Dear GDUI Members and Friends,
Yesterday’s GDUI board meeting was crammed with items on our collective “To Do List,” and we are pleased to say that we made it through our crowded meeting agenda with many positive outcomes! Thank you to all of our board members who attended and helped us to address some topics that are not all that pleasant to dwell upon (such as budgetary shortfalls and membership dues that haven’t begun to keep up with the expenses of providing members’ services and advocacy since 15 years or so ago when individual membership dues were last raised. It is good for all of us to begin thinking about and talking about these issues. Our conversations – with one another and with all of you who are members – will continue, within announcements like this one, within the pages of PawTracks, on our various discussion lists, and among affiliate and at-large members, and likely at a telephonic members’ meeting, tentatively planned for a February Saturday afternoon. We will keep you posted as details are finalized.
One of the very happy outcomes at yesterday’s meeting was the vote to welcome Capital Area Guide Dog Users (CAGDU) as the newest GDUI affiliate, and our first regional affiliate in recent memory!
Here is the celebratory message that GDUI Board member and CAGDU President, Charlie Crawford shared late yesterday afternoon, with guide dog users in the Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, DC metropolitan area:
Hi fellow CAGDU members!
Why all the hoop la? Today, January 28, 2017, our Capital Area Guide Dog Users Inc. was formally voted on by the Board of Guide Dog Users Inc. to be accepted as an affiliate of GDUI Inc. It is with a sense of joy and real gratitude to all the voting members of the GDUI Board able to vote at the meeting, that I let you know all of them voted to accept our application for affiliation!
This represents much more than just another vote by GDUI to accept a new affiliate, but rather it signals a renewal of an organized effort on the part of guide dog users in our national capital area to improve the image and acceptance of our guide dogs within all public venues and to give us all a chance to share with each other and beyond, just what these wonderful dogs mean to us.
We can all walk just a bit more proudly knowing we are joined by so many other guide dog users nationally! I thank each and every one of you for your collective support of a better quality of life for each of us and our guides! I invite and encourage you to join me now in calling for other guide dog users to come and join up with us in our Capital Area Guide Dog Users Incorporated as we now get more serious in setting up what we will be doing and how we will be doing it. Folks interested in joining up with CAGDU, can send an e-mail to me at CCrawford@RCN.com and put in the subject line, CAGDU information please. I will review what everyone writes and forward it to the right person to follow up on.
You will be hearing more soon and again I welcome you as both a CAGDU and a GDUI member!
All my best to you,
Charlie Crawford: President, Capital Area Guide Dog Users Inc.
Listen to our GDUI Board Meeting. Here are Sarah’s instructions for accessing the recording of yesterday’s meeting. We hope that those of you who were unable to join us as guests will listen to the meeting recording.
Hello GDUI members and friends,
We have provided three ways for you to access the recording of the GDUI board meeting that took place on Saturday, January 28, 2017. The meeting was 2 hours and 7 minutes long.
Send Space: https://www.sendspace.com/file/8lvrv5
Recording play back: Call: 712.432.1085
Access code: 919245 followed by the Number (#) key.
One More Update from our hard-working GDUI Membership Committee!
The deadline for affiliates to submit rosters is on or before February 15, 2017.
We ask that individual members submit their memberships by February 28, 2017.
When paying for your membership online, please completely fill in the application. This form holds important information we need to properly maintain your membership, and allows for the confirmation or correction of your information on our end.
Thank you very much for taking the time to complete this important step in your membership renewal.
To renew, visit this link on our web site: http://www.guidedogusersinc.org/join, or call our toll-free number: 866.799.8436. And, thank you!
Tomorrow Evening: A Chance for Us to Get to Know One Another better!
Here’s an announcement from Bob Branco, from the Branco Broadcast, which I hope some of you will find appealing:
Tomorrow evening, (Monday, January 30) at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time, our featured guest on Branco Broadcast will be Penny Reeder. Branco Broadcast is not a radio show. It’s a Free Conference call on a chat line where participants call in and listen to inspirational speakers. To participate, please call 712-832-8294, and then use pass code 514295. Please be sure to mute your phones at all times during the show unless you are asking Penny a question. When you are finished, please mute your phone again. We need to avoid background noise as much as possible because Branco Broadcast is recorded and archived for the general public. Also, please arrive on the call 10 minutes before our guest, so you won’t miss anything. Here is some information about Penny Reeder.
Penny Reeder was elected president of Guide Dog Users, Inc. in July of 2014 and again in June 2016. She has been a guide dog user since 2001, and Willow, from the Seeing Eye, is her third guide dog. She and her husband live in Maryland near Washington, DC; she is the mother of six and the grandmother of five. She works as a curricula developer and trainer for a federal contractor on a Section 508-related project at the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs. She earned a master’s degree in special education from the George Washington University in 2000. In addition to volunteering for Guide Dog Users, Inc., she consults as an advocate for several children with disabilities who attend DC Public Schools. She enjoys cooking, writing, and reading and is a committed advocate on behalf of all people with disabilities.
Join Penny on Monday evening, January 30 to learn about GDUI and the issues that are important to guide dog users as well as people with disabilities who use other kinds of service dogs. Guide Dog Users, Inc. is the largest membership organization of guide dog users in the United States. An affiliate of the American Council of the Blind, GDUI has been supporting guide dog users, advocating for their civil rights, and educating the public about the benefits of independent travel with guide dogs for more than 40 years. Come and meet Penny and get to know GDUI better!
Penny will give a brief presentation, and then take questions from our participants. We look forward to hearing from all of you on Monday evening?
I personally don’t subscribe to the bit about being “inspirational” (although I imagine that Willow is more than happy to claim that title for herself (and deservedly so!), but I do hope you’ll call into Bob’s show and take advantage of this opportunity for talking about GDUI and for us to get to know one another better.
This has been a particularly turbulent week end. Deliberate discrimination against any group of people is unacceptable and upsetting, especially if its outcome is the denial of civil rights and basic human rights, and if the stated rationale for actions like these involves national origin or religion. Earlier today, I found myself in tears reading an account of the brutal treatment of an elderly couple detained at Dulles Airport who had arrived anticipating a joyful reunion with their granddaughter who had come to welcome them to her home in Fairfax, VA. Wheelchair users, the gentleman is legally blind, and his wife had recently suffered a stroke. While detaining them for several hours, CBP officers had even confiscated their medications.
As we look to one another to reaffirm our support for basic human decency and the values we share as Americans, let us draw strength from all that unites us and inspiration from the example our dogs set for us so routinely in their completely unbiased acceptance of everyone they encounter as we travel with them on public transit, down busy sidewalks and across streets and to diverse public venues. Thank you for reading our announcements, for your involvement in our organization, and for being kind to one another.
Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
Deanna Noriega, First Vice President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
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