Dear GDUI Members and Friends,
Appropriately for the beginning of December, our announcement for this week focuses on fund-raising events (including lots of opportunities to shop) and a certain amount of nostalgia. Of course, that’s not all that’s going on in GDUI. Members of the GDUI Budget and Finance Committee have been hard at work since Thanksgiving going over our budget for 2016, looking at numbers and balancing columns, peering into cloudy crystal balls, and, generally, wishing we had more dollars to work with. Steve and Will and Dixie and Annie have been paying attention to our web site and making sure that every aspect of our new membership-centered software is up and running as expected. Please remember, December is the month when we concentrate even more directly than usual on memberships. The new membership “plug-in” on our web site, http://guidedogusersinc.org/join/, is ready for your input, and if you’d rather join GDUI or renew your membership the old-fashioned way, our Secretary and Office Manager, Sarah Calhoun, is ready and eager to receive your membership information via our toll-free phone line, as well. Call 866.799.8436 to join or renew. Annual membership costs only $15, and that entitles you to membership in both GDUI and the American Council of the Blind (ACB), a subscription to “The ACB Braille Forum,” a subscription to “PawTracks,” and all the additional benefits of membership in both our affiliated organizations.
Though Summer Seems Far Off in the Future, GDUI’s Summer Drawing Officially Launched on December 1!
Bob Acosta, Chairperson for Fund-Raising, announced the launch of the GDUI Summer Drawing Extravaganza on December 1. Tickets for the summer drawing cost only $10 apiece. The cause is definitely worthwhile – we’re raising funds to bring at least one lucky winner (maybe more) to GDUI’s 2017 summer convention), and the prizes are appealing! The drawing will take place at the GDUI Luncheon at next summer’s convention in Minneapolis – and, no, you do not need to be present to win!
Bob says, “We are already collecting some wonderful prizes and more are on the way.
Grand prize: $1500.00 donated by helping hands for the Blind.
First Prize: a $500.00 gift card donated by helping hands for the Blind.
Second Prize: A Bose Wave Radio.
Third prize: A Keurig Coffee Machine.
Fourth Prize: a George foreman Grill with Removable Plates.
Fifth Prize: A lovely clock donated by Speak to Me Catalog.
Shortly, we shall have a full description of all of our prizes on our web site.”
Call Sarah, toll-free, at 866.799.8436, purchase one or more tickets and register your intention to win one of these fabulous prizes!
Cruise News: GDUI’s Group Has Already Achieved the Status of a Group!
This statement isn’t as redundant as it sounds. What our group status means is that, having already reserved eight cabins, everyone in GDUI’s group will now qualify for special additional amenities. These will be determined closer to the date of departure for Bermuda, October 9, 2016. For more detailed information about our GDUI Sea Cruise to Bermuda, visit our web site, http://guidedogusersinc.org/join-us-on-a-sea-cruise-to-bermuda/, or call Norwegian Cruise line Coordinator for our group, Michelle Zimmerman here, 877.416.9722.
Non-24 Sleep-Wake Disorder: Participate in a Survey to Better Understand the Condition.
ACB is sending this survey to its members on behalf of a third-party firm seeking to research and better understand the condition “Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder” among people who are totally blind.
The survey should take only 1 to 2 minutes. Please complete only if you are totally blind. After completing the survey, you will be entered to win a $100 gift card. Winners will be notified via email.
Thank you for your assistance!
Access the survey here:
Good Shopping Opportunities and Fun at the ACB Radio Auction, Sunday, December 6!
Whether you’ll be lighting the first candle on your family’s Menorah on Sunday evening or making a list and checking it twice, you’ll find all kinds of appealing items up for auction at the ACB Radio winter auction, beginning at 7:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, and continuing until 11:00 p.m. Listen on www.acbradio.org or on your phone by dialing 605-475-8130. You can see auction rules and procedures and view photos of items by visiting:
Some of the items we noticed in the auction catalog that will be particularly tempting for guide dog owners (and our dogs) include:
GDUI’s contribution, collected and put together by our own Connie Jacomini, GDUI Products Manager: No. 25 (mid-event). Doggie Duffel Package A very nice Haul Bag from Ruffwear filled with a haul of essentials for the travelling dog. Sturdy gray and green duffel with pouches inside and out; opens wide for easy use. Inside is a Lixit 20-oz.
portable sport bottle for dogs, 1 tub of Musher’s Secret, 1 Kong Extreme (large), 2 Nyla bones, a Cool-it bandana, a CLIX treat bag, a RUFFWEAR quencher collapsible bowl, Poops! 400 pet waste bags, a 6-foot tie-out cable, and a pet toothbrush set. AND there is still room for more stuff in this large bag. Duffel measures 16.5 in. long,
11.5 in. high and 11.5 in. wide. Donated by Guide Dog Users Inc. (GDUI)
• No. 47 (later on in the evening) Plush Black Lab in Harness This cute guide puppy is on the job, ready to visit many great and wonderful places. Approximately 12 inches tall. Comes with his own handmade guide dog harness, collar, leash, and personalized name tag.
Donated by Keri Bishop, Tucson, AZ.
No. 1 (First item up!) My Doggie and Me Christmas Stockings This matching set of Christmas stockings comes complete with stuffers for both you and your canine friend, and they’re just right for hanging in anticipation of a visit from Santa. The red fleece dog stocking is paw shaped with white pads and white trim on top; stocking stuffers include Poopak, a ply able soft disc, chicken and sweet potato blend dog treats, Healthy Max Hip and Joint Dog Treats, and yogurt and peanut butter dental sticks. Your stocking is the traditional red with white trim on the top and white heel and toe. It includes 2 packages of Jack Link’s Beef Jerky and 2 packages of Nescafe’ Classico Dark Roast Instant Coffee. Both stockings are 11 inches long, and are handcrafted by Keri Bishop.
Donated by Keri Bishop, Tucson, AZ.
Other especially intriguing items include memberships in any (or all) ACB special-interest affiliates (That includes us!), all paid for and accomplished online for you by Library Users of America (LUA), and a
2016 Land of 10,000 Dreams ACB Convention Hotel Package, which includes two convention-week nights at the Hyatt-Regency Minneapolis, a $25 Starbucks gift certificate, a $25 VISA gift certificate, and
$60..00 in cash! (You know, of course, that GDUI’s convention occurs concurrently with that of ACB, beginning on Sunday, July 3, and ending on Wednesday, July 6! We’re just sayin’)
And Now for the Nostalgia … What I really mean is that increasingly familiar mixture of nostalgia and melancholia. It is hard to say good bye to the people who have meant much to us over many years. One such person is Steve Speicher. We learned that Steve’s cancer has progressed and now he is receiving hospice care at the home he shares with his much adored wife, Kate, in Lincoln, NE. Steve is not a guide dog user, but his support of our affiliate and the civil rights of every person who is blind or visually impaired has been unwavering through the years. I am sad to think about a time coming soon when we won’t be able to talk with Steve, count on a hug from him, or an encouraging word. Thank you, Steve, for always being there for any of us who needed kindness from one who always did his best to listen and to understand.
Today we learned of the passing of Dot Taylor. No one in ACB who ever had the pleasure of knowing Dot – or even meeting her briefly while rushing to or from a meeting at one of ACB’s conventions – ever left that encounter without a smile on his or her face and a feeling of well being. We know what an important presence she was in the ACB of Tennessee affiliate, and we, along with hundreds – probably thousands – of other people who are blind will miss Dot, terribly. Dot Taylor was another person we could count on for a hug and the kind of friendly outreach that matters.
Finally, many of us in the blindness community were so sad to learn of the death of Ward Bond on Sunday, November 29. Ward was the president of a company called TalkingSigns. His passion for improving the quality of life for people who are blind and his dedicated advocacy to that cause were awe inspiring to any of us who had the pleasure of knowing him during the late 1990s and the early years of this century.
TalkingSigns almost made it onto the Mall in Washington, DC, and into our MetroRail stations –but Ward’s advocacy was finally defeated by Congressional gridlock that kept the Highway Bill from emerging from partisan wrangling year after year after year after year. (The more things change, the more they seem to stay the same …)Now that so many of us have smart phones that can access the Points of Interest available via many accessible GPS systems, we can finally experience the independence, the confidence, and – best of all – the self direction that Ward worked so hard to achieve for members of our community. Ward Bond was an inspiration and a presence to be reckoned with as he traveled the world advocating on behalf of our community, and his was a lasting positive influence on many of our lives. He was kind, a wonderful story-teller, and always available with a hug or a handshake or a reassuring pat on the back. Ward, we hate to say farewell.
Thank you all for your friendship and your support. Remember, hard-working guide dogs deserve lots of praise and an even greater than usual number of treats as they carry us through the chilly bustling streets and long, long nights of December.
Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
Will Burley, First Vice President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
Call us, toll-free, at 866.799.8436
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For our members and friends who do not have access to e-mail (or prefer to listen to the pleasant sound of a human voice reading aloud), we also offer telephonic announcements every week. If you are aware of guide dog users who do not have computer access, please share this telephone number with them: 646.653.1900. Recorded announcements available at this number are updated whenever there is a new announcement to share. We look forward to sharing announcements concerning our organization with all who are interested in GDUI.