Aarp’s 50 over 50 Larry Adams of Yukon



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AARP’s 50 over 50

Larry Adams of Yukon: Adams began his career in social work working with youth offenders, then later moved to Yukon where he worked in various social services capacities. His special talent was working with and helping to prepare young high school students for the job market that were not going to college. He is a substitute teacher at Yukon High School

Dorothy Alexander of Cheyenne: An attorney, judge, writer and community organizer, Alexander has practiced law in rural Oklahoma for 35 years, including hundreds of hours of pro bono legal work through Legal Aid of Oklahoma. She continues to serve as municipal judge for two towns. She is founder of Village Books Press, publishes a literary journal, and has authored five books of poetry and stories. She founded the first AIDS support group in western Oklahoma and the first rural chapter of the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network.

Linda Andrews of Yukon: An educator, Andrews founded The Andrews School, an online distance learning medical transcription and coding school. In 2007, she was appointed to the Oklahoma Board of Private Vocational Schools by Gov. Brad Henry.

Lt. Gov. Jari Askins of Duncan: Askins has spent 25 years, first as a judge, later as a state representative, and now as lieutenant governor advocating on behalf of Oklahoma’s children, elders and small businesses.

Rita Barnett of Woodward: As a senior government teacher at Woodward High School, Barnett has affected thousands of young people in her community. She was the first social studies teacher in the state to become nationally certified. Her grant writing skills have resulted in technology resources and special activities for students.

Wyandotte Nation Chief Leaford Bearskin of Wyandotte: Bearskin has dedicated his life to advance the Wyandotte Nation. As chief, he has worked to improve health care, education and children’s programs. The Bearskin Health and Wellness Center is named in his honor.

Dr. Marie Bernard of Oklahoma City: Bernard was the coordinating force behind the establishment of the Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center in 1997. Under her leadership, the advanced training program that prepares physicians to become board certified geriatricians evolved. She is a tireless advocate on health care issues and has received numerous awards for her efforts.

Terry Bookout of Guymon: Bookout exemplifies volunteerism in Guymon. He serves as a board member of the Panhandle Lions Club; Loaves and Fishes, which distributes food to the needy; Panhandle Sheltered Workshop, an organization that helps the physically challenged; is co-chairman of the Lions Club Christmas Shopping Spree; and is chairman of volunteers who take care of a park along a state highway.

Bill Burgess of Lawton: A member of the State Regents for Higher Education, Burgess is a civic and community leader.

Brad Burgess of Lawton: Burgess has served on the Oklahoma Banking Board and is now on the State Transportation Commission. He is active in the United Way.

Roy Clark of Tulsa: Clark is a multi-talented instrumentalist, singer, television host and all-around entertainer. He has been an active part of the Tulsa community for more than 30 years, having raised over $1 million for Children’s Medical Center. For his efforts, Tulsa named Roy Clark Elementary School in his honor in 1978. He most recently organized a concert that raised more than $25,000 for the school’s music program.

Phyllis Croswell of Earlsboro: Croswell has a way of finding people who have a need and is always ready to find a way to fill that need. She’s an organizer and motivates others to be helpers.

State Rep. David Dank, R-Oklahoma City: As a legislator, Dank has been a champion for older Oklahomans. He has served as chairman of the elderly and long-term care subcommittee for the past two years and was the driving force in protecting residents in long-term care facilities as well as championing ethics reform and tax relief for seniors.

Laura Dempsey-Polan of Tulsa: Dempsey-Polan is chairman of committees working to reduce injury and abuse to elders and vulnerable adults.

Martha Denney of Ponca City: As a sexual assault nurse examiner, Denney works with law enforcement in Ponca City and Kay County through Dearing House, a child advocacy center. She provides care for victims of sexual assault, adults and children.

Michael Dooley of Lawton: Dooley is a board member and past chairman of the Lawton/Fort Sill Armed Services YMCA and volunteers annually as emcee and auctioneer for the Fort Sill Patriot Spouses Club Goods and Services Auction.

Janet Drummond of Pawhuska: From her work with the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and Meals on Wheels, Drummond epitomizes the word “volunteer.” For more than 20 years, she was a volunteer for the Girl Scouts of America.

Attorney General Drew Edmondson of Muskogee: Throughout his career in law enforcement, Edmondson has dedicated his time and energy to protecting Oklahomans – first as an assistant district attorney, then as Muskogee County district attorney and now as attorney general. He has prosecuted criminals who prey on the vulnerable, negotiated the historic tobacco settlement of 1998 and focused on the legal issues surrounding end-of-life health care.

Linda Edmondson of Muskogee: The wife of the state’s attorney general, Edmondson is a leading advocate for improving health care for Oklahomans. She has served as a member of the Governor’s Hospice Advisory Board, the Oklahoma Council on Aging and the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. In addition, she is a founding member of the Oklahoma Association for Healthcare Ethics and was selected as Oklahoma’s social worker of the year in 2004.

Dr. John Edwards of Shawnee: Working with his wife, Edwards helped form an outreach organization in the poor, flood zone area of Chickasha to address underserved needs of children in the area. That work resulted in what is known as the Fellowship of American Indians Mission. In addition, he became the catalyst for organizing a branch of the Chickasaw Nation Boys and Girls Club in Chickasha.

Regina Edwards of Oklahoma City: A U.S. Peace Corps volunteer, Edwards has a long history of work and volunteer services that have benefited thousands through her work with youth, the Oklahoma City Housing Authority and the city of Oklahoma City. Most recently she has returned from Suriname, where she was a Peace Corps volunteer.

State Rep. Jerry Ellis, D-Valliant: As a state representative, he has authored legislation that will bring the “Green House” project to Oklahoma, which will give older Oklahomans an alternate long-term care choice.

Mike Fogarty of Oklahoma City: As chief executive officer of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority since 1999, Fogarty has overseen the expansion of medical coverage for children, pregnant women, and disabled and elderly adults. He helped create a statewide Web site for nursing home ratings. Some of the programs implemented under his leadership include a health care subsidy program for employees of Oklahoma small businesses and a breast and cervical cancer treatment program for low-income women.

Sylvester Franklin of Haskell: Franklin has taught in the Haskell School District – first at Haskell’s Booker T. Washington all-black school – for more than 55 years, continuing to teach one hour of math and GED classes today at age 83.

Alecia Keahbone Gonzales of Anadarko: Author, educator, and Kiowa language preservationist, Gonzales has devoted herself to teaching and preserving the language of the Kiowa people, penning a Kiowa language textbook and a series of children’s books that included a compact disc of her telling traditional stories in the Kiowa language. Lou Hall, Pauls Valley – Community Volunteer. Lou Hall has made Pauls Valley a better place through her long record of civic and community activities. Her consistent effort has laid strong foundations and resulted in much recognition.

Theresa Hansen of Tulsa: Hansen observes and collects data about family court cases in Tulsa. Since 2001, she has given nearly 5,000 hours of volunteer service to improving the courts and the public.

James “Mickey” Hawkins of Cleveland: Hawkins served 28 years as a special agent for the FBI and was lead investigator of the Murrah Building bombing. After retiring in 1999, he became an assistant district attorney for Tulsa County and is Tulsa County’s gang prosecutor.

Carolyn Herr of Oklahoma City: Herr operates a one-woman ministry to the homeless in Oklahoma City. She began by crocheting hats for the homeless and has since negotiated with the Oklahoma City farmer’s market for booth space so she can sell items with all proceeds going to the homeless. Last year she provided 500 bags of food, toiletries, hats and scarves to those less fortunate.

Beth Herrington of Tahlequah: After a 48-year career teaching music, Herrington continues her civic involvement as a historian of Cherokee County, having helped save and restore a Tahlequah landmark – the Thompson House. She is active in helping the Humane Society and as a result numerous cats and dogs have found homes; through her work she has helped make spaying a neutering available to the community.

Cal Hobson of Lexington: A decorated Vietnam War veteran, Hobson served more than 25 years as a state legislator, eventually becoming president pro tempore of the Senate. He was the principal author of legislation boosting quality education funding from pre-school to the OU Health Science Center, raising teachers’ salaries, providing teacher retirement and helping build a new J.D. McCarty Center for special children. In addition, he was the principal author of the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program, funding college tuition for middle- and lower-income families.

Beverly Horse of Lawton: Horse served 23 years as counselor for the displaced homemaker – singe parent program at Great Plains Technology Center in Lawton. Drawing from her experience as a single parent raising three daughters, she has helped thousands of disadvantaged clients successfully enter the work force and worked with high school dropouts who needed assistance to complete their education.

Esther Houser of Oklahoma City: For the last 30 years, Houser has been a leading voice for older Oklahomans developing the ombudsman program of the state Department of Human Services. Her efforts have been instrumental in improving long-term care services, uncovering corruption and advocating for appropriate staffing levels in nursing homes.

Pawnee Nation Business Council President George E. Howell of Pawnee: Howell is president of the Pawnee Nation’s business council. He implemented a fund to assist elders with medical or hardship needs and worked to resolve a 20-year old matter with the state by reinstating worker’s compensation protection for tribal employees.

Sister Barbara Joseph of Oklahoma City: Sister Barbara Joseph operates Sister B.J.’s Pantry in downtown Oklahoma City, providing food and clothing to the homeless. Nearly 300 men and women benefit from her service each Friday and Saturday morning.

Debra Knoke of Sallisaw: Knoke is a nurse at Sequoyah Memorial Hospital in Sallisaw. Her consistent concern for patient care and patient experience drives her daily decisions and motivates her to always put the patient first.

Ed Londagin of Oklahoma City: For more than 20 years, Londagin has worked to make a difference in the lives of children in need in the Putnam City School District area. As the owner of a hair salon, Londagin has provided free back-to-school haircuts and helps provide Thanksgiving dinner and a one-month food supply for those in need. He also buys hundreds of pairs of new shoes annually for children.

Barry Lowe of Bartlesville: Lowe is founder of the Lowe Family Young Scholars Program, an innovative partnership with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, that provides mentoring to low-income students in Bartlesville. Students who complete the program are then offered a scholarship of $4,000 per year to attend college at Rogers State University, Oklahoma Wesleyan University or Oklahoma State University.

Nora McBee of McAlester: McBee is manager/caretaker of the hospitality home for families of men in prison at McAlester and Stringtown. She greets everyone with a smile, open arms and a sympathetic ear.

Dr. Lynn Mitchell of Oklahoma City: As Medicaid director for Oklahoma, Mitchell oversees health care programs for almost 600,000 low-income residents, most of whom are children.

Marcia Mitchell of Tulsa: Mitchell founded The Little Lighthouse, a Christian preschool for children with special needs after she discovered there were no early intervention services available when her daughter was born with visual impairments 35 years ago. Hundreds of children have been helped through The Little Lighthouse to excel in development through the special educational programs and therapies received. The program is fully supported by grants, fundraisers and charitable giving and offers free tuition to students.

Rick Moore of Moore: Moore served as assistant to former Oklahoma City Mayor Ron Norick and as a congressional aide to former U.S. Rep. Mickey Edwards. He has worked on the MAPS projects and on the response to the Murrah Building bombing.

Former Gov. George Nigh of McAlester: Nigh served as a teacher in McAlester before becoming, at age 31, the youngest lieutenant governor in the United States, in 1959. As a state representative, he introduced legislation to make “Oklahoma!” the state’s official song. In 1963, he became governor and was elected governor in 1978. He was the first Oklahoma governor to serve consecutive terms and carried all 77 counties during his re-election bid in 1982. Nigh later served as president of the University of Central Oklahoma.

Karen Orsi of Guthrie: Orsi is a planner at Areawide Aging Agency and advocates on behalf of Oklahomans with mental illness. She has been instrumental in helping provide depression screenings for many senior citizens in Oklahoma, Logan and Canadian counties.

Bill Pierce of Oklahoma City: As president of Oklahoma Baptist Retirement Communities of Oklahoma, Pierce has advocated creating a national trust for health care and was a leading proponent of creating a statewide nursing home ratings Web site.

Choctaw Nation Chief Greg Pyle of Durant: As chief of the Choctaw Nation, Pyle has displayed solid, honorable leadership. He has been consistent in his values, hopes and dreams while taking the Choctaw people forward.

Larry Roberts of Miami: Roberts served 21 years in the state House of Representatives, where he spearheaded efforts on the state’s teacher retirement system. He previously served as Ottawa County treasurer for nine years, taught school and is an Army veteran. He recently came out of retirement to serve as operations manager for the Lead-Impacted Communities Relocation Assistant Trust, charged with the voluntary buyout for the towns of Picher and Cardin.

Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel of Oklahoma City: Whetsel has served in law enforcement since 1967. Currently he is president of the Oklahoma’s Sheriff’s Association, the National Homeland Security Training Center Advisory Board, the U.S. attorney office’s anti-terrorism advisory council, the Boy Scouts Law Enforcement Explorers National Executive Committee, the Oklahoma Drug and Violent Crime Grant Board, the Oklahoma Board of Tests for Alcohol and Drug Influence, as well as several community advisory boards.

Arlen Williams of Pauls Valley: Williams is a respected member of the Pauls Valley civic and business communities. He has been a member of the Kiwanis Club for 19 years, served as president and chairman of the flag committee for the “Fourth of July in the Park,” and is currently serving as President of the Pauls Valley Chamber of Commerce and as board member for the Pauls Valley Foundation for Academic Excellence.

State Rep. Susan Winchester, R-Chickasha: Winchester was the first woman to hold the post of speaker pro tempore of the House. She is a member of the board of the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals and is a member and former board member of Leadership Oklahoma.


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