On Monday, May 20, 2002, the 4th, 5th and 6th grade students from Franklin Elementary School in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, presented Russ Wittkop, Grand Lodge Representative from the IAMAW Midwest Territory, with a check for One Thousand Nine Hundred Dollars ($1900.00) to help support the Guide Dogs of America training facility.
The Franklin “K” Kids, along with the help of faculty advisor, Trudy Phouybanhdyt, and Manitowoc Kiwanis advisors, Ned Hodgson and Elmer Schmitz, have been involved in a variety of community service projects such as making Christmas and Valentine cards for area veteran hospitals, lily sales for the Easter Seal Organization as well as raising money for the Salvation Army and shopping for the holiday food baskets for families in need.
In addition to these projects, the “K” Kids raised a substantial amount of money to help Guide Dogs of America through monthly cookie, cupcake, popcorn and orange drink sales.
Thanks to special guest Jeff Hedberg and his guide dog “Leader”, the students learned first hand of the special bond between a sightless person and his guide dog. Jeff, a former graduate of GDA’s training facility, spoke of the independence he has achieved with the help of his guide dog. Jeff, who is married and the father of two children, was an inspiration to all who attended the program.