Machinist Union Members in Chicago Raise Money, Awareness for Guide Dogs
Guide Dogs of America
13 April 2022
On Wednesday, Machinists Local 1487 in Chicago, Illinois, held its annual bowling charity to benefit Guide Dogs of America. Guide Dogs of America is the Machinists Unions’ top charity, providing service dogs and assistance at no cost for those in need across the country.
Guide Dogs of America is the Machinists Unions’ top charity, providing service dogs and assistance at no cost for those in need across the country. The organization also offers free training and support for those in need of service dogs but who may lack experience working with and using a service animal.
Local 1487, the Machinists Union Local Lodge that reporesents some 5,000 airline workers in the Chicago area, has been a leading supporter of Guide Dogs for the past 65 years, dating back to the founding of the charity. The bowling fundraiser raised an estimated $1,500. “Welcome out!” said Greg Klujewski, the Recording Secretary for Local 1487 and one of the people that helped put the event together. “This is a great turnout,” he said. “We are raising some money for a great cause and bringing union members together,” he continued. “Both of those things are very important.”
Guide Dogs of America breed, raise, and train guide and service dogs for visually impaired people, veterans, and children with autism. The non-profit also places dogs in hospitals, schools, and courtrooms, areas with an urgent need for service animals. These highly skilled canines become trusted companions that increase people’s confidence, mobility, and independence. The dogs can also mitigate the loneliness and isolation that many residents at these facilities may experience as they get older.
“An often overlooked healing aspect of having a friendly-looking dog at your side is that people will often come up and pet her,” said Russ Guitlan at a recent union conference. “For a lot of the people that rely on their dog, this human connection, made through their service dog, might just be the only human interaction they may have that day,” he explained. He added that these interactions can happen daily and are always warm and healthy, which can often be difficult without a service animal working as an icebreaker.
All programs and services, including transportation, personalized training, room/board, and postgraduate support, are provided at no cost to the recipient.
All programs and services that Guide Dogs of America provides, from breeding, training, and post-adoption support, are paid for entirely through voluntary donations from the public. Union members and volunteers who would like to make a donation of any amount in support of Guide Dogs of America may do so at Guide Dogs of America.org.
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