Meet the Board: Gail Walden

Why do you serve on the San Antonio Lighthouse Board?

I consider it an honor to serve on this Board. Mike Gilliam found out about me through Guide Dogs of Texas back in 2019 – just as I rolled off the Resource Committee following a stint as the Board Chair.

What do you love the most about the San Antonio Lighthouse?

Being a blind individual myself, I am particularly supportive of the rehabilitative services provided and the current expansion to place a little more focus on younger adults getting out into the workforce.  I also love their seniors’ support programs as this population can easily spin downward toward depression and exclusion from society.

What are some of your hobbies?

Needless to say, I am a dog lover and love taking Dante, now retired, out for “play walks” around my neighborhood – he gets to get out of his harness and just be on a long leash like all the “other” dogs as I walk with my white cane.  I also love gardening, although I admit to having only a pale green thumb! I may not be able to see the plants, but I can smell and feel them, then use my imagination to fill in the gaps about colors and blooms.

What is a fun fact about you?

I don’t know that I have any “fun facts,”  but I do have an active past – I was an avid horsewoman (I rode English style) competed, and trained both horse and rider until my eyesight deteriorated enough to make such unsafe, I’ve been backpacking in the New Mexico mountains with friends, I lived in Germany for two years while my father was stationed there, and as part of my Masters in Public Health, I was part of a team that went to Brownsville, McAllen, Reynosa, and Monterrey chasing mosquitoes that could spread Dengue Fever.  I used to tell people that we would try to lasso the mosquitoes with tiny silk lassos so we could test them for the virus… that’s not really true, but it was fun getting a rise out of some folk!

Occupation?

Right now I am a Study Coordinator for a nationwide, VA-funded study on drug efficacy for Parkinson’s Disease patients that develop hallucinations and delusions as a side effect of the disease – I am only responsible for the San Antonio site; there are a total of 24 in the study. I have been in medical research since I graduated from college with most of my work revolving around the recovery of function from Spinal Cord Injury, prosthetics, and Parkinson’s Disease. I used to manage a Biomechanics Motion analysis laboratory using the same technology to create computer animation.

Favorite book, podcast, or quote?

I am an NPR junkie – Radio Lab is one of my favorites. As to favorite books, there are too many to mention!

 

Photo of Gail smiling with the quote "Being a blind individual myself, I am particularly supportive of he rehabilitative services provided and the current expansion to place a little more focus on younger adults getting out into the workforce."  - Gail Walden, Board Member, San Antonio Lighthouse