GDA Honors GVP Allen and Fundraisers at Las Vegas Banquet

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Guide Dogs of America held its 36th annual William W. Winpisinger Charity Banquet this past weekend. Pictured from left are International President Bob Martinez, 2016 “Gift of Sight” honoree Western Territory General Vice President Gary Allen and Guide Dogs of America Director Dale Hartford.

Guide Dogs of America (GDA) held an array of fundraising events in Las Vegas last weekend, including the 36th Annual William W. Winpisinger Charity Banquet, which honored its fundraisers. The charity’s highest honor, the “Gift of Sight Award,” was presented to IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary Allen and U.S. Sugar Corporation President and CEO Robert Buker.

The “Gift of Sight” Award is given annually to recipients who have shown an extraordinary commitment to supporting GDA, which provides professionally trained guide dogs, free of charge, to blind and visually impaired individuals across North America.

“The commitment these two have shown to help improve the lives of others is astonishing,” said IAM International President Bob Martinez. “They have put forth and incredible amount of work to raise money for a charity that brings freedom to those who need it.”

“It’s a distinct honor to receive this award, and I must accept it on behalf of the great IAM Western Territory,” said Allen. “Their dedication to this worthy cause is inspiring. It is an honor to be a part of something that has such life changing impact as providing a guide dog to someone in need.”

WATCH: Guide Dogs of America Charity Banquet, to see highlights from the evening.

The successful weekend of fundraisers included the charity banquet with nearly 1,000 people in attendance, a golf outing with 250 golfers, the Hawgs for Dogs motorcycle poker ride with over 100 participants and a sporting clay event with more than 60 participants.

The banquet also included the drawing of the GDA Harley-Davidson motorcycle raffle winners. Monyea White won the grand prize of a custom 2016 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra. The IAM/TCU member from Antioch, CA purchased the ticket at the IAM Grand Lodge Convention in September. GDA Graduate Teresa Blevins drew the winning ticket.

Guide Dogs of America provides guide dogs free of charge to blind and visually impaired men and women in the U.S. and Canada. It costs approximately $42,000 to train a guide dog and provide instruction for its user.