The seventh annual Heroes Brunch was given by Guide Dogs of the Desert on Dec. 7 at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa. The event honored long time Guide Dogs support organization Dusty Wings of the Desert. As Sarah Clapp, Guide Dogs Executive Director said, “They have been wonderful supporters of the school’s mission for over 30 years – from being puppy raisers to providing funds for a training van to serving on the Board of Directors. So much has been made possible by their generosity and we are grateful for their partnership.”
It was fitting that the event held on Pearl Harbor Day also honored veterans who had received their dogs and graduated from the Guide Dogs of the Desert school as well as another organization, Save A Warrior that provides care and treatment to veterans with PTSD. Guide Dog graduates who served or are serving in the armed forces were acknowledged. They are: SFC Carl Ruiz, Ret.; MSG Dexter Durrante, Army; SPC David Fisher, Ret. Army; Sgt. Douglas Cereghin, Army; Sgt. Timothy Richardson, Ret. Army; MSgt. Ruth Schumaker, Ret. Marines; TSgt. Minna Moonsammy, Ret; Ronald L. Hudson, Army; Smart Eze, Infantry unit of Nigerian Civil War.
Former Palm Springs Police Chief Gary Jeandron was master of ceremonies. The Presentation of Colors was made by the Desert Hot Springs High School Marine Corps Junior ROTC Cadet Color Guard, and Pledge of Allegiance led by Lt. Commander Dennis Wheeler, United States Navy. Guide Dogs of the Desert Board of Directors are Chairman Bob Niez, Vice Chair Cynthia Woods, Treasurer Jim Klocek, and board members Clark Hallren, Raymond McLean, Albert T. Milauskas, M.D., and Leonard Sigdestad, DVM. Honorary Board Members are Kit and Arnold Palmer, James Garner, Tom Sullivan, Dick Van Patten, and Betty White.