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Bremer Bank in Brandon helps 'leader dog' program

Contributed photo "Angel" is a dog in training for the Leader Dogs for the Blind program. Bremer Bank has organized a fundraising effort to help the program.

As part of its "Spirit of Giving" service project, Bremer Bank in Brandon is raising money to help the Leader Dog for the Blind program.

Founded by three Detroit area Lions Clubs members in 1939, the program provides dog guides to people who are blind and visually impaired to enhance their mobility, independence and quality of life.

The Brandon Lions and Bremer Bank are each matching any donations received up to $500, so every dollar donated will triple.

Donations can be made at the bank through December 31. A person can also make a donation in memory or honor of someone as a Christmas gift idea.

Mary Walter at Bremer Bank came up with the idea of sponsoring a leader dog because her 90-year-old father has been struggling with loss of some of his sight due to macular degeneration and cataracts.

"I hope people realize what a gift sight is and also the gift of a seeing-eye dog for someone who has lost their sight," she said.

A trainer with the Leader Dog program, Linda Wiedewitsch, will visit Brandon school on the morning of Wednesday, December 2 with a dog in training, Angel.

They will also stop at Bremer Bank's Christmas open house later that day. The open house runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes cookies, cider and coffee.

Currently, Leader Dog is the only facility in the western hemisphere to teach deaf-blind students to work with a dog guide.

Leader Dog is recognized as a "Best In America" Charity by the Independent Charities of America (ICA).

For more information on the program, visit the website www.leader