Here in this photo (used with permission of Island Photography), Christian music artist Laurel Jean (who also serves as Dixie Land's Secretary/Treasurer), proudly waves our banner as she embarks on the treacherous 10 K Bridge Walk on March 27, 2010. Laurel, an avid cane user, was approached by many folks that morning, commenting on guide dogs and family members who had had guide dogs. One lady even remarked that having seen Laurel preparing for the Walk inspired her with enough confidence to complete it. Laurel's official time in the event was 2hrs. 13 minutes and 6 seconds. Maybe not fast enough to win an award; but her presence on behalf of Dixie Land Guide Dog Users was priceless! Thanks, Laurel! Well done!
From the top of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge to the middle of the Hedrick's barnyard, guide dog user Sheryl Hedrick demonstrates that she has what it takes to competently manage her farm, despite the fact that she is legally blind.
While her guide dog, Luke, enjoys some time off in another area of her farm, Sheryl tends to her goats, rabbits and chickens daily. The eggs she gathers provide her with a lucrative income, while offering delicious sustenance to her clientele. Sheryl also sells lots of those adorable Pigmy goats that folks seem to like so well.
Sheryl promotes community education, too, and has been a real ambassador for Dixie Land Guide Dog Users. Whether teaching her Sunday school class; the Summerville Lions' Club or her local "Red Hat" ladies, Sheryl always projects a positive public image for our blindness community. She has even made several guest appearance on local television! Thanks, Sheryl, for all that you do!
Dixie Land believes that we offer an educational experience to the sighted community each time we travel among them.
Here, Laurel Jean tags along as Shelby Craig proudly participates in a special "Outta Sight" Easter egg hunt. This unique scavenger-style hunt was designed by Laurel Jean as part of her Chaplaincy for Blind Youth, and proudly co-sponsored by Dixie Land Guide Dog Users. The kids' problem-solving skills, O&M skills, and cane skills were challenged as they individually read the Brailled clues; made their way to the next stop and gathered each goody-filled egg. Upon completion, everyone proved to be a winner as each was presented with a McDonald's gift certificate!
Dixie Land gets Teed off, or, at least tries to! Here our President, Nancy Moore leads us through the greens at Frankie's Fun Park as her new guide dog Giza looks on from a shady spot on the sidelines. Everyone laughed and had lots of fun as we taught ourselves and others that one doesn't have to be able to see to tee.
It took us half the day to play half the course; but, at the end of the ninth hole, Taylor Jones was our winner! Taylor, another of the local kids in Laurel's Chaplaincy for Blind Youth, was accompanied by his great-grandparents, Betty & Jerry Stebbins, who have been extremely helpful in most of our community events.
Shelby’s mom’s idea for a spring picnic inspired a special "Pawty in the Park", offering delicious food, fantastic fellowship and, of course, some of the best guide dogs (working & retired) in the whole, wide world.
Northbridge Piggly Wiggly delivered the lip-smacking southern fried chicken, yummy 'tater wedges, baked beans and other fixin's, which, by the way, were all sponsored by Dr. Virgil Alfaro and his Charleston Neuroscience Institute.
Although Hampton Park was closed to the general public, the kind folks at the City of Charleston Parks & Recreation Department issued us a special permit to exclusively host this event.
We had lots of guests, including Cornelia Pelzer and Nicole Harvey, from the Association for the Blind; Carolyn & Jack Baker, from Grace UMC's Disabilities' Ministries; and Peter Smith and his friends from the Charleston Flyers.
After eating all the great food and goodies everyone brought, we each had a turn on the back of one of the tandems. Even Shelby and Taylor (pictured here) co-piloted a bike around Hampton Park. The day seemed to end much too soon, but everyone had a great time.
Dixie Land Guide Dog Users would like to "Paws" to thank Debbie & Bill Craig; Betty & Jerry Stebbins; Kim & Tim Taylor (with retired guide dog Rufus); Dorace Lackey & retired guide dog, Smokey; the Association for the Blind; Northbridge Piggly Wiggly; Charleston Recreation & Parks Department; Grace UMC; and, of course, the Charleston Flyers, for your part in making our "Poochie Park Pawty" so successful!
We look forward to sharing more highlights with you real soon, and hope to see you at one of our future events!