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Eli Manning Appears At Westchester Guiding Eyes Fundraiser

Eli Manning discusses the importance of Guiding Eyes.
Eli Manning discusses the importance of Guiding Eyes. Video Credit: Daily Voice
Pamela Franklin, a Guiding Eyes volunteer, with Olaf. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Liz Conte with Ohio. Photo Credit: Sam Barron

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Yorktown's Guiding Eyes For The Blind received a handoff from a true New York Giant.

Eli Manning, New York Giants quarterback and two-time Super Bowl MVP, was the guest of honor at a Guiding Eyes For The Blind fundraiser at Mulino's in White Plains. 

Manning is a longtime supporter of Guiding Eyes, making an appearance at the organization's annual blind golf tournament. Manning supports Guiding Eyes in honor of Pat Brown, a family friend and champion blind golfer.

"I'm proud to be in the Guiding Eyes For The Blind organization and be part of the family here," Manning said. "I've been here 10 years and it's been great to help out so many people get more guide dogs into the hands of people who need it and the families who need it. I'm happy to support them."

While Manning has been getting ready for the 2016 season, he joked that he's also been training hard for the blind putt he attempts to make every year.

"It's all luck," Manning said.

Heading into the season, Manning has to deal with no longer being the only Eli on the team. The Giants drafted cornerback Eli Apple in the first round.

"I haven't really thought about it," Manning said. "I don't know what we'll do. We'll figure it out. I have seniority, so we can call him E.A. or Apple. Call me Elisha, maybe, switch to my official full name."

Guiding Eyes CEO Thomas Panek, who lives in South Salem and uses a guide dog, 4-year-old Gus, said he was honored to have Manning help out Guiding Eyes.

"He's a man of integrity," Panek said. "He's been very dedicated with getting the word out about Guiding Eyes and helping us with donors."

Panek said having a guide dog provides him with independence and allows him to travel safely. 

Guiding Eyes also showed off two of its newest additions, 8-week old Olivia and Ohio, who are being trained to become guide dogs. Panek joked that it was tough to determine who was the more popular guest- the puppies or Manning.

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