MIRA Foundation Recognizes Carolina Eye Associates
Representatives from MIRA Foundation USA recently honored the professionals of Carolina Eye Associates with a photo montage of two Moore County students who received MIRA guide dogs this past July: Samantha Duerring, of Vass, and A.J. Johnson, of Carthage.
Beth Daniels, executive director of MIRA USA, was accompanied for the presentation by MIRA board members Stuart Strickland, Dr. Guy Bouvier, Chris Jordan and John O'Connor, MIRA's vice chairman.
The Duerring family, represented by Judy Duerring, her daughter, Samantha, and Samantha's guide dog, Gale, was joined by Penny Johnson, her son, A.J., and his dog, Martin. Gale and Martin are named in honor of the founder of Carolina Eye Associates, Dr. Robert Gale Martin, who succumbed to cancer in 2008. Their placement was made possible because of Carolina Eye's contributions.
Dr. Gregory Mincey, president of Carolina Eye, and Larry Newsome, Carolina Eye's CEO, accepted the montage in recognition of the significant ongoing support that all of the doctors and staff of Carolina Eye have provided to MIRA USA since its inception. In fact, Carolina Eye is MIRA's first corporate visionary partner, a designation reserved for those donors whose contributions in a calendar year result in the pairing of at least one guide dog with a deserving blind child.
"Intellectually, I suspected that providing a guide dog to a young person would be a great thing," says Mincey. "Actually meeting these two young people with their guide dogs, Gale and Martin, was a revelation. To see their confidence, new-found freedom and smiles tells it all. Every visually impaired child should have this chance."
"After having been told how much these dogs would change the lives of their owners, it was very gratifying to experience firsthand the freedom and independence that Gale and Martin are providing Samantha and A.J.," says Newsome.
There are more than 57,000 blind children in North Carolina alone who would benefit from having the services of a dog like Gale or Martin by their side.
MIRA Foundation USA Inc. was founded by Robert and Elaine Baillie after Bob became totally blind due to complications from surgery. The nonprofit's mission is to provide guide dogs to blind children between the ages of 11-17. It is the only organization in the United States dedicated to serving this population.
For more information, visit the website www.mirausa.org.
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