When Molly Marino left the community after graduating from Howland High School in 1991, her plan was to work in the corporate field. And she succeeded for 15 years, working as head of marketing for several large companies, including Ford and White Castle.
Marino attended Miami University in Oxford where she obtained two degrees in mass communication and public relations. From there she went into the advertising business, working for a while in Detroit before moving to Chicago in 1997.
After working in the corporate field for 15 years, Marino made the decision to become an entrepreneur. With the influence of a family back in Howland with successful careers in real estate, Marino obtained her license in Indiana and began rehabilitating and renovating homes.
Special to Howland Community News
Former Howland graduate Molly Marino now lives in Chicago but has used her connections in Howland to help with English Bulldog rescue. Marino has been rescuing animals since 2005 when she founded the Chicago English Bulldog Rescue organization.
But it was her love of animals, which she attributes to her Howland roots, that prompted her to open a dog boarding and dog-walking business in Chicago. She finally was able to save enough money to purchase her first first dog as an adult, an English Bulldog puppy. The puppy died after just two years of a congenital disease, Marino said.
She later learned her puppy came from a commercial breeding operation, also known as a puppy mill. After researching the breeder, Marino also learned about her dog's breeder and was later called to testify at a court case against him.
''I realized I had to do something about this,'' she said.
With that knowledge, Marino decided to found Chicago English Bulldog Rescue.
''We began with two people, myself and another woman,'' Marino said. ''In the first year, we probably put about 15 dogs into homes. Now we average about 150 dogs per year.''
Marino not only opened her own rescue organization, which now has as many as 75 to 80 volunteers, she obtained a business degree from the University of Chicago and became certified as a humane investigator with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. She also investigates cases of animal cruelty and neglect.
Marino's family still lives in Howland, Warren and Niles. Her parents, Bernice and Dominic Marino work with Northwoods Realty Service and are retired teachers, her mother from Howland schools and her father from Warren City.
''My grandpa on my mom's side was a huge animal lover,'' Marino said. ''He was a soft touch when it came to animals and my mom certainly has that too.''
Her mother has been a volunteer with the Trumbull County Animal Welfare League for more than 20 years, Marino said.
It was during a trip back to Howland that Marino learned that dogs in Trumbull County are often euthanized using carbon monoxide. She took that information back to Chicago, spoke to an attorney and was able to be part of a bill that stopped the practice of using that method in Illinois.
Her mother, Marino said, has been able to give her long-distance help with her rescue organization.
''On several occasions, I've gotten a call for a dog that needs rescued and has to travel through Warren,'' she said. ''I can call my mom and although she's not involved in Bulldog Rescue, she can help get the dog through one one leg of its journey to a new home. I'm so appreciative.''
Marino also said she is keeping up with local news, particularly the plans to expand the Trumbull County Animal Welfare League and their plans for a new shelter.
''I've been following it very closely, and lending assistance when I can,'' she said.
Marino still keeps in touch with her hometown friends.
''When I think about Howland, I think of a tight knit community,'' she said. ''It is very different than where I am now in downtown Chicago, but still it feels good to come back home and take a break from the city.''
Yet the longer Marino lives in the big city, the smaller it gets, she said.
''I think its funny when I'm walking in downtown Chicago and run into someone I knew in Ohio,'' she said.