Monday, January 26, 2009

Southeastern Guide Dogs Goes Whole HOG
Photo: Jorge Rivera getting a custom fit to a motorcycle helmet by Anthony Ekonomides.
A motorcyclist once said "Only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window." After this past Saturday, January 10, the students attending Class 4 of 2009 also know why. The Brandon Old Town Harley Owners Group (HOG) gave the students a chance to feel the thrill of the ride as they rode double with the bikers. Southeastern Guide Dogs hosted a luncheon for the HOGs to show our thanks for their fundraising efforts. Through their generosity they raised over $17,000 for us this past fall, capping it off with their 3rd Annual Poker Run in November. Cal Reimann and Anthony Ekonomides gave rides to all those students who were bikers at heart.
Photo: Student Jeremy Hall seated independently on a gleaming Harley Davidson Motorcycle
When the engine started the thunder started, when he accelerated I thought I had died and gone to heaven," said student Jeremy Hall. He must have been in "HOG" heaven. "Everyone should experience it. Feeling the wind was awesome. I would do it again in a heartbeat." This was not Hall's first experience with being a biker. Having been trained in a biker safety briefing, he knew what to expect. Student Sean Moore said "This was my first ride. It was fast and free, like experiencing the freedom of guide dog travel." Shawnna Maxwell made the same observation about her first ride. "It was exciting. I could feel the cool air on my face." The class also expressed how very grateful they were for the bikers' fundraising efforts. As Jeremy Hall put it, "We appreciate how they give of themselves."
Photo: Student Sean Moore settles in for a ride with Cal Reimann

Photo: Shawnna Maxwell gets her first motorcyle ride with a smiling HOG Anthony Ekonomides.

Description of short video clip below: Adventurous Blind Man A middle-aged blind man with a cane and sunglasses walks into a motorcycle shop with his sighted female companion of the same age. The bike shop’s gum-smacking salesman turns around with one eyebrow raised as he sees the couple descend the stairs into the shop. Man stops at the bottom of the stairs as his companion glances around the store. Salesman approaches them. Woman nods her head toward the man to show that he is the customer. Man begins to explore store. He taps on several cycles as the salesman follows him in bewilderment. Man tactilely explores various cycles, none seem to be right. Then he finds one, hands his cane to the puzzled salesperson and climbs on. He sits back and settles triumphantly into the chopper seat. He smiles broadly. This is the one. The now confounded salesman turns to the woman who just shrugs her shoulders. Next scene: Blind man on chopper, helmet on, hands firmly gripping the handlebars. The scenery rushes away behind him as he gleefully grins and laughs. Camera pulls back until we can see the motorcycle on a trailer. Wider camera angle shows the woman in a car pulling the trailer and checking him in the side view mirror, pleased with his exhilaration. Camera swings around behind the man. He raises his arms in a defiant salute to freedom as the twosome pull away. Sighted viewers: click on link to view


majorshouse said...

I love it and would love to ride sometime and I am sure that this was a fun experience and am glad that you posted this for our enjoyment.
Lin and Major

Deidri Cumbie said...

The Hog Family is made up of caring individuals that have huge hearts. This group not only raised funds for SEGDI, but interacted with the students. I love it! The freedom I have with a SEGDI harness handle in my hand is as exhilirating as riding on the back of a Harley.