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June 2011 Graduating Class

Picture of the June 2011 graduating class

Frank Carmickle & Sullivan
Kenneth Carpenter & Frannie
Corey Fancher & Pearl
Michael Freeman & Lincoln
April Havey & Joba
Christina Havey & Reagan
Tammy Jackson & Primrose
Pamela Kennedy & Ramsey
Andrea Marley & Yacht
Stephanie Ries & Holmes
Yvonne Ware & Ocho
Amelia Wasson & Persia

Home Training and Special Needs Graduates
Paula Leff & Marty
Bill McCafferty & Galaxy
Ann Nicholson & Fairest

Many thanks to our instructors:
Miranda Beckmann, Class Supervisor
Graham Buck, ACTION Instructor
Christina Vetrano, Class Instructor
Megan Crowley, Class Instructor
Julie Angle, Special Needs Home Training Instructor
Susan Kroha, Special Needs Home Training Instructor
James Gardner, Home Training Instructor
Vanessa Vinci , Instructor Assistant

Picture of Frank J Carmickle and SullivanFrank J Carmickle and Sullivan
Frank J. Carmickle is from upstate New York. In June, he was paired with his first guide dog, Sullivan, a male yellow Lab.

Frank was born with underdeveloped eyes.  Doctors attempted a cornea transplant when he was three years old, but his eye rejected it. With the help of his mother, Frank learned to read large print and Braille before going to pre-school.

A graduate of Ducane University, Frank holds a bachelors degree in music recording, and arts and sciences. He enjoys high-energy music and loves to play the guitar. After graduating, Frank worked as a private IT consultant. The recent economic downturn gave Frank the opportunity to merge his work with his passion – music.  Frank loves the challenge musical improvisation brings, and feels that “some of the most inspired moments happen during a jam session.”

Frank is married and he and his wife are expecting their first child – a boy.

A business trip to Manhattan was what prompted Frank to come to Guiding Eyes. The big city showed him how much easier travel would be with a guide dog. Sullivan has given Frank new perspective; Frank now feels he has an important reason to get out and has become fond of daily walks and exercise. While Frank works on computer projects, Sullivan provides companionship. “Overall, he’s a cool, lovable dog. A classic Lab who sleeps a lot and then jumps up and wants to play.”

Picture of Kenneth D. Carpenter and FrannieKenneth D. Carpenter and Frannie (not profiled)










Picture of Corey Fancher and PearlCorey Fancher and Pearl
Corey Fancher comes to Guiding Eyes from Alabama. He is paired with his first guide dog, Pearl, a yellow female Lab.

Corey was born with retinitis pigmentosa and began suffering vision problems in eighth grade. As his sight deteriorated, he was unable to drive a car and opted to ride a mountain bike to school.

Corey has a bachelor’s degree in educational psychology and a master’s degree in school counseling. He is employed with an International Baccalaureate program and works as an advocate and supporter for all students, truly passionate about their emotional and academic well being.

Corey spends a lot of time on the water – fishing, sailing and reading. He enjoys cooking and listening to music. He loves live music and books all the bands that come to play at one of Alabama’s local restaurants.

Corey and Pearl are becoming a great team. With Pearl, Corey is able to safely and easily enjoy traveling at night again. He will be the first guide dog user in his town, and is looking forward to getting back to the things his sight impairment made too difficult to do. Most of all, Corey values the freedom and the companionship that he shares with Pearl.

Picture of Michael Freeman and LincolnMichael Freeman and Lincoln
Michael Freeman calls North Carolina home.  He was matched with Lincoln, a male black Lab.

Michael’s vision loss was caused by glaucoma and diabetes.  He is currently employed at Raleigh Lyons Clinic for the Blind as a parts assembler. Due to his high spirits, Michael has earned the nickname “Smiley.”

Lincoln is Michael’s second guide dog, and he is looking forward to getting out and exercising with his new friend. Lincoln is more than a guide dog – he is Michael’s buddy and confidante. When sitting together, Lincoln rests his chin on Michael’s thigh, letting him know he is by his side.



Picture of April Havey and JobaApril Havey and Joba
Michigan resident April Havey was matched with Joba, a male yellow Labrador.

April graduated college with a business degree and has a passion for animals. She just recently purchased a home with her sister and classmate, Christy.

Joba is April’s second guide dog and April has loved the experience.  “The feedback from the instructors is so supportive, and having a single dorm room is great. Playing with Joba is a great stress reliever and provides additional bonding time.”




Picture of Christina Havey and ReaganChristina Havey and Reagan
Christy Havey comes to Guiding Eyes from Michigan and is matched with Reagan, a yellow male Lab.

Christy was born with optic nerve hyperplasia.  She retained a little bit of central vision, but has no peripheral vision due to the damaged optic nerves. She sees light and dark objects, but not a lot of detail.

A graduate of Bob Jones University, Christy has a broadcasting degree and looks forward to getting back into radio work.  In her free time, she likes to read, shop, and spend time outdoors.  She also likes going to parks, picnics, and the beach.  Camping is one of her favorite pastimes and she also enjoys four-wheeling.

Christy and Reagan bonded very quickly. She is looking forward to being able to walk to any destination of her choice.

Picute of Tammy Jackson and PrimroseTammy Jackson and Primrose
Tammy Jackson came from Illinois for Primrose, a female yellow Lab.   Her vision loss is due to retinitis pigmentosa.

Tammy recently graduated from DePaul University in Chicago with an education degree.   She likes reading, hanging out with her nieces and nephews, and enjoys walking. Tammy volunteers as a coach for low income students, assisting them with college applications and financial aid.

Tammy is looking forward to getting out without being fearful of uneven sidewalks and lighting.   With her new guide dog by her side, Tammy will never have to be anxious again.




Picture of Pamela Kennedy and RamseyPamela Kennedy and Ramsey
Pamela Kennedy returns to Guiding Eyes from Alabama for Ramsey – a yellow Golden Retriever / Labrador cross.

Pam’s retinitis pigmentosa causes her eyes to dance, and she is unable to see any color.  Pamela decided to get a guide dog while traveling. She was uncomfortable consistently asking others for help, and she realized it was time to make a life change.

Pam looks forward to introducing Ramsey to her son, daughter, and three grandchildren.  Back at home, he’ll also get to meet some bigger furry friends.  Pam works with quarter horses and teaches lessons and horse care.

Ramey will accompany Pam this fall on a cruise to Alaska – the first of many trips this team will take together.


Picture of Andrea Marley and YachtAndrea Marley and Yacht
Andrea Marley will return home to Ohio with yellow Lab Yacht.

Andrea attended the University of Toledo in Ohio and has a master’s degree in adaptive technology.  She now works as a teacher; her students are visually impaired kids from kindergarten through high school.

Andrea stays active and busy.  She spends lots of time with friends and enjoys the thriving theater district in downtown Chicago.

Due to a degenerative eye disease, Andrea’s vision loss will get worse with time.  She chose to get a guide dog so that she could move more quickly and fluidly.   She related to Yacht easily – liking his sensitivity and good manners with children.  She describes him as “the perfect little gentleman with a playful side.”


Picture of Stephanie Ries and HolmesStephanie Ries and Holmes
Wisconsin resident Stephanie Ries was matched with Holmes, a male yellow Lab.

She is a student at the University of Wisconsin majoring in technical communications. She lives with her parents and has two brothers and a sister.

Stephanie became interested in Guiding Eyes for the Blind after her mother met one of the school’s graduates.  She is looking forward to this new chapter in her life – a new beginning. She will be going back to school this fall with Holmes and is much calmer about traveling at night.  She no longer has to worry about being stuck in her room in the evenings, or of skipping dinner because it’s dark outside.  With Holmes by her side, Stephanie truly feels like she will be able to take on the world.

Picture of Yvonne Ware and OchoYvonne Ware and Ocho
Yvonne is from New Jersey and is matched with Ocho, a male yellow Lab.

Yvonne was born with diabetic retinopathy.  He comes from a very large family; he has seven sisters and seven brothers!  As the oldest child, Yvonne has become the dedicated family historian; all his relatives call him when they need information.

Yvonne worked for 10 years as an elephant trainer at the circus. He worked eight to nine months with the elephants and would clean, paint, and teach new tricks to the animals during the off months.

Yvonne’s journey to Guiding Eyes began three years ago, when he became friends with a co-worker who had a guide dog.  His decision to come to Guiding Eyes was also prompted by his efforts to bring more positivity to his life.   Yvonne will soon head back to college, and hopes to open a convenience stand in a local office building.

Picture of Amelia Wasson and PersiaAmelia Wasson and Persia
Amelia Wasson is from Indiana. She is matched with her first guide dog, Persia, a gorgeous female yellow Lab.

Amelia was studying nursing at Indiana University East while working nights at a nursing home.  She was driving home from work when she fell asleep; she lost her vision in the resulting car accident.  The biggest adjustment for her was relying on others to get around.

Amelia lives with her parents, younger brother and three dogs. She’ll be attending Ivy Tech in Indiana this fall, with a major in human services.

Amelia loves listening to music and spending time with friends and family. She feels fortunate to be able to spend time with her grandparents. She enjoys watching movies and taking walks in the sunshine; summer has always been her favorite season.  Amelia is looking forward to getting home to the big butterfly garden by her pool that will be in full bloom upon her return!

Amelia is so glad that Persia will help give her the independence she has been craving since she lost her sight.  Her experience at Guiding Eyes has been everything she expected – and more.