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MailTribune.com
  • Dogs for the Deaf leader chosen

  • A retired Air Force commander and sled dog racer has been hired as the new CEO for Dogs for the Deaf Inc., based in Central Point.
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  • A retired Air Force commander and sled dog racer has been hired as the new CEO for Dogs for the Deaf Inc., based in Central Point.
    Blake Matray, who has been living in Alaska since 2000, will take the reins July 1 after a nationwide search to replace Robin Dickson, who retired in December after 32 years with the organization.
    Board members found Matray to be an "exceptional candidate" for the position, chairman Marvin Rhodes said in an announcement. "Genuine. Authentic. Approachable. Intelligent. Articulate. An inspiring leader. A dog lover that is passionate about our mission," Rhodes said.
    Matray retired from the Air Force in 2013 after a 23-year career overseeing flight operations, training, strategic operations and risk management, according to a release. He is a 1990 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and has a master's degree in management from Ellis University in Chicago.
    While stationed in North Dakota, Matray was introduced to sled dog racing and began raising and training Siberian huskies. His passion for dogs and racing is partly what drew him to Alaska, where he has lived since 2000, the release said. He has competed in numerous mid- and long-distance sled dog races in Alaska.
    In 2007, Matray founded and worked as the executive director of the Sled Dog Fund, a nonprofit that used sled dogs to promote awareness and support of children with special needs. He secured funding for Autism Service Dogs for families and financed camp participation for children with special needs.
    Matray serves on the board of the Alaska Center for Children and Adults, a nonprofit serving adults and children with special needs.
    Since 1977, Dogs for the Deaf has been rescuing dogs from shelters and training them to assist people with hearing loss and placing the dogs with people throughout the U.S.
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