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In Loving Memory: Daughter Designates GDA in Her Inheritance

Lester and Claire SchneckLester Schneck was a member of the IAM for more than 50 years. According to his daughter Claire, he was proud to be a part of the organization that founded Guide Dogs of America. Through the years, as he read the union's newsletter, he would comment to her about the fundraising events the local unions held to benefit GDA.

When her father passed away in 2012 at the age of 96, Schneck inherited his estate. As an only child and without any children of her own, Schneck wanted to honor her father's memory and began to think about what was most important to him. It was eyesight.

In his later years, Schneck's father developed macular degeneration. While her father never lost his vision completely, he knew that it was a real possibility that he could wake up one morning and it would be gone. In addition to what he learned about GDA through his affiliation with the union, Schneck's father saw, firsthand, the difference a guide dog makes in the life of someone who is blind. At church, Schneck and her father saw a married couple, both of whom had guide dogs, and met many people who had guide dogs at meetings for those with vision loss. Father and daughter came to learn how much these people relied on their guide dogs. They would tell the Schnecks that they would be lost without their dogs.

"My father never had to get a guide dog but I know that had his vision deteriorated to a point that he could no longer get around on his own he definitely would have wanted one," Schneck said. "Not only had he seen how these dogs helped their partners but he was a lifelong dog lover who would have enjoyed the companionship that comes from having a guide dog.

"I thought about the charities that I would want to benefit from my father's estate, and GDA came to mind. I contacted the school and asked what I needed to do to designate GDA in my will and I became a Partner in Trust."

Schneck shares information about GDA with her friends, sending articles from the newsletter that she feels they would be interested in.

"I especially like the articles about the graduates and learning about the difference the dogs have made in their lives," said Schneck. "If my dad would have gone blind, he wouldn't have gone out and done anything but if he would have had a guide dog that could have been much different."

For information about becoming a Partner in Trust, please contact Rhonda Bissell at 818-833-6432.

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