April 27 found 12 Westminster Lions at the Region IV Leader Dog Banquet. Jeff Hawkins was our speaker
this year. Jeff worked as a paramedic for 25 years before his vision forced him into an early retirement.
Growing up in the Metro Detroit area, Jeff was familiar with Leader Dogs for the Blind and the programs
and services they offer for people who are blind or visually impaired. Jeff came to Leader Dogs for the
Blind in July 2011 and completed Accelerated Orientation and Mobility Training – the white cane
training program, before returning in July 2012 for the Guide Dog program where he was teamed up
with his Leader Dog, Gracie, a female yellow lab. Together with his wife, Linda, he and Leader Dog
Gracie have travelled extensively and maintain an incredibly busy schedule—usually centered around
his family: son, Alec and his wife, and Jeff’s two grandchildren.