Keystone Heights Animal Hospital

7344 State Road 100
Keystone Heights , FL 32656


Darlene Rivera, C.V.T. - Practice Manager

Darlene grew up on a dairy farm in Pennsylvania until she was 13 when she moved to Interlachen, Florida. She has always had a love for animals, but found her true calling when she was 17 and volunteered at a veterinary office.  Soon she was hired by that practice as a kennel assistant.  For the next 14 years, Darlene worked as a receptionist, technician, and then office manager.  In 2006, while continuing to work full time, Darlene decided to go back to school to earn her Associate in Science Degree in Veterinary Technology.  Having graduated in 2009, we are very proud to have a licensed Certified Veterinary Technician on our team.  Darlene has worked with Dr. Blackburn since 2001, and her diverse knowledge of the profession, her experience, and her drive and dedication make her an essential part of the Keystone Heights Animal Hospital team. 

Darlene lives in Keystone Heights with her husband, William, and their two girls, Marissa and Mia. They have a scruffy dog named Patches that they rescued in 2012. Darlene spends most of her free time helping her girls with cheerleading and gymnastics. She also enjoys teaching a fitness class at the local gym and taking beach trips to St. Augustine with her kids.

Keystone Heights Animal Hospital | Keystone Heights, Florida | Samantha CiccaroneSam Ciccarone - Veterinary Technician

Sam is a Florida native and has lived in Putnam County her entire life.  Working with animals has always been a dream of hers.  In 2009, Sam was eager to enter the veterinary field and took a position as a cleaner at a local animal hospital.  Her strong work ethic and dedication were immediately evident and she soon began training for a technician position.  Sam has a unique ability to understand and relate to animals which makes her an excellent technician.  She instinctively knows how to keep an animal calm during times of stress and has a gentle nature even with our feisty feline friends.  Although she only recently joined the Keystone Heights Animal Hospital team in June 2013, she has worked with Dr. Blackburn since 2009. 

Sam lives with her husband Mike, her daughter Claudia, and her son Adam.  Like most veterinary technicians, Sam's love and compassion for animals carries over into her own home.  In addition to fostering needy animals for the S.P.C.A. of North Florida, her permanent family includes 8 dogs, 8 cats, 2 guinea pigs, 2 goats, 1 potbelly pig, 15 chickens and fish.  On her days off, when she isn't tending to her own animals, Sam enjoys spending time with her kids, working outside with her flowers and plants, and watching Gator football.


Kimberly "Kimmi" Guerrieri - Veterinary Technician

Kimmi is originally from Toms River, NJ.  She moved to Davenport, FL in 1999 with her parents and attended Ridge Community High School.  After graduation, Kimmie did not know what she wanted to pursue as a career choice.  Although she excelled at many sports in high school including soccer, track and field, and swimming, she knew that her dream of becoming a professional athlete was not a practical one nor her real passion.  With guidance from her sister, Tiffany, Kimmie enrolled in Penn Foster College and became a certified veterinary assistant in 2012.  She is currently enrolled and studying for her associates degree in veterinary technology.  Kimmie joined the Keystone Heights Animal Hospital team in December 2013.  Her school education and hands on experience allows Kimmie to provide premier care to our patients on a daily basis. 

Kimmie lives in Keystone Heights with her rescued Jack Russell mix, Auto, and pet miniature pot bellied pig, Chevy.  When not studying for school and working, her free time is spent out on one of our beautiful local lakes boating, fishing, and enjoying the outdoors.  

 Kelsey - Veterinary Technician

Kelsey grew up in Lutz, FL and recently moved to Starke, FL for College. She’s currently going to Santa Fe College and plans on transferring to UF to pursue her career in Vet medicine. Growing up around animals her whole life, Kelsey has always had a dream to work with them. From being in FFA to taking vet classes in high school, she always had the passion to learn more to help animals. She volunteered at a clinic in Lutz and after a year of hard work and dedication they hired her on as a veterinary assistant. When she moved for college she knew she wanted to stay on the same career path and that’s when she found Keystone Heights Animal Hospital. She’s started working for us in January 2017. 

Kelsey lives in Starke with her two Australian Shepherds, Molly May and Maya. When she’s not busy with school or work you can find her at the beach, deep sea fishing, or hanging out with friends in St. Augustine.

Caiti Kirtley - Veterinary Assistant

Bio coming soon!

Brittany Welsh

Brittney Glisson

Alisha Lester


Candy Henry - Receptionist & Public Relations

Candy grew up in Jacksonville living near NAS Jax since her dad was a Chief in the Navy. After high school Candy moved to the Gainesville area and worked for 18 years at Gainesville Eye Clinic before having her two daughters. Candy is also a former co-owner of a veterinary practice and has over 30 years of veterinary care experience, 13 of those years have been spent working with Dr. Blackburn. Whether she’s working in the front office greeting clients or working in the back taking care of animals, Candy is happy to be a part of the Keystone Heights Animal Hospital team and looks forward to meeting you and your four legged family members.

Candy lives in Putnam County with her two daughters and many pets. On her days off, she enjoys being outside and loves anything to do with the water, beach and boating.