October 10, 2022 - Kona

OCTOBER 10, 2022



It is campaign season here at United Way which means I am often out visiting with our partner businesses who support their community by holding a workplace campaign. One recent visit was to meet with Dave Muelken at SCS Elevator Products. They are doing the coolest thing ever and I asked if I could share it with all of you.


The photo attached to this blog is of a black lab named Kona. Kona is 16 months old and is in training to become a certified guide dog. SCS Elevator is sponsoring her training through a program with Guide Dogs of America. Kona is living with a foster family who are trained “puppy Raisers”. They work with her on basic obedience training and the fundamentals of being a guide dog. She has just a few more months being with her foster family until she moves into formal training.


At 18 months or so she will be entered into the formal training program at Guide Dogs including being matched with a visually impaired person. Together, they will learn how to be a guide dog and a guide dog owner. This process takes approximately six months. Guide Dogs of America work very hard to match the temperament and needs of both owner and guide dog. If they find their initial match isn’t quite right, they will make a new match for both dog and owner.


SCS Elevator Products have watched Kona grow and train since their sponsorship began when she was just a puppy. Looking for a way to give back to the community that supports their business, Regional Sales Manager, Brian Hilfrank came up with the idea of sponsoring a guide dog. The founder of SCS Elevator Products, Robley G. Cook, was visually impaired and partnered with a guide dog of his own. This made sponsoring Kona a perfect fit. Internally, the employees have enjoyed watching Kona’s progress and within the industry, SCS Elevator won an award from the National Association of Elevator Contractors in recognition for their sponsorship. Following SCS’s lead, 3 new sponsorships have developed from other businesses within the industry.


Let's all cheer for Kona as she moves into her next phase of training and add a cheer for SCS Elevator Products for this wonderful example of community support. Everyone wins in this situation, and I have been told that there is a chance that another puppy will be sponsored once Miss Kona has completed her training.


Thanks, SCS Elevator Products for sponsoring beautiful, Kona, helping her new owner lead a more independent life and your support of this community through your partnership with United Way.


Today is Indigenous People's Day an annual event meant to honor the Indigenous people of the United States.  To date, 14 states—Alabama, Alaska, Hawai'i, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin—and the District of Columbia, more than 130 cities, and growing numbers of school districts celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day in place of or in addition to Columbus Day.


Are you a parent, grandparent, or other caregiver looking for an age-appropriate ways to share or even introduce Indigenous Peoples’ Day? Here are some recommendations from The Smithsonian National Museum for the American Indian.


Consider reading a board book with the youngest members of your family. Social Justice Books, a project of Teaching for Change, shares a list of books recommended by Dr. Debbie Reese (Nambé Pueblo), founder and co-editor of American Indians in Children’s Literature. Dr. Reese’s list includes everything from illustrated storybooks for young children, to middle-school fiction and nonfiction, to titles for young (or not so young) adult readers.


Three recommended podcasts are: 

Three excellent television shows include:

  •  Molly of Denali on PBS for the littlest learners
  • Rutherford Falls
  • Reservation Dogs (appropriate for older teens due to language with some deep messages they can handle).
To Place an Order - Click Here

Volunteer Needs

Help sorting and counting new, clean socks and hygiene product

donations for distribution.

Daytime hours in the UW office.


Call if interested 651-388-6309

or email: mnelson@unitedwaygwp.org


We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.”

Dakota Wisdom

Something to think about as we make our way through life.


Thanks for reading


Maureen Nelson