Last week, the Gary Sinise Foundation announced on National Assistance Dog Day a $350,000 grant to Leader Dogs for the Blind to support their service of veterans, defenders, and first responders who are blind or visually impaired with highly skilled guide dogs.
“The Gary Sinise Foundation is proud to expand our efforts of support to our nation’s veterans, defenders, and first responders, specifically those experiencing blindness or vision loss,” said Mike Thirtle, CEO of the Gary Sinise Foundation. “Through our partnership with Leader Dogs for the Blind, several Leader Dogs will be raised and trained to assist those we serve, helping them to regain their freedom and independence. And for all they have sacrificed for our country and communities, as our Founder, Gary Sinise, would say, ‘we can always do a little more.’”
“The support of the Gary Sinise Foundation will directly help veterans and first responders who are blind, visually impaired, or DeafBlind,” said Susan Daniels, CEO of Leader Dogs for the Blind. “The impact of working with a guide dog reaches beyond the recipient to their family, friends, and community. As each recipient’s self-confidence and travel skills grow, so does their family’s comfort knowing their loved one is safe and traveling independently with their Leader Dog by their side.”
As part of the grant, the Gary Sinise Foundation is sponsoring seven Future Leader Dogs. The first two puppies are Labrador retriever siblings who will be raised by the Fisher family, and Linda and Tony Gimble. The Fishers are very experienced having raised 10 Leader Dog puppies in the past. “When we heard that the Gary Sinise Foundation was sponsoring puppies, we immediately wanted to be a part of the partnership,” said Laura Fisher. “My husband, Paul, is an Army veteran and I work for Leader Dog. It’s like raising one of these special puppies in our home was meant to be.”
This will be the 23rd puppy that Linda and Tony Gimble of Moline, IL have raised. “We are already great supporters of Leader Dogs for the Blind and to be able to raise a puppy sponsored by the Gary Sinise Foundation just makes this more special to us,” said Linda Gimble. “Our son retired after 20 years in the Air Force, and this is a way for our family to honor his service and the service of millions of others like him.”
Without further ado, we are thrilled to introduce you all to two new members of our GSF Family. The first two puppies are Labrador retrievers, please meet Forrest and Jenny!