Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Tribute to GDB Graduate Evelyn Burris

by Field Service Manager Emily Simone

Evelyn Burris sits next to her yellow Lab Guide Dog, Colusa, on a bench
Guide Dogs for the Blind has lost a wonderful friend this month. Modesto graduate Evelyn Burris graduated from our program in June of 2004 with her beautiful yellow Lab Colusa. I had the great fortune to have Evelyn in my field service territory and from the day she came home with her Guide Dog, it was Evelyn’s personal mission to give back to GDB in any way she could.

Evelyn embraced our Speakers Bureau and often gave presentations various social clubs and classrooms of school children all over the greater Modesto Area. She hosted a women’s golf tournament fundraiser for GDB which generated some generous donations. Evelyn was also a guide dog advocate and worked hard to get access at several challenging restaurants in the area. She loved to travel and she and her husband Rex regularly took cruises and relaxed on the beaches in Hawaii. She was a kind and compassionate woman who provided emotional support and generous friendship to other local GDB graduates in the area.

She called me regularly to sing praises about her beloved Colusa. She even had a t-shirt custom embroidered with her favorite quote: “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our life whole”—Roger Caras. As a field manager, I learned some valuable lessons from Evelyn, about resilience, generosity and the joy of giving back. Evelyn Burris, you will be missed but never, ever, forgotten. Thank you for all you’ve done for us!

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