In lieu of a blog this week we pay our respects to Randy’s father who passed away
Saturday November 17, 2012.
In lieu of a blog this week we pay our respects to Randy’s father who passed away
Saturday November 17, 2012.
By Beth Foote
On Saturday night we held our 3rd annual Peak Potential Charity Dinner and Auction. This year we had a record turnout of 136 in attendance, far greater than last year, and with over $10,000 worth of donated items for our charity auction. It was a successful event all around, our best yet.
However, the day began on a very somber note. All of the 2020 Vision Quest staff members received an email around noon from Randy telling us that his father had passed away in the small hours of the morning after a long illness. Randy said that the event was still on, and that it would be ok–the thing he needed most from us was our friendship and support. Together, we would get through the day and make the event a success.
Our hearts went out to Randy and Tracy. Given this earthshaking news, I didn’t know what to expect going into the evening. Last year, Peak Potential was a fun and festive night, full of laughter and lightheartedness. I wondered, how would this year be, with Randy and Tracy facing such a difficult burden?
I needn’t have worried. Randy and Tracy were buoyed up by the outpouring of support from everyone there. No doubt things were difficult for them, but the atmosphere of the evening was fun, warm, and loving. Randy was greeted by person after person offering good wishes and support. I was floored by the generosity of so many of the patrons of the event, bidding on the array of auction items and urging others to do the same. The spirit of the event was jovial and joyful, and together, our purpose was clear–we were all there to celebrate this crucial mission and make sure it could continue on into the future. We were all in this together.
One of the most wonderful parts of the evening was the contingent of marvelous people there who were raising puppies for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Puppy raisers receive a six-week-old puppy from the program and then raise the tyke up, teaching them household manners, socializing them to be around people and as many different situations in the world as they can.
At 18 months old, the young dogs go back to Guiding Eyes for the Blind to undergo a six-month Guide Dog training program. These puppy raisers then go to their dog’s “graduation,” sending them off into the world to become a Guide for a someone suffering from vision loss. After raising these dogs, many go back and take another puppy and start the process all over again.
Many of these remarkable puppy raisers had brought their young dogs with them to the dinner. The youngest I saw was an adorable nine-week old German shepherd named Banner–I’m sure I’m not the only one who wanted to scoop him up and take him home.
Having so many of these dogs there helped to demonstrate in a very physical way organization’s mission. One of the most touching moments for me was when Chrissy Vetrano, Quinn’s trainer at Guiding Eyes for the Blind, talked to the audience about how Quinn had been the first dog that she had trained, and told the story of how difficult it was to give him up, worrying about whether he and Randy would be the right fit, whether he would be happy, etc.
At a crucial moment in their final walk, Quinn looked up at Chrissy with a look that clearly said, “Mom, I got this.” It was at that moment Chrissy knew she was doing the right thing. When she brought Quinn to give to Randy, Quinn bounded into the room to greet Randy and instantly she could tell from seeing them together that they would do great thing–more than either could have done on his own. And so they have.
Together Quinn and Randy have accomplished so much and have made a difference to so many who have heard their story. Guiding Eyes for the Blind has provided many Guide Dogs who have opened up their owners’ worlds to a greater degree of freedom and independence.
Chrissy’s moving presentation reinforced how important this mission was. Guiding Eyes and the New Hampshire Association for the Blind both help form an essential community of support and resources for people with vision loss. Together, all of us in attendance celebrated and rallied around this important cause. I know I for one have come away with a new enthusiasm for this mission and for this community of people.
We at 2020 Vision Quest depend on the support of our community to accomplish our mission–not only through donations, but through actions, and emotional support. I am heartened and happy at how generous, caring, and supportive this community is. On Saturday night, Randy and Tracy felt the benefit of this community of support in their own especially poignant way.
We look forward to what this year has to bring for 2020 Vision Quest. Randy plans to finish hiking the summer 48 in 2013, and to reach many many more students with his message of “Achieving a Vision Beyond Your Sight.” What else the future brings, only time will tell–but we have an amazing community of people who are all coming along for the ride.
By Randy Pierce
While we have now presented in front of more than 16,000 students, we are striving to ensure we can continue to provide presentations to more students and schools.
We’ve had an incredible organization join forces with our efforts to enable a trip across the towns of Northern, NH. I want to personally thank the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation who contracted us last May for a presentation with the Coos County 2012 Discovery Tour.
As a result of that initial opportunity, we developed a plan to bring the messages of 2020 Vision Quest to six towns in Northern NH. Especially given the NHCF’s partnership with The Carsey Institute, they believed we would provide an excellent introductory message for this region.
We are proud they value our message and the impact of its delivery. Hopefully many of our growing community will have the opportunity to benefit from these presentations.
As such, we share our schedule for the week:
|14-Nov||9:15am – 10:45am||Gorham High School|
|14-Nov||1:00pm – 2:15pm||Berlin Middle and High School|
|15-Nov||9:15am – 11:15am||Whitefield Elementary School|
|15-Nov||11:30am – 12:00pm||Lunch with Kelly Renaud, WMRHS|
|15-Nov||12:30pm – 2:00pm||Lancaster Elementary School|
|16-Nov||9:00am – 11:00am||Colebrook Elementary School|
|16-Nov||12:30pm – 1:15pm||Groveton High School|
Forging more partnerships will help us to reach more schools and more students. If you want to know more about our message please see our “For Educators” page.
If you believe our message would benefit a school, recommend us to them or share their contact information with us at Randy@2020visionquest.org. Community and teamwork are the essence of how our organization may exist and we welcome any discussions of how we as individuals or organizations may advance the benefit of our mission!
Thank you for being part of our community and we look forward to many future successes at schools and in that mission!
Our big fundraising event of the year, Peak Potential, is coming up in two weeks. We hope to see you there! But whether you can make it or not, you can still help us out by bidding on our amazing auction items. We have the items up on our site and are currently accepting bids. 100% of all auction proceeds go to 2020 Vision Quest.
We’ve got a wide variety of great items for sale–from VIP Revolution tickets to a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry to a party for 20 of your nearest and dearest friends and more! You have less than two weeks to get in on the action and you don’t want to miss out.
Here’s how it works:
The online auction is open now and runs until 11:00 PM on Thursday, November 15 – two days before Peak Potential. The highest bid entered at closing time will become the starting bid for silent auction items onsite. If you are not attending the event, you’ll want to enter your absolute highest bid for the best chance of winning.
A number of our items are “live auction” items, which will be bid on at the event itself. (These are marked on the website.) We have two options available to bid on these items. If you’re comfortable with others seeing your highest bid, feel free to enter it online. Or you can email Rachel Morris, our event coordinator, and let her know your highest bid. We’ll have one of our staff act as a proxy bidder on your behalf during the auction (we will not contact you during the auction if you are outbid). If you do not receive a confirmation reply email by Friday, November 16, assume we did not receive your bid.
If you are the winner of either a silent auction item or a live auction item, we will contact you within a week of the event to settle payment and determine delivery of your items.
Again, the main auction site can be found here.
Please note that bidding on the online auction is a commitment to pay.
Thanks for your continuing support! Feel free to contact us with any questions.
The 2020 Vision Quest staff
On Saturday, November 4, 2006 I had the chance to introduce Quinn to our new home together. In my blog post at the time I reflected on our first few days and you can review some of those early moments here.
In celebration of our six years together, I reviewed some of those moments and was delighted by the final words of that first post: “Quinn and I are elated to be home and many promising moments are ahead on our journey.”
Promising moments? I had no idea how incredible our journey would become and we are still well entrenched on the marvelous path together.
Speaking of entrenched, I’m still reflecting on a post for our first year anniversary I found in “Quinn’s voice!” He’s alleged to have written: “So in the last year I’ve had a host of adventures but I get the feeling we are just starting to scratch the surface.” I think we’ve been gouging those surfaces pretty well, wouldn’t you?
I understand the average retirement age for a Guide is between 6-8 years of work. As we enter this sixth year together, we are both in excellent health. We’ve hit our stride in so many typical activities and have thrived in adventures beyond what I might have imagined during our first days.
I’m truly and deeply overwhelmed with appreciation for our partnership. He’s brought the most incredible freedom to my life with his typical work. He’s brought incredible delight to my life with his dogged enthusiasm. He’s provided accomplishments of near legendary levels with his overachieving efforts above and beyond the typical Guide work.
Most important of all, he has brought out the best in me with his love and devotion to our lives and work together. Happy Anniversary Quinn! I hope you will always know how much I love and appreciate the incredible reality of all you are!
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