We had our normal session and then for Saturday afternoon, was the graduation ceremony. It was very meaningful, as Christine Dahlberg, the program director, spoke of many of the highlights of this class, such as the the people backing each other and how the entire class got behind the IN Service Dog Bill HB1603 and got it pushed through legislation and passed into law. :)
Here is the room set up before things began- a table with all the bags and certificates on it:
With that, there were a couple of speakers and then they called each of us up to receive our certificates, our business cards with our names/addresses on them and congradulate us all and took pics.
Nancy Griffin (IN Gov's Council board member) Jan Bullington (Assistant to Christine during class)KC & Rei, Christine Dahlberg (IN Partners in Policymaking program director)
After these were all handed out, one of our guests speakers had everyone circle up and we were each given a candle to hold. He lit a candle brought over from the Cincinatti Partner's program and lit it saying what Partners meant to him and then lit the next person's candle.
That person then had a few minutes to mention what partners meant to them and then lit the next candle until we had made it completely around the room.
KC speaking about what the Partners program has meant for her.
KC with Rei and holding her certificate of graduation:
It was quite amazing, as after the ceremony was over, Rei and I went over to Gary and Brady to say our good byes. A lady then came over with this tiny little dog wrapped up in a blanket and thanked us both profusely for working to get HB1603 passed as her little dog was an emotional support dog for her and she has had long time issues with being able to take the dog with her as needed, but now with the passing of HB1603, she was now legally able to take her dog with her.
Quite honestly, Gary and I were kind of at lost for words and wasn't sure what to say other than "You"re Welcome", as we did it for the right thing, not to cater to any one partiular group but for service dogs and guide dogs in general and we were just thrilled and happy to see it go through and that Gov. Daniels signed it into law!