past of board participation, having served on the United Cerebral Palsy of Broward County and the Broward Zoological Society Markham Park. He has been a volunteer for the past seven years and has helped us establish our presence in the Villages, FL.

Patriot Service Dogs