The Lee’s Summit Lions Club met at Perkins Restaurant on Tuesday, Nov. 13. At that meeting a program was presented to the Club by Lion Gina Braxton on the Leader Dog Program.
Lion Gina has been visually impaired, since birth, for 40 years, born in South Carolina. At her age of 21 Gina was selected by a Lions Club in her area to travel to Rochester Michigan, home of the leader dog program since 1938, to be trained for 25 days and to be paired with a service dog for the blind. She was paired with a female black Labrador named Makayla as her companion and to be her eyes so she could be safely mobile. Makayla was her companion for about eight years. During the eight years Gina decided be more independent and moved to Independence, Mo. Makayla become ill and had to be put down. At that time Gina went back to Rochester to be paired with another service dog.
This time she spent 21 days and was paired with a female golden retriever named Ellie. She had this companion for about eight years and also had to be retired from service. The Lions again sent Gina to Rochester for another 21 days and this time was paired with a male black lab, named Miggy and has had him for about three years. Gina still lives in Independence with her friend and helper Allan Travis. They both belong to the Blue Springs centennial Lions Club. Gina went on to say that her training at Rochester got better every time she went and this last time she was presented with a talking GPS Device to help while being out with her dog alone.
She also has a talking iPhone. She doesn’t know what she would have done if It had not been for the Lions. Most all of the expenses with her travels and service dog were furnished by the Leader Dog Program and Lions Clubs. Both Gina and Allan are active members of the Blue Springs Club and hope the community will support the Lions Clubs and the Leader Dog Program