Humane Society expands board breadth with new member - Kelly Brooks

Kelly Brooks Paradise is the daughter of Herb Brooks, mother of three and a lover of rescue dogs.

Kelly Brooks Paradise poses with her rescued dog Lucy, an 8-year-old lab/pitbull mix, who was a stray in Rochester. Submitted photo

With epic plans of fundraising for a new facility, the Wadena County Humane Society (WCHS) board welcomed new board member Kelly Brooks Paradise to the team recently.

Paradise has a background in international advertising campaigns, is a founding member of the Herb Brooks Foundation and is the daughter of the same head coach of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic hockey team. While her marketing background will no doubt be a boon for the local group, her love for saving dogs brings her in alignment with this organization that has been increasingly adopting out dogs and cats from across the country back out to much of the Midwest.

Paradise has worked on several international advertising campaigns including print, TV and radio production. She is now a full-time mother, but finds the time to apply her creativity and marketing skills to various non-profit organizations.

Kelly and her husband Marc have three children - Olivia, Tommy and Joe. Their daughter is a tennis player and the twin boys are hockey players. With the three kids now in college, and Paradise being a full-time mom, she said she wanted to find more ways to give back. Since she is friends with current WCHS board president Tracy Adams Kooman, she quickly heard of an opportunity to put her skills to work.

"My passion is helping others," Paradise said in a recent phone interview. "I'm the crazy dog lady. We rescue and I love my rescues (dogs)."


Paradise said she fell in love with the work of the WCHS when she started hearing about their mission and their dreams to grow.

"I mean over 2,000 animals since 2016 is really impressive," Paradise said of the amount of animals adopted out in recent years out of the Wadena location. "I wanted to get involved and help them build this new shelter and raise money. I think they are going to be one of the biggest in the Midwest."

Paradise lives in St. Paul and said she looks for opportunities to share the news of this shelter moving forward in Wadena. She says it doesn't take long after sharing the mission to find support for this project. While she is not in close proximity to the facility she has been able to help right where she is. She's got plenty on her plate along with the rest of the board as they embark on a $2 million capital campaign to remodel an existing building in Wadena and expand the offerings on their way to becoming a major animal shelter hub in the Midwest.

Father's influence

Most know Paradise's connection to her father through the hockey world. What many people may not know is that Herb Brooks was a dog lover, too. That's something that also rubbed off on his daughter.

After long weeks on the road or even overseas coaching and being in the spotlight, Brooks always enjoyed coming home and getting some love from the family dogs in his life, Paradise said.

"When he would come home to an animal, it was so peaceful, just someone to relax with and someone to make it feel like home, it was just neat to see that side of him," Paradise said.

Brooks was known to have rescue dogs and his daughter said the reasoning was simple. As she can see with her rescue dog Lucy, a rescue dog just seems to have an amazing gratitude for the family that welcomes them into their home.

"My rescue, I swear she looks at me and just thanks me everyday," Paradise said. Her current rescue, Lucy, is a lab/pit bull mix that was found as a stray in Rochester.


Paradise will be taking on roles in event planning, fundraising and marketing for the board and plans to continue to make visits to the site on her way to visit her boys in college.

Others looking to help the organization can find out more by visiting the Wadena County Humane Society website . The board is currently looking for additional members to join the ranks and see this organization into a new era.

Michael Johnson is the news editor for Agweek. He lives in rural Deer Creek, Minn., where he is starting to homestead with his two children and wife.
You can reach Michael at or 218-640-2312.
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