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November/December 2013 Graduate Class

Group photo - class of Nov Dec 2013

Special recognition and thanks to our 2013 Graduation Sponsor, Sally Stokhamer.

We are extremely grateful for Carolyn Guyon’s generosity in sponsoring the training of Guiding Eyes Token. “Token, a nice dog for a nice lady.”

Meet our Residential Graduates
Ledale & Rusty
Betsy & Token
Susan & Fabri
Michele & Wyman
Barbara & Carmel
Barbara & Pastel
Kaye & Liberty
Carlton & Cairo

Home Training Graduates
Shirley & Leroy
Karen & Polaris

Many thanks to our instructors
Melinda Angstrom, Class Supervisor
Michelle Tang, Class Instructor
Lori Busse, Class Instructor
Andrea Martine, Lisa Derleth – Home Trainings
Will Kruse, Instructor Assistant


Ledale and Rusty

Ledale returns to Guiding Eyes for her third guide dog. Rusty, a male black and tan Labrador, will head to Alabama where Ledale’s husband, daughter and two grandchildren eagerly await.

Ledale’s vision loss was caused by cone rod dystrophy. She attended mainstream schools and worked as a licensed medical transcriptionist in children’s rehabilitation services for 23 years before retiring to take care of her grandchildren. Her hobbies include music, cooking, cleaning and socializing with friends. She’s also a huge fan of college football – particularly the Auburn Tigers. Rusty will help her remain independent; he’ll be her guide, companion and friend.

Congratulations and thank you to Puppy Raiser Maribeth Stolfi! 

Betsy and Token

Betsy and her husband Bill live in North Carolina. This month she was matched with her second guide dog, a female yellow Labrador named Token.

Betsy’s vision loss is due to retinitis pigmentosa. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Ohio Wesleyan University and taught elementary English, Spanish and ESL. She retired after 13 years and is now pursuing a singing career. Betsy belongs to a book club, works out, climbs mountains and enjoys time at the beach with her husband, a die-hard Tar Heels fan. In keeping with tradition, the coaches will sign Token’s harness.

Betsy is a Trustee for the Foundation Fighting Blindness, as well as a public speaker and a mentor for blind children. Token will accompany her in all her travels as her “mellow yellow.” “She is gentle, kind and eager to work,” Betsy shares. “I feel completely safe with everything we do together.” The future holds much for this team.

Congratulations and thank you to Puppy Raiser Julia Graser!

Susan and Fabri

Susan was matched with Fabri, a female black Labrador. This team will head home to Massachusetts.

Susan was two years old when an eye infection developed into glaucoma and keratopathy. After several surgeries, damage to the optic nerve prevented further attempts to restore her vision. Her parents encouraged her to be active and she spent her childhood roller-skating, ice-skating and bike riding.

Susan graduated from Perkins School for the Blind, where she ran track and participated in gymnastics and the glee club. She has three children and seven grandchildren. Her hobbies include gardening, cooking, skiing, decorating for the holidays and feeding and caring for her garden’s many birds.

Congratulations and thank you to Puppy Raisers Jen & Brian Cromwell-Reed!

Michele and Wyman

Michele and male yellow Lab Wyman will return home to Florida. Michele’s three kids are excited to meet their mom’s first guide dog.

Michele lost her vision as a result of multiple sclerosis. She is an Air Force veteran and a certified medical assistant; she is currently studying for her bachelor’s degree in psychology. Michele and her family regularly enjoy visiting Disney World. She shares her emotions meeting Wyman as, “Overwhelming, like when they handed me my firstborn.” She is grateful for the training and support from Guiding Eyes. She knows when she graduates it will be the beginning of an exciting adventure and a future filled with promise.

Congratulations and thank you to Puppy Raiser Elizabeth Lilly!  

Barbara and Carmel

Barbara lives in Pennsylvania; this month she was matched with female yellow Lab Carmel.

Several factors led to Barbara’s vision loss: retinopathy of prematurity, retinitis pigmentosa and cataracts. This busy mother of four and grandmother of eight returned to college for her degree in social work and works as an activity specialist with mentally challenged seniors. She enjoys bowling, knitting and Bingo, playing the latter with Brailled Bingo cards. She also loves to travel, and this team will enjoy lots of adventures together. Carmel will have the company of Barbara’s retired guide dog, Wilson, when she isn’t working.

Congratulations and thank you to Puppy Raiser Eileen Dorian!


Barbara and Pastel

Floridian Barbara was matched with female yellow Lab Pastel, her fourth dog from Guiding Eyes.

Barbara has retinitis pigmentosa. She has two grown daughters, two step-children and ten grandchildren – all scattered across the country and providing Barbara with wonderful reasons to travel. She graduated from Perkins School for the Blind and went to college after raising her children. She is now retired from her job as a safety defects analyst for the federal government. Barbara enjoys swimming, crochet, knitting, exercise, reading and cooking. She is looking forward to feeling safer with Pastel beside her.

Congratulations and thank you to Puppy Raiser Richard Briggs! 
Kaye and Liberty

Kaye and female black Labrador Liberty will head home together to Washington State.

Kaye has retinopathy of prematurity. She was born in Canada and moved to the United States as a teenager. She has a bachelor’s degree in music and a master’s degree in counseling. Kaye taught piano for several years and now volunteers in the hospice area of the Veteran’s Administration Hospital, where she facilitates a group for blind and visually impaired men and women. She loves to knit and enjoys participating in Sweet Adeline, a woman’s barbershop choir that performs and competes locally. Liberty gives Kaye the confidence to travel more. Kaye feels her guide dogs have always helped her to break the ice and she looks forward to many years of working with Liberty.

Congratulations and thank you to Puppy Raiser Eric Morrow!

Carlton and Cairo

Carlton will return home to Virginia with his second guide dog, a male yellow Labrador named Cairo. He retired his first guide, Yaeger, upon coming into this class.

Carlton appreciates everything Guiding Eyes does from raising and training the dogs, respecting the needs of the students and graduating working teams prepared for a future together.

Congratulations and thank you to Puppy Raiser Therese Duncan!

Congratulations and thanks to the raisers of this month’s home-trained dogs, Carolyn Bugbee for Leroy and Hannah Kent for Polaris!