Robert Roach, Jr., Golf Tournament Raises Nearly $18K for Guide Dogs

Pictured left to right, IAM General Vice President Dora Cervantes, IAM General Secretary-Treasurer Robert Roach, Jr., retired IAM District 142 General Chair Bob Bax, IAM Education Representative Julie Frietchen and IAM District 15 Organizing Director Vinny Addeo on the green at the Robert Roach, Jr., Invitational Golf Tournament to benefit Guide Dogs of America.

Dozens of IAM members, leaders and friends gathered for a day on the golf course at the Robert Roach, Jr., Invitational Golf Tournament to benefit Guide Dogs of America (GDA). The event, held on the nine-hole golf course at the IAM’s William W. Winpisinger (WWW) Education and Technology Center in Hollywood, MD, raised nearly $18,000.

Watch “Golfing for Guide Dogs” on the Machinists News Network.

“Thank you to all our sponsors and those who came out in support of such a great cause,” said IAM General Vice President Dora Cervantes. “Guide Dogs receives no government funding, and is entirely dependent on public donations and sponsorship events such as this. Thanks to our members’ continuous support and generosity, a visually-impaired man or woman is now one step closer to a life of independence and increased mobility.”

Pictured left to right, William W. Winpisinger Center Director Chris Wagoner, Guide Dog of America Canine Development Assistance Yvette Sheehan, and IAM General Secretary-Treasurer Robert Roach, Jr. with guide dog Trader at the Robert Roach, Jr., Invitational Golf Tournament to benefit Guide Dogs of America.

Two-year-old guide dog Trader and GDA Canine Development Assistant Yvette Sheehan were on hand for the special event, educating players and volunteers on the selective breeding and training techniques that go into preparing a dog to one day guide a blind recipient.

“Today’s event is about providing an opportunity for those who can receive a dog and give them a sense of freedom, some independence in their everyday life,” said Sheehan. “A fully trained guide dog costs $42,000. That includes medical care, food and other things. The training program starts for them at seven weeks of age, and they go out fully trained at two years of age.”

Guide Dogs of America was founded in 1948 by a retired Machinists member dedicated to helping visually-impaired Americans like himself receive a guide dog, free of charge, in order to live a more independent life. The IAMAW remains a key supporter and staunch advocate of the school’s mission today, says WWW Director Chris Wagoner.

“The work that Guide Dogs does is entirely consistent with the values that we have as a labor organization,” said Wagoner. “And that is to attend to the dignity and humanity of every working person. What these dogs do is provide those who are visually impaired with a bit of dignity that otherwise would be denied them. The fact that we’re able to be involved and support that work is a great thing.”

IAM General Secretary-Treasurer Robert Roach, Jr., applauded the IAM’s longstanding support of GDA and says he’s proud to lend his namesake to such a great cause.

“This event is about raising money and delivering dogs to people who may not be able to afford them, but desperately need the freedom and the ability to get out in the community and try to live a normal life,” said Roach. “GDA is a wonderful organization. I personally sponsor this organization and so I am honored to lend my name. Thank you to all those who are participating today.”

The tournament included door prizes, a 50-50 raffle and a closest-to-the-pin contest.

Watch “Golfing for Guide Dogs” on the Machinists News Network.

See photos on the IAM Facebook page.