The Path to Independence

The Path to Independence - Paved with your Milestones and Memories

The Path to Independence is the name for The Seeing Eye’s engraved brick program. The path represents a symbolic milestone in the life of someone who travels to Morristown to be matched with a Seeing Eye dog. While donors can quite literally, pave that path brick by brick, it’s the inscriptions on those bricks that makes the program so meaningful.

Of the hundreds who have helped pave the path are donors Les and Grace Banach, who have had five bricks engraved since the path was started in 2011. According to Grace, "They mark important milestones in our lives."

Les agrees, "I was trying to think of something special to honor my late father who loved my golden retriever, Kirby. They were snack buddies because anytime my parents came to visit, I always told them not to feed the dog from the table. Whenever he came over, Kirby would run under the table. He would feed that dog anyway. They were two buddies, and I knew that an engraved brick at The Seeing Eye would be a lasting tribute." The brick reads: "IN LOVING MEMORY OF RALPH BANACH AND KIRBY SNACK BUDDIES"

In March 2016, the Banachs adopted a golden retriever from The Seeing Eye. "When we walked in, my wife locked eyes with Brandi and we just had to have her," Les recalls about that fateful moment. Soon after, the Banachs met two sisters who are puppy raisers for The Seeing Eye, by chance, at a craft show while the sisters were walking Sara, their golden retriever. The sisters raised Sara and adopted her from The Seeing Eye after she retired from the breeding program. Everyone became fast friends.

In retirement Sara became a therapy dog that was trained to stop, drop and roll to teach children about fire safety. When she passed away, the Banachs had a brick engraved in her honor that reads, "IN LOVING MEMORY OF SWEET SARA STOP DROP AND ROLL"

The Path to Independence campaign is ongoing with a deadline each year of April 30 for engraved bricks to be placed in the fall*.

To make your donation online: Pave the Path to Independence
To print and mail with your donation: Paving the Path to Independence form (PDF)

*Due to delays related to the impact of COVID-19 on our vendors, the normal schedule of installing bricks in the fall may be delayed.