Meet Class #258. Congrats, Grads!
Every graduate of Southeastern Guide Dogs has a unique story of overcoming obstacles and embracing the future with the help of a beautiful dog. We’re proud to send them home with fresh hope and confidence. Congratulations, Class #258!
- As a child, Nancy Gaspar’s immigrant parents didn’t know about school resources and avoided medical help, and Nancy dropped out of school. Today this young mom has recently graduated from college and graduated with her new guide Marisa. Congratulations, Nancy! You’ve worked so hard and come so far!
- Allen Simmons spent 21 years in the U.S. Navy. Now he travels the seas—on cruises no less—with his wife, Anne, and his third guide, James. Sail on with your new crew, Allen!
- Debbie Cirasuolo hid her vision loss for as long as possible, but bumps and falls were hard to hide. Now her second guide, Abner, leads the way. “I look forward to going to unfamiliar places without hesitation,” she says.
- Rick Grisenthwaite grew up on a farm and is now retiring to a farm after a long career. Vision loss meant giving up his license, but with his new guide, Tinney, he can easily cross the four-lane road and walk the mile and a half to his land. “Losing your sight is a confidence destroyer,” Rick says. “Tinney is a confidence builder!”
- When Pauline Thurston’s vision took a recent plunge, she became more reclusive. Now this retired mother of 4, grandmother of 11 and great-grandmother of 5 walks independently with her first guide, Fidelity. “It’s so freeing and I am so excited,” she shares. “I’m ready to get myself back out there!”
- Allison Geske once traveled with a cane in Detroit, feeling extra vulnerable to crime. Now she and her second guide, Cessna, enjoy the sunshine of Orlando and many friends at her job with the Hilton.
- As a college instructor, student-teacher supervisor, and football fan, Joey Arnold has places to go. His first guide, Chase, helps Joey and his wife Catrina enjoy new independence. “I’ll be able to walk without holding onto her shoulder or stepping on her heels,” Joey says. “She’ll appreciate that a whole lot!”
- Robbie Esper’s third guide, Sara, is a petite Lab. “She’s travel sized,” Robbie jokes, and the team has big plans to explore the western U.S. together. Robbie experiences vision loss and hearing loss from Ushers Syndrome, and Sara gives her the independence she needs.
- Becky Stucky lost her husband to illness and lost her independence when her first guide retired. Her new guide, Gracie, begins a season of hope. “Gracie makes me think, “Oh, there really is life to live!” she says.