Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs Elect New Board Chair and Five New Board Members

Smithtown, N.Y.  (July 1, 2015) – The Guide Dog Foundation and its sister organization, America’s VetDogs, are pleased to announce the election of Donald Dea as the new chair of their board of directors, and the election of five new board members.  Dea, Co-Founder of Fusion Productions will serve a two-year term as board chair and will provide leadership to the 28-member board, which sets strategic direction and policy to advance the organization's’ work of providing guide and service dogs and training – free of charge – to people who are blind or have low vision, and to those who have served our country honorably.  In addition, Travis Carey of Carey LLC, a Babylon, NY accounting firm was elected as treasurer, and Brooklyn resident Lucas Mattheissen, Director of Field Operations for Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens, was re-elected as Vice Chair Planning. 

New board members include: US Army Command Sergeant Major (Ret.) Gretchen Evans, US Army Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) John J. O’Brien, US National Guard Major Mary Porter D.O., US Army Special Forces Medic Major (Ret.) Peter Way, all graduates of the VetDogs service dog programs, and attorney Michael Troiano, a graduate of the Guide Dog Foundation program.    

“I am pleased to welcome Gretchen, John, Mary, Michael and Peter as new board members and Don as our new board chair,” said Wells B. Jones, CEO of the Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs.  “These individuals bring a wealth of experience and expertise in their fields and will be tremendous assets to our organizations as we further our missions.”

The Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs Boards of Directors are comprised of volunteer leaders from the medical; business; academic; military and veteran communities.  The boards provide strategic direction, counsel and oversight to the operation of the organizations as well as raise awareness of their services.

About the Guide Dog Foundation 

For more than 65 years, the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc., has trained and placed guide and service dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility, and companionship to people who are blind, have low vision, or who have other special needs.  The Guide Dog Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that relies on contributions from generous individuals, corporations, service clubs, and foundations to fund its mission to serve people with disabilities.  It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog, but the Guide Dog Foundation provides its services completely free of charge to the individual.  

The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind was the first assistance dog school in the United States to be accredited by both the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International. 

About America’s VetDogs® 

Since 2003, America’s VetDogs has trained and placed guide and service dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility and companionship to veterans with disabilities from all eras. In 2015, VetDogs opened its programs to first responders, including of fire, police, and emergency medical personnel.  America's VetDogs is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded by the Guide Dog Foundation that relies on contributions from generous individuals, corporations, service clubs, and foundations to fund its mission to help those who have served our country live with dignity and independence.  It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog, but America’s VetDogs provides its services completely free of charge to the individual.  

America’s VetDogs was the second assistance dog school in the United States to be accredited by both the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International.