[oldembed src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZMVKkDjhMpE" width="425" height="300" resize="1" fid="21"]
Chances are, the first thing one thinks of when they think of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers isn't helping the visually impaired by providing them with guide dogs. But IAM created and sponsors the Guide Dogs of America program that helps thousands of men and women in America and Canada by providing them with guide dogs free of charge. Guide Dogs of America was launched 60 years ago by retired IAM member Joseph Jones Sr.
When Mr. Jones became blind, he considered all his options and decided his mobility needs would best be met by using a guide dog. He applied to all the existing schools, but he was declined because of his “advanced age”. He was only 57 years old.
Mr. Jones was a determined man and “no” was not a word in his vocabulary. He turned to the IAM for help, soliciting assistance from the IAM’s Executive Council. The IAM Executive council conducted extensive research, determined there was a growing need for guide dog services, and therefore endorsed the founding of International Guiding Eyes (IGE) In 1948. The IAMAW continues to be a generous supporter and staunch advocate of the school’s mission today.
IGE was one of the first guide dog schools to be founded by a blind individual. It was also one of the first schools to adopt a policy of no upper age discrimination.