Guide Dogs of America was founded over 60 years ago by Joseph Jones, Sr. with the help of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
(IAMAW or IAM)
Joseph Jones, Sr., shown in the picture to the left with his guide dog Lucy, was a retired member of the IAMAW.
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.
In 1992, International Guiding Eyes changed their “doing-business-as” name to Guide Dogs of America in an effort to communicate more clearly the services provided by the organization. Now the organization operates under the name Guide Dogs of America as an International Guiding Eyes Program. Today Guide Dogs of America seeks new and better ways of helping the blind community.