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Pearl Harbor Sailors Attend Guide Dog Graduation

By USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) Public Affairs Office

SAN DIEGO – USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) Sailors attended a Guide Dogs of the Desert graduation in appreciation of a guide dog that was given their namesake April 5.

Guide Dogs of the Desert is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising and training guide dogs for the visually impaired free of charge.

Of the six dogs that graduated, one was named Pearl after Pearl Harbor, and was presented to a disabled veteran. This was the organization’s first all-veteran graduating class.

The event’s Master of Ceremonies and Guide Dogs of the Desert’s Executive Director, Rocci Hill, recognized the crew of Pearl Harbor for the volunteer work that they performed two years earlier, when a number of them helped renovate the grounds of the organization’s training compound. In appreciation, Guide Dogs of the Desert named a puppy in training, Pearl, after the ship.

“We were honored to name one of our puppies after a ship full of heroes who volunteered their time at the Guide Dogs of the Desert school,” said Hill. “While the crew was here, they helped clean up trash, helped rebuild parts of our site, constructed a memorial pathway, and made themselves available for anything we needed. We are very grateful for all of their support and goodwill and good humor, and naming Pearl after them was the least we could do.”

Cmdr. David Guluzian, the ship’s commanding officer, presented a plaque to Hill from his crew and delivered a short address to the audience.

“The crew takes the ship’s namesake very seriously,” said Guluzian. “We are proud to support and honor the Guide Dogs of the Desert and the important service that they provide to not only our disabled veterans but also all people with disabilities.”

Pearl, the two-year-old Labrador/Golden Retriever cross, was matched with her handler, retired Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer Ruth Shumaker. Shumaker served during World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

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