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November 2014 Graduate Class


Thank you to the sponsors of this month’s graduation ceremony:

We are grateful for Harold Skolnick’s generosity to sponsor the training of Guiding Eyes Baldwin.

We also thank the Fain Family for their support of our video streaming capabilities. Click here to view the November graduation online.

Residential Graduates
Tom & Baldwin
Anna & Lucinda
Shari & Indiana
Christina & Trinket
Mike & Timmy
Rachel & Jarvis
Sandra & Icabod
William & Nemo
Alan & Baker
Gail & Pippi

Home Training Graduates
Frank and Rudolf
Paul and Lava

Many thanks to our instructors
Miranda Beckmann, Class Supervisor
Woody Curry, Class Instructor
Megan Crowley, Class Instructor
Jolene Hollister, ACTION Instructor
Jim Gardner, Home Training
Chrissy Vetrano, Home Training
Dan Weesner, Instructor Assistant

tom-baldwinTom and Baldwin

Tom and male yellow Labrador Baldwin will return home to Ohio; Tom’s wife and two young daughters can’t wait to welcome Tom’s guide dog into the family.

Tom speaks five languages and is a natural entrepreneur; in high school he invented a Braille printer and wrote a talking dictionary. He has masters’ degrees in American History and International Commerce and Policy. Tom is employed at IBM where he works with developers on mobile accessibility projects and accessibility compliance. Tom loves spending time with his family, traveling, coin collecting and reading.

Tom shares, “Baldwin is my first guide dog, and I can already see how much of a difference he will make in my life. Just a short time ago, we were introduced as strangers. Today, he gets excited when I pick up the harness to get on the road. I have such a joy working with him and taking care of him. He is the kindest, most well-mannered dog I have ever met.

There are no words to express what it means to me to be able to continue functioning like my sighted friends and family members. I am excited to bring my new friend home, and make him part of our family.”

Congratulations to Baldwin’s puppy raisers – The Johnson Family!

anna-lucindaAnna and Lucinda

Anna traveled from Canada for Lucinda, a black Labrador and her first guide dog.

Anna lost her vision a year and a half ago due to diabetic retinopathy. She is very close to her family and the support of her older sister and husband have made it possible for her to continue doing the things she loves. Anna enjoys walking, even more now with Lucinda by her side.

Congratulations to Lucinda’s puppy raiser – Ashley Hunt!

shari-indianaShari and Indiana

Shari was matched with female black Labrador Indiana, her third guide dog.

Shari’s vision loss was caused by uveitis and secondary glaucoma. She attended Pitzer College and received her bachelor’s degree in sociology / psychology and her master’s degree in counseling. Today she works as both a therapist and a yoga instructor. She also runs the Jewish Latino Teen Coalition; the organization brings American high school students for leadership training and lessons in cultural sensitivity.

Shari is also involved with her family’s foundation, which distributes Automatic External Defibrillators to first responders. She loves spending time with her son and her two nieces and nephews. She shares, “Keep an open mind, an open heart and a sense of humor; your attitude will follow.”

Congratulations to Indiana’s puppy raisers – Ron & Ann Mochinski!

christina-trinketChristina and Trinket

Minnesota resident Christina was matched with a black female Labrador named Trinket.

Christina was born with corneal disease. Early transplants worked in one eye but began to fail during her senior year in high school; today she has only central vision. Christina has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and works as a technician in a vision research lab. She plans to participate in many walk-a-thons and charity events with Trinket. They’ll attend comedy shows and Trinket will keep Christina company while she learns to play the guitar.

Congratulations to Trinket’s puppy raiser – Fernando J. Maymi!

gail-pippiGail and Pippi

Gail and female black Labrador Pippi will return home to Georgia.

Gail’s vision loss is caused by retinitis pigmentosa. She has limited central vision. She began using a cane three years ago and knew immediately that it wouldn’t be the right long term solution. Gail attended the University of Michigan and has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in reading. She is a retired schoolteacher and now writes children’s books. The main character of her stories is a dog. Her hobbies include reading, jewelry making and long walks.

Congratulations to Pippi’s puppy raisers – The Pechette Family!

mike-timmyMike and Timmy

Mike and his wife of 20 years met in college and live in Kentucky with their four children – two boys and two girls. Black Labrador Timmy is his first guide dog.

Mike was serving his second term in the United States Air Force when he was medically discharged as a result of his vision loss. He has an undergraduate degree from Salisbury, a master’s from George Washington and he attended medical school at Kansas City University. Nowadays Mike is a family physician with his own practice. His family and career keep him very busy yet he loves to read and follow baseball. Mike knows Timmy will help him maintain his independence.

Congratulations to Timmy’s puppy raisers – Alena Gribskov & Alexander Guiha!

rachel-jarvisRachel and Jarvis

Rachel was matched with her third guide dog – a male black Labrador named Jarvis. Her husband and retired guide are waiting in Minnesota for their return.

Rachel was only six years old when a car accident left her totally blind. She attended the University of Kansas for her bachelors’ degrees in geography and mass communications and her master’s degree in Interaction Design. She works as the Assistive Technology Specialist at PACER Center. In addition, she has her own business as an accessibility consultant for business designers and developers. She believes that following accessibility guidelines improves technology experiences for everyone. Her hobbies include pottery, running, weight lifting, fitness boot camp, horseback riding and ice skating. Her advice is, “Happiness is a state of mind. Be persistent and don’t give up.”

Congratulations to Jarvis’ puppy raisers – Kathleen Hayward and Carol J. Rogers!

sandra-icabodSandra and Icabod

New Yorker Sandra was matched with black Lab Icabod, her fourth guide dog.

Sandra majored in psychology and minored in education at York College. She worked as a receptionist and is now retired. Her favorite hobby is Karate and she is a second-degree black belt. She enjoys knitting, crochet, taking computer classes, practicing yoga and Tai Chi and participating in a book club.

Congratulations to Icabod’s puppy raisers – Mark & Nancy Spaulding!

william-nemoWilliam and Nemo

William traveled from California for his second guide dog, Nemo, a male yellow Labrador.

William lost his vision due to diabetic retinopathy. He is married and has a daughter, two stepsons and four granddaughters. He was a cabinetmaker by trade and designed and built bathrooms and kitchens. For many years he has enjoyed restoring the 1910 home he lives in with his wife. William is a spokesperson for the organization “Pets Are A Wonderful Support.” Nemo will be a welcome addition to his active and enjoyable life.

Congratulations to Nemo’s puppy raisers – The Brado Family!

alan-bakerAlan and Baker

Alan comes to Guiding Eyes for his second guide dog. He is matched with a yellow male Labrador named Baker. They will return home to North Carolina.

Alan’s vision loss was caused by cone rod dystrophy, a form of retinitis pigmentosa. He is married, has five sons, twelve grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Alan earned his bachelor’s degree from Clarke University. He majored in business and enjoyed a dual career; he was a computer programmer and mainframe software engineer for Digital Equipment Corporation and a member of the Air National Guard. He enjoys a very active retirement and regularly plays cards, swims and exercises and collects coins and stamps.

Congratulations to Baker’s puppy raisers – The Phil Melendez Family!

Congratulations to the raisers of the guide dogs placed through November Home Trainings:
Rudolf: The Carolin Family and Tammy & Darren Sikon
Lava: The Rowland Family