A report from the Washington State Council of the Blind Convention in SeaTac


Story & Photos by Pam Fernald

On Friday, Nov. 4, I had the pleasure of presenting the opening ‘welcome to SeaTac’ remarks at the Washington Council of the Blind Convention, which was held at the SeaTac Marriott.

What an awesome, enthusiastic group they are!

The Council chose SeaTac for their convention last year also, and this year was their biggest ever attendance at over 200 folks. I asked for a shout out of where people were from and I heard locations from California to Missouri and locally, Spokane, Kennewick and Seattle.

As I was taking some photos and chatting with convention attendees I remembered that I had seen an article on the blog reaching out for volunteers to assist convention goers. So as I talked with one of the volunteers, I thought I’d put together a little piece for the blog.

I watched a young kid assisting person after person into the meeting room and guiding them to get settled. I thought how gentle and attentive he was. So I approached him later and asked him what brought him to volunteer there on Friday. I teased him about taking a day off from school and he told me he was homeschooled. His name is Colby and his family raises guide dogs for Paws with Purpose and so this is something he feels a passion about doing. His family has raised 7 guide dogs to date. Colby lives in Auburn and was there volunteering with his aunt.

It was impressive to me also how all of the guide dogs tolerated each other–and all of the crowd. Dogs truly are man’s best friend…

I also met a great couple, Bernie and Brenda Vinther, and Bernie’s guide dog, Griff outside as they were giving Griff a break. Turns out Bernie is a local, having lived in Des Moines and attending Mt. Rainier High School. He and his wife now live in Kennewick, Wa. where Bernie owns a business called Basic Machining & Electronics. They drove over for the Convention.
When I said, “Go Hawks!” the place erupted in cheers. Lol I don’t want to get all corny, but chatting with these determined, intelligent, outgoing and forward thinking folks at the convention my heart was touched and I was very inspired for the future in general…

Here is a Washington State Council For the Blind newsletter if you are interested:

Weekly Newsletter

I hope you enjoy the pictures (click images to see larger versions/slideshow):

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