‘What she lacks in vision she has in insight’
By Shellie Branco, Californian staff writer
Brenda the golden retriever is a work dog. She wasn’t meant for spoiling. That doesn’t keep her from snuggling up to her owner, Penny Valdovinos, any chance she gets.
Valdovinos has been visually impaired since childhood. She relied on her Seeing Eye dog to navigate around the piles of toys and boxes at The Salvation Army Christmas center in a vacant retail space on Ming Avenue. That’s where she directed volunteers who packed holiday food and toy boxes for needy families this season.
The 57-year-old also was a bell ringer at the Marketplace for the organization’s Christmas kettle campaign. She’s volunteered as a receptionist at The Salvation Army for 20 years and served as a bell ringer for 15 years. “What she lacks in vision she has in insight,” said Captain David Ebel, The Salvation Army’s Kern County coordinator.
Valdovinos works for the county Department of Human Services, making sure clients are eligible for Medi-Cal and food assistance.