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April Chamber Network Luncheon

"Canine Companions for Independence & Guide Dogs of America"

Please join the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce at our April Chamber Network Luncheon, Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 12:00 p.m. at Big Papa's Steakhouse & Saloon, 1001 W Tehachapi Blvd, C200. Our guest speakers will be Melissa Billingsley, Tehachapi Team Leader for Canines Companions for Independence and Butch Reyburn, Tehachapi Team Leader for Guide Dogs of America.

Canine Companions for Independence was founded in 1975, they are the oldest Service dog organization in the United States, and have been providing assistance dogs free of charge. CCI is not government funded, everything is raised by public support and volunteers in the communities. CCI has 6 campuses across the U.S. They provide Service Dogs, Skilled Companions, Facility Dogs, Hearing Dogs and is adding a new category PTSD Service Dogs for Veterans.

Melissa and her 2 children have been raising puppies for the organization since 2011. Currently they are raising their 6th puppy and Melissa received her own Hearing Dog in January 2016.

Guide Dogs of America is a total non-profit, and operates by donations only, receiving no state or federal funds. It has been in existence for over 60 yrs. and was founded by Joseph Jones, Sr., who was 57 yrs. old and blind. He attempted to get assistance from existing guide dog facilities, but was told he was too old, hence, with the assistance of the IAMAW (International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers), from which he had retired, GDA was founded.

Butch and his wife have been involved with GDA since 2005 and have, to date, raised eleven guide dog puppies. They have also fostered a breeder, who fathered thirty-three pups and currently have five labs at home that are retired GDA dogs.

The cost is $15 for Chamber Members, $20 for Non-Chamber members, which includes lunch. Reservations are required. Please make your reservation by calling the Chamber at 661-822-4180. Reservation deadline is Thursday, April 12, 2018.