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BECAUSE EDMOND

DESERVES

NOTHING LESS.

When INTEGRIS Health Edmond opened, we promised to bring Edmond and surrounding communities the care you deserve. And we’ve found that when we focus solely on that promise, others take notice. That’s why the Women’s Choice Award named us one of America’s Best Hospitals for Obstetrics and for Emergency Care, placing us in the top 1%. And they’re not alone. We’ve received awards for excellence in perinatal care and the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Pathway to Excellence Designation. Of course, all of that doesn’t mean much without a patient experience that’s second-to-none. And according to Press Ganey, we’ve got that too, leading Edmond in patient satisfaction. It’s what Edmond deserves. And we’re proud to be the hospital that delivers it.

integrisok.com/edmond (405) 657-3000


TODAY 717.4900

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11-14


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May 2016

Breathe So I’m sitting up straight, eyes closed, bare feet flat on the floor, breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth. Over and over again. My thoughts are like wild monkeys swinging from branch to branch of a very large tree. I’m told to let go of each thought and refocus on my breathing. Another breath, another monkey. Back to the breath. And there’s another monkey. This goes on for quite a while, and then I’m instructed to slowly open my eyes. Simple as that, I’m meditating. Actually I’m in a meditation class.

30 Wild on the Water

I spend so much time “doing.” This is a time for just “being.” How did I get here? I was going through some of Sandy’s belongings last month, and I found a business card for the meditation class instructor. And I thought why not. Isn’t this what widowers in their fifties are supposed to do? Take classes? Actually, I’ve been meditating on and off for nearly 30 years. I’m here to learn more. Breathing is the most fundamental of our body’s systems. It just happens. We rarely think about it. The rhythmic rising and falling of the diaphragm is a constant I can tap into. When I’m frustrated with traffic, when I’m upset with something at work, when I’m hit with a wave of grief—I can refocus. If my thoughts are dwelling on the past or I’m apprehensive about the future, focusing on my breath brings me back to the present moment. This breath.

PUBLISHER Dave Miller

Concert with Mom

13 Food

Eggington’s, Blaze Pizza & Rocket Fizz Brag-worthy bites around Edmond

16 Business

Generations Home Care California Closets

34 My Outlook

405-341-5599

Outlook is a publication of Back40 Design, Inc.

Creative Director Bethany Marshall

PHOTOGRAPHY Marshall Hawkins www.sundancephotographyokc.com

FEATURES

18 A Soldier’s Story

World War II POW 2nd Lt. Melvin Spencer recollects his time in Nazi custody

23 Allergy Aware

Local teen advocates for more awareness and sensitivity to food allergies

26 A Farewell Song

Sandi Patty is on her final tour, ready to start her retirement in Oklahoma

32 Summer Play and Learn

As summer comes, so does camp season—discover three different camps to inspire your children

To advertise, contact Laura at (405) 301-3926 or laura@outlookoklahoma.com

80 East 5th Street, Suite 130, Edmond, OK 73034 Volume 12, Number 5

10 Louise

Front cover photography by Marshall Hawkins

Dave Miller, Publisher, Back40 President

OUTLOOK

8 Facts & Figures

Kirsten Cash, Professional Baby Namer

No, I can’t empty my mind of all thoughts, but with practice and instruction I can thin my gaggle of wild monkeys... except that pesky one that keeps popping back into my consciousness, reminding me I’m actually paying to sit and do nothing. Ah, back to the breath.

Enjoy kayaking, canoeing and rafting in white water rapids at Riversport Adventure

www.outlookoklahoma.com © 2016 Back40 Design, Inc.

info@outlookoklahoma.com

ADVERTISING MANAGER Laura Beam

DISTRIBUTION Outlook is delivered FREE by direct-mail to 50,000 Edmond & North OKC homes.

Articles and advertisements in the Outlook do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the magazine or Back40 Design. Back40 Design does not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. The acceptance of advertising by the Outlook does not constitute endorsement of the products, services or information. We do not knowingly present any product or service that is fraudulent or misleading in nature. The Outlook assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials.

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For the Moms Around Town

Celebrating Mother’s Day on May 8th

26 is the average age a mother gives birth for the first time

120 million Mother’s Day cards are exchanged annually in the US

Don’t miss the free open house and speech disorder screening Saturday, May 14, from 10am-12pm. Speech Therapy Professionals at 301 S. Boulevard in Edmond will screen your child’s articulation and language skills and provide standardized scores and recommendations. Visit speechtherapyprofessionals.com or call 285-6765.

Greeks and Romans celebrated Mother’s Day by honoring Cybele, the goddess of fertility, and Rhea, mother of the gods

President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill recognizing Mother’s Day as a national holiday on May 9, 1914

There are about 85.4 million mothers in the US

Various tasks moms perform at home would be worth $62,985 a year in the professional world

Mother’s Day sees more phone calls than any other Sunday of the year

Mother’s Day is the third most popular holiday in the world

Statistics provided by: Woman’s Day; CNN; Pew Research Center; 2009 US Census Bureau; Insure.com

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Outlook May 2016

Porter’s Quick Change Oil is celebrating 18 years in business with $4 off a full-service oil change through May 31. See their ad on page 33 and enjoy a 10-minute oil change with no appointment necessary. Stop by 2625 Broadway Ct., behind Jimmy’s Egg, call 348-6400 or visit portersoilchange.com. Join experts with the Edmond Historic Preservation Trust on a downtown tour of historic Edmond, Saturday, May 21! Available from 3:30-5:30pm on Broadway, north of 2nd Street, this 45-minute educational walking tour gives details about structures and residents throughout downtown and shows photos of the changes through the decades. Tickets are $5. For details, call 715-1889 or visit edmondhistoricpreservationtrust.com.


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HomeCareAssistanceOklahoma.com outlookoklahoma.com

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Louise

Concert with Mom

by Louise Tucker Jones

May brings a celebration of mothers. I love honoring my sweet, 99-year-old mama, but I also enjoy doing fun things with my kids. And being the mother of four, with two of my children already in heaven, I like to recall wonderful times with each of them. An exceptional or everyday happening that brought a special joy to my soul and left a beautiful memory in my heart. Most of these moments took place when I least expected them. When my oldest son was in high school, he planned to attend a Christian contemporary music concert with the youth group from our church. To my amazement, Aaron invited me to go along. He knew I enjoyed the music of one of the performers. I readily accepted. However, by the time the date of the concert arrived, I had questions about going. My youngest son, who had multiple health issues, had been ill and I was concerned about him. Maybe I should stay home. Of course, my husband saw no need in that and encouraged me to attend, assuring me he was capable of taking care of Jay. I wavered. Finally, it hit me. Aaron was sixteen years old. How many opportunities would I have to do something fun with him before he went away to college? And how many youth actually invited their mothers to attend a concert with them that was clearly geared for teens? The decision was made. I would not miss this opportunity. At the concert, I sat with Aaron and his friends in the third row, stuffing Kleenex in my ears to block out the loud, ear-splitting,

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amplified music of the first performer. I stood when the kids stood, clapped when they clapped and never let anyone know how nervous I was to feel the floor vibrate beneath my feet. Aaron and his friends were amused at my enthusiasm. By the time we left the concert, I was certain my hearing was damaged forever. My ears were ringing and sounds were muffled but it quickly passed. So did my son’s teenage years. In no time he was in college and away from home. I missed him more than I could say. On days when I was especially lonely for his ready smile and his teasing manner I would often think back to the concert we attended and be thankful once again that I didn’t pass up an opportunity to spend time with my son. Aaron is now grown and has a family of his own, but we are still very close. Some days he calls just to chat and tell me about his day. I drop everything and enjoy the moment, knowing that these times too shall pass. And even today, some 30 years later, I sometimes reminisce on that concert of years ago when my teenage son and I made a lifetime memory. And Aaron? Well, he still laughs about the fact that his mom was the only person in the whole youth group to get an autograph from the performer. Wishing all moms everywhere a Happy Mother’s Day. May you make beautiful memories to hold in your heart forever!

About the Author Louise Tucker Jones is an award-winning author, inspirational speaker and founder of the organization, Wives With Heavenly Husbands, a support group for widows. Email LouiseTJ@cox. net or visit LouiseTuckerJones.com.


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FOOD

Eggington’s, Blaze Pizza & Rocket Fizz Brag-worthy bites around Edmond

Many of the exciting new eats making their debut in Edmond are also newcomers to Oklahoma. Thanks to some loyal locals with a desire to bring their food findings and passions back to their hometown, a variety of new breakfast, lunch, dinner and sweets are just around the corner. First, breakfast. There’s a reason it’s considered the most important meal of the day. It’s indulgent, it’s warm and buttery, it’s your first taste of the day and it involves coffee. What’s more important than that? And it’s even better when someone else has to clean the kitchen afterwards.

Eggington’s

Put down your skillet and trade your pajamas for pants-Edmond has a new breakfast spot that makes it worth getting dressed! Eggington’s superb menu hails from a clever eatery in Casper, Wyoming and the inspiration of two Edmond natives. Jason Clark, like most oil and gas professionals, traveled and worked in Wyoming. An admitted food-lover, Clark approached the restaurant’s owner about opening another location, and after consulting with his longtime Edmond friend and experienced restaurateur, Stan Wimmer, Eggington’s found a new home in Edmond. First things first--Eggington’s biscuits and gravy. Addictive!

by Laura Beam

Tasty Focaccia bread biscuits are lavished with a wellseasoned brown sausage gravy. It’s everything you wish all restaurant gravy could be. Next, their famous homemade green chili is a savory sauce with a smoky pork flavor and subtle spice. It’s a delicious accent on omelets, burritos and more, but so good you can eat it like soup. I did, and I’m not even ashamed. You’ll have to dine multiple times to relish all the fantastic items on this plentiful menu, including the layered Cowboy Skillet, numerous Benedicts, sweet cream buttermilk pancakes, frittatas and breakfast tamales that are absolutely “the bomb,” says Clark. I believe him. And don’t leave without trying continued on next page

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Eggington’s, Blaze Pizza and Rocket Fizz, cont.

their Big Train Chai tea. Even hard-core coffee-drinkers will come back for more of this sweet and frothy concoction! For lunch, the gourmet burgers, paninis, flatbreads and melts are equally enticing. 737 W. Danforth Road, eggingtons-hub.com

Blaze Pizza

Another first to Oklahoma and to Edmond, Blaze Pizza, is a fastcasual restaurant featuring build-your-own and signature pizzas ‘fastfire’d’ to perfection in 180 seconds. Seriously! The high-tech oven can accommodate 22 pizzas at a time, each crisped with a delicious golden crust. This laid-back pizzeria treats you to your favorite artisanal pie in mere minutes with unlimited toppings for just $7.95. When you realize there’s no catch--it really is unlimited toppings at one price--you’ll probably want to smother your pizza with everything from ovalini mozzarella and sautéed onions to Italian meatballs and applewood bacon. General Manager Jeff Hadley brought the quality-meets-quick concept to the Edmond area when the restuarant opened in October 2015. Embracing the ‘chart your own course’ philosophy, the restaurant has a distinctly millennial feel with green and clean items, highquality produce, recycled materials, no nitrates or chemicals and an industrial atmosphere with an assembly line, ‘build-your-own’ approach. Every item is listed with a calorie count and all signature pizzas are under 1000 calories for the entire pizza. Gluten-free crusts are made fresh daily, too, with quality ingredients, and vegans enjoy incredible options as well. If you’re forsaking your diet for a day, finish with a delicious s’more melted right on the hearth of the oven—makes you feel like a kid again! 2410 W. Memorial Road, blazepizza.com

A SHORT TRIP WELL WORTH YOUR TIME

UMBRELLAS • REPLACEMENT CUSHIONS IN STOCK

17 W. 1st St.

DOWNTOWN EDMOND

405-341-2770

www.swansonsfireplaceandpatio.com

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Outlook May 2016

Rocket Fizz

Compelled by Downtown Edmond’s renaissance and historic charm, Alan and Tina Bevel found a home base for their new venture, Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop. With the feel of an oldfashioned general store and soda shop but the modern flair of a sweets boutique that caters to all tastes and diets, it couldn’t have found a more fitting home. Located in the new Campbell Corner building and slated to open mid-to-late May, the store features a mesmerizing array of nostalgic confections like long-stick bubble gum, taffy, Abba Zaba bars and Beanboozled jelly beans ‘in a zillion flavors,’ Alan remarks. Candy is sold by the bag, not the pound, and old-fashioned red stickers on items hearken back to a by-gone era. A wall of sodas, metal signs, concert posters and life-size cutouts of super heroes and celebrities add to the fun of this sweet destination! 130 N. Broadway, rocketfizz.com Laura Beam is a business and food writer and 20-year advertising and marketing executive in radio, newspaper and magazines. Share new business tips and trends with her on LinkedIn or email Laura@outlookoklahoma.com.


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Science Fit is...

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For Athletes

My first triathlon was in 2010 and I was immediately hooked. The challenge of training in three completely different disciplines (swim, bike and run), as well as the thrill of competing was an irresistible draw. Since then, I’ve regularly competed in all distances of triathlon including numerous half Ironman and full Ironman

Doug Rice, Attorney & Family Man

events. My training schedule is rigorous, occupying almost every day of the week but I manage to balance that with a busy law practice and a very active and fulfilling family life. As a 47 year old triathlete competing for the past six years, I realized I needed to incorporate strength training in my daily routine, so I could improve my performance. However, strength training always took a back seat to swimming, running, cycling as well as family and professional obligations. In fact, strength training was rarely ever done—that is until I saw an ad for Science Fit featuring my next door neighbor! At first I just couldn’t believe that training one day a week for 30 minutes could have the claimed benefits. Boy was I wrong! I started training at Science Fit in the fall of 2015. In the short amount of time since then, I’ve seen incredible results. My power output on the bike has increased significantly and I feel so much stronger while running and swimming.

Most importantly, I stay injury free. Science Fit also tailors my weekly workout around upcoming racing events so that I’m performing at peak capacity on race day. They’ve even worked with me on both recovery and race day nutrition to optimize my overall performance. Of course, the best part of training at Science Fit is that I only need to devote 30 minutes, once a week which is feasible for even the busiest athlete or professional. I’m now a believer in the Science Fit training protocol for endurance athletes and I can’t wait to see improvements in my race day results this summer!

Science Fit

To learn more about Science Fit, visit www.sciencefit.net All studio visits & sessions are by prior appointment only

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BUSINESS

Generations Home Care by Heide Brandes Carl & Meredith Phillips, Owners of Generations Home Care, with Danny Lewis, Administrator

When Danny Lewis was a teenager, his father got him a job at the Deaconess Hospital psychiatric wing. He didn’t want the job. He wasn’t too keen on bathing and cleaning the elderly who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and more, but within in a week, he was in love. “I knew this is what I wanted to do with my life,” Lewis said. “I can’t put it in words… senior adults are just so incredible to be around.” Following his calling, Lewis is now the administrator for Generations Home Care Sitter and Companion Services of Edmond. Carl Phillips, who owns Generations Home Care with his licensed counselor wife Meredith, has always had a caretaker spirit. When a school friend became paralyzed from the waist down in a motorcycle accident while riding to football practice, he was the one to visit and sit and care for him. “This is all I’ve ever known,” Phillips said.

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“It’s a calling. I got into occupational therapy and then home care.” That passion for providing care, hope and friendship to the elderly and others who cannot be left alone for extended periods led the two to start Generations three and a half years ago. “We both started in home health when we were young, and we both love it,” said Lewis. “Our clients need people, and they need more than their family can give them. The moral is that both of us are caregivers, and we saw a need for quality in-home care.” Generations offers bathing and bathroom assistance, sitter and companion services, livein home care, meal preparation, assessment and evaluation by a qualified RN. Transportation for shopping, errands and outings is also available. It’s not a Medicare agency, but a private pay home care service that boasts of one of the most competitive rates in the state.

“We offer more than just a ‘warm body’ service,” Phillips said. “If a client wants to go fishing, we’ll find a way to take him fishing. If they want to talk, we talk. Many times, our elderly are lonely. They are falling through the cracks, and what we offer is quality of life. We offer a friend.” The employees at Generations undergo strenuous background checks, Lewis said. In addition, all employees must show a desire to “serve,” not just work. “That’s our promise: we provide the absolute best care at the absolute best price,” Lewis said. “It is our belief that our generation owes the generation that came before us. That is our heartfelt mission.” For more information, call Generations Home Care at 405-651-8462 or visit their website www.gen-hc.com.


California Closets by Morgan Day Jerrie Miller, Owner (center), with associates from California Closets

Don’t let the “California” fool you— California Closets in Edmond is as local as they come. In fact, the franchise business, with a showroom at 111 S. Broadway, features closets and storage solutions that are made right here in Oklahoma. “A lot of people think because of the name California Closets, we order stuff and have little kits we assemble,” said Jerrie Miller, who owns the Edmond business with her husband B.J. “We’re actually a custom shop with employees to design and build everything here in Oklahoma. We have this nice showroom in Edmond, but many times people don’t realize what’s going on behind the scenes.” The California Closets company has been winning people over across the country since it was founded more than 30 years ago. The Millers have been doing the same in Oklahoma

since 2001. Jerrie, who has a business degree and an eye for design, and B.J., a former employee of Phillips Petroleum Company, were looking to run a customer-focused business that would incorporate her creative design skills and his business expertise. They found just that in California Closets. The product itself has wowed customers, and so have the Millers. The two are experts in organizing and transforming spaces and offering customers a personable approach to organizing, simplifying and managing their lives. When it comes to running the business, the couple most enjoys finding solutions to their customers’ problems. “I’m not a salesperson; I’m a problem solver,” Jerrie Miller said. “When someone calls us and they have a problem—they’re jam-packed, can’t find anything, and their life is in chaos—we step in, look at the problems

and figure out on our computer-aided design program how we can solve them.” The company goes way beyond the bedroom closet. California Closets can tackle storage in garages and home offices and even offers organizing solutions for wine bars and Murphy beds. Jerrie Miller said the end product—and customer service from the project’s start to finish—is what keeps their business successful. “That’s how we’ve been doing this for 15 years; we work off of repeat clients and referrals,” she said. “They keep coming back once they realize how it’s changed their lives.” California Closets of Edmond offers complimentary showroom or in-home design consultation and a limited lifetime guarantee. To learn more, visit californiaclosets.com or call 405-926-3289.

Call for Free Estimates!

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A Soldier’s Story World War II POW 2nd Lt. Melvin Spencer recollects his time in Nazi custody

On the morning of February 10th, 1944, hundreds of B-17 bombers departed from England for Brunswick, Germany with orders to destroy a ball bearing factory. Melvin Spencer, a 2nd Lieutenant of the 8th United States Army Air Force, a navigator aboard one of those B-17s, was on just his fourth mission of combat duty. The 8th Air Force had some of the highest death rates of any in World War II. In fact, the average lifespan for one of its airmen was 13 missions. Spencer’s B-17 was flying in “coffin corner”—the rear of the formation, so named because of its vulnerability to enemy fire and high fatality rates. He was, quite literally, in a death trap. Soon after entering German-occupied territory, the B-17s came under attack by hundreds of German fighter planes, with catastrophic results. Six planes—including Spencer’s—had been shot down in 10 minutes. Spencer and seven of his fellow servicemen ejected the plane—two were killed. He landed near Osnabruck, Germany and was detained by civilians who would capture enemy combatants as a courtesy to the Nazis. “They took us into custody and were not abusive, fortunately,” Spencer recalls. One of his fellow

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Outlook May 2016

by Austin Marshall

soldiers, a radio operator, tried to convince Spencer that escape was their best option. “I told him that was suicide. Even if we did escape, we’d have to go clear across Germany, France and swim the English Channel!” Spencer realized the best course of action was cooperation, not provocation. “We had been issued a .45 caliber revolver by our superiors, but they told us to get rid of it if we were shot down. You didn’t want to give the Germans a reason to shoot you. They would.” Spencer and other prisoners were held overnight in a warehouse in Osnabruck, then spent the next three days traveling to the Dulag Luft, an interrogation facility in Frankfurt. Spencer was held in solitary confinement for three days. He was then moved again to Stalag Luft, a prisoner-of-war camp in Barth, bordering the Baltic Sea on Germany’s northern shore. “Our trip was constantly interrupted because the Germans were always worried about Allied attacks,” he recalls. They arrived on February 20th, 10 days after Spencer was shot down.

Stalag Luft

Stalag Luft held nearly 10,000 prisoners of war at its peak. “Our camp was under the control of the Luftwaffe, not the SS. They were military men and treated us decently. We didn’t see any atrocities, but plenty of men were shot during escape attempts.” Many tried to tunnel their way out of the camp, but their efforts were fruitless.


“The Germans always found the tunnels. Our commanding officer thought they had some seismic detection device to locate the tunnels as they were being dug.” Other prisoners took a more creative approach to escape. “One day we had a visit from the YMCA and Red Cross. One prisoner made his own suit and walked out with the contingent as they left the camp. He was gone for a few days before being captured. There were others that tried to escape, but no one ever got away.” He talks about his experiences in vivid terms, as if they occurred yesterday. Even at 93, he is able to recall with striking clarity the sights and smells of the camp. The food was particularly bleak. “They’d bring us a mixture of sausage, sawdust and leaves for breakfast. In the evenings there’d be soup or porridge with little or no meat.” Bread was given out in weekly rations, which were always substandard. The Germans would raid the Red Cross rations for prisoners of war, leaving Spencer and his fellow prisoners with whatever they didn’t want. Letters from home were few and far between—the Germans often discarded mail for American prisoners of war, and Allied forces frequently destroyed the German rail lines used to transport goods to prisoner camps. The prisoners were left to make due with whatever was available to them. Cigarettes were frequently bartered for Red Cross rations, Spencer explains. “Card games, especially bridge, were really popular. Books from the Red Cross were, too, because everything else was printed in German.”

Liberation

Spencer remained in Stalag Luft for fifteen months until being liberated by Russian forces on April 30th, 1945. Spencer and his fellow prisoners had advance warning of the Russian advance via a shortwave radio in the camp, but they didn’t have specifics. The Allies were in the final phases of the assault on Berlin and the Third Reich was crumbling. By the time the Russians liberated his camp, Spencer’s German wardens had turned over control of the base to the prisoners. “Our commanding officer, Col. Hubert Zemke, spoke fluent Russian and negotiated terms once they arrived.” Spencer, like many other prisoners, wasn’t aware that the Germans abandoned their posts and were pleasantly surprised to see American troops in the guard towers of Stalag Luft. Things could have turned out very differently, however. “The Russians wanted to march us down to the Black Sea and hold us as hostages for negotiations with the Americans, but our people negotiated our release.” Spencer’s work as a soldier was not over, however. He was assigned to retake a German airfield—the Germans abandoned it—and spent his first days of freedom from Stalag Luft sweeping the vicinity for landmines and inventorying German munitions. “For about two or three days after that, it was a steady stream of us transferring out of there,” he recollects. He spent another two weeks at Stalag Luft before leaving Germany the same way he arrived— between the roaring engines of a B-17. Oddly enough, Spencer wasn’t even supposed to be with the crew that was shot down that day in February 1944. “I had changed barracks and moved in late at night. A fellow officer, Ed Charles, helped me get settled, but I didn’t unpack my belongings. I was called at 2am to prepare for the mission because the other crew’s navigator was reappointed to be a lead navigator. I got up, went to breakfast, left for my mission and never came back.” Ed Charles would later write a short story based on Spencer, the soldier who ate his meal and seemingly vanished. Charles wore Spencer’s bomber jacket throughout the war, later donating it to a museum in the United Kingdom. In 1995, Spencer learned that the jacket was on display at the Red Feather Club 95th Bomb Group Museum in England. Spencer visited the museum in 2012 with his son Dennis and grandson Nathan. “I think they were afraid I’d take it back!” he jokes.

Home Again

Spencer returned home on July 1st, 1945. Like millions more, he used the GI Bill to fund his college education. He earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Michigan before meeting his future wife Dena in Kansas City. The two moved to Oklahoma City in 1961 and have lived in the same house ever since. Like many veterans, Spencer is quick to praise the men he fought with before speaking of his own trials during the war. “I was proud to serve my country and have never regretted my service for a second.” Spencer repeatedly cites his faith as his saving grace during the war and remains a devout Christian to this day. Spencer’s story, like thousands of others from World War II, must be preserved for consideration by future generations of Americans. His story reveals the best of his generation: grit, humility, determination and devotion to his fellow soldiers and his country. As the Greatest Generation ages, we owe them no less than to tell their stories for generations to come. outlookoklahoma.com

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Allergy Aware by Amy Dee Stephens

Michael Mandanas likes hanging out with friends, being on the debate team, and playing more video games than his mom would prefer. He’s a regular sophomore—except for two things. He’s logged more stage and screen time than most high-schoolers, and every bite he puts into his mouth can be dangerous. For three meals and two snacks each day, Mandanas is threatened with a severe allergic reaction to certain foods. His symptoms start with an itchy, swelling throat that makes it hard to breathe. Because the Mandanas family is on high alert, Michael has only experienced a handful of severe symptoms—but those were enough to make immediate life changes. “We mostly eat at home. It’s safe because we have control over the ingredients,” Mandanas said. “We eat out some, but only if we’ve called the restaurant ahead of time. I talk to the chef about ingredients and which cooking oils are used, and I request clean utensils for my food preparation. Most restaurant managers are very knowledgeable and accommodating, but sometimes places don’t know how to deal with my request so they turn us away.” Grabbing “fast” food is largely a no-go, and calling ahead is certainly inconvenient. No assumptions can be made from one visit to the next, since menus change constantly. Food allergies also come with an S o m eo n e emotional toll. Mandanas has h a d to s p e a k encountered people who’ve reacted u p, s o I with annoyance or don’t take his medical situation seriously. sta rt e d o n He’s even been the victim of lifea jou rn ey threatening bullying. to r a i s e “In middle school, I had Fo o d A l l e rgy kids call me names and wave the foods I’m allergic to in front of my awa r e n es s face. They stashed it in my locker. And these foods could make me die!” Mandanas said. So for a while, he stopped talking about it. In the meantime, Mandanas’ interest in performing began to surface. As a young child, he was the “kid brother” who followed his older sister Ashley around while she auditioned. He accidentally landed a role in his first commercial at the age of three when the

Oklahoma City Zoo needed a child to dress up as a bear, and he happened to be there waiting on his sister. Ashley was eventually featured in a documentary by the BBC New York, called My Life As a Child. “He became very accustomed to having a video camera follow him around,” said Mandanas’ mother, Dr. Patrice GoMandanas. “Through the years, he appeared in a Barney episode, was featured in an OG&E safety video, and had a spot in a Christmas movie by the Screen Actors Guild.” As he grew older, Mandanas joined the debate team, earned roles in Lyric Theatre productions, and began singing and playing music for various school and community events. This spring, he landed his dream role as the Cat in the Hat in Seussical the Musical. On days when Mandanas isn’t feeling positive about his allergies, he relies on the humor of Dr. Seuss to keep himself grounded. “I’m lucky to be what I am! Thanks goodness I’m not just a clam or a ham or a dusty old jar of sour gooseberry jam.” He’d stopped talking about his food allergy, but one day he realized that no one else was talking about it either.

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Allergy Aware, cont.

“Someone had to speak up, so that’s why I started on a journey to raise food allergy awareness,” Mandanas said. Using his speaking skills, Mandanas began to campaign. He approached restaurant owners and lawmakers, wrote magazine articles and was granted a Food Allergy Week proclamation by the governor. “Not in our wildest dreams did we imagine our son would take on the role of advocate,” his mother said. “He realized he needed to get out of his cocoon of fear and inaction to bring attention to the increasing epidemic of food allergies. I think his speaking, performing and writing skills have come together and bolstered his confidence to speak up.” Mandanas recently attended the Food Allergy Research and Education summit in Washington DC, where he spoke to fellow teens, encouraging them to be diligent in their own health care and to read food labels religiously. He also had the rare experience of not being embarrassed at a restaurant when asking the chef for special accommodations, “Because everyone else at my table had to talk to him as well.” Since then, Mandanas has spoken at various local events. His message to other teens is that kids shouldn’t be bullied or treated differently because of food allergies. During his presentations, he throws in some humorous poetry and shows his latest Michael Jackson

B e i n g co m f o rta b l e o n stag e h a s given m e the co n f i d e n c e I n e e d. I t ’ s a l m o st a s i f I’ve been train ing to b e a n a dvo c at e all my li fe.

dance moves. He talks about the “silver linings” of having food allergies: a protective family, healthy eating and deeply trusted friends. “It’s easy knowing who my true friends are,” he said. “They are the ones willing to deal with my allergies, wash their hands and know what to do if I have a reaction.” He encourages people to not be fearful of EpiPens, the epinephrine injector carried by those with severe allergies, nor to be hesitant in giving someone the shot if necessary. “It’s basically adrenalin, so it’s not dangerous,” Mandanas said. “If you need it, you need it immediately. The instructions on the pen are fairly straightforward—remove cap and firmly stab into the outer thigh. It doesn’t really hurt.” As Mandanas gets older, he’s taking more responsibility for his own health. His mother prays that her son will be safe at every meal, especially now that he’s traveling more and thinking about college. She’s very proud that he’s using his talents for good. “I want to be someone who makes a difference in the lives of those with food allergies,” Mandanas said. “To borrow another quote from Dr. Seuss, ‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.’ Being comfortable on stage and on screen has given me the confidence I need. It’s almost as if I’ve been training to be an advocate all my life.”

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A Farewell Song by Amy Dee Stephens

Sandi Patty’s high-profile gospel music career has spanned almost 35 years, during which she’s won five Grammy’s and over 40 Dove Awards for Christian music. Now, the Oklahoma-native has embarked on a 90-city farewell concert tour: Forever Grateful. “I’m not so much saying goodbye, as I am saying thank you,” Patty said. “Thank you to the fans and the many people who’ve been alongside me during this journey.” Her powerful voice first captured the nation’s attention when she sang the national anthem at the rededication of the Statue of Liberty in 1986. At that point, she’d already worked with Bill Gaither and headlined her own tour. Her vocal strength, emotion and ability to hit incredibly high notes resonated with the public and brought them to tears. Sandi Patty singing with She sprinkled a little Broadway into husband Don Peslis her career, but her mainstay was Christian music. Not only did her concerts sell out at Patty is also moving into a new season of her life where she’s ready hundreds of large arenas each year, she appeared on The Tonight Show to enjoy her growing number of grandchildren. Patty and her husband and sang at Carnegie Hall, the White House and the Indianapolis 500. of 21 years, Don Peslis, are empty-nesters after raising eight kids Patty, 59, has mulled over the idea of a farewell concert for some together. Although Patty was born in Oklahoma, she spent most of her time, with the intention of ending her touring career while her life in Indiana, but returned to her birth state nine years ago for Don’s powerhouse voice is still optimum. career. “It’s not like I can give 30-days notice,” Patty said with a laugh. “I A gifted vocalist himself, Don Peslis, now serves as a worship don’t know how my voice will sound a few years from now. According minister at Crossings Community Church, which was the site of her to the Metropolitan Opera, a woman’s vocal prime is between the ages mid-concert performance in Oklahoma City on May 1st, 2016. She of 45-65 years, and I’m getting closer to that far end. I want to respect greatly anticipated the concert at her home church but admitted that the art form and not be one of those performers who people think, ‘She singing to familiar faces also made her more nervous than usual. should have retired a long time ago.’” “Music has been the medium that has helped me express what Although Patty is ending her national touring career, she will I held inside. I still plan to share my heart—just maybe not as much continue sharing her spiritual journey with fans. In the fall, she will be with music,” Patty said. “I’m going to miss teaching a worship ministry the travel and the interactions with people program at Mid-American during touring, but I’m looking forward to Christian University, and not having to be constantly diligent about my she anticipates continuing voice. If I’m at a ballgame or at a movie, I’ll be her religious writing career. able to laugh and cheer!” Patty is the author of seven But first, Patty has to make it to that final inspirational books that Forever Grateful concert. She’s skeptical explore her reliance upon God about how well she’ll manage to keep her emotions in check for that during the personal joys and sorrows of her life. one. As a celebrity, her successes and failures are “right out there for “It’s funny, for that very first concert of the farewell tour, I was the whole world to see.” About half way through her career, she quit a mess. It was like reading a retirement speech for the first time,” pretending that everything was perfect and started being truthful Patty said. “So many people have stood by us and prayed for us and about her struggles. encouraged us, so I want to say thank you. This tour comes with a lot “I honestly try to be the same person in traffic as I am on stage— of gratitude, a lot of thankfulness, and a lot of happy tears.” except I have a mic in my hand and more makeup on.” Patty laughs. Visit sandipatty.com for her tour schedule and further information. “I’ve reached the part of my life’s journey where I’m at peace with who I am.”

I’m not so much saying goodbye, as I am saying thank you

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Outlook May 2016


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on the Photo by Rick Morris by Heide Brandes

This summer, residents of Oklahoma and beyond will be kayaking, tubing and riding the rapids in downtown Oklahoma City as the new $45.2 million whitewater rafting and kayaking center opens in May. Part of MAPS 3, the OKC Riversport Rapids will open, offering recreational water sports like whitewater rafting and kayaking, but also water sport lessons, leagues and camps. A grand opening, set for May 7 and 8, will kick off the new facility at the Oklahoma City Boathouse District. “Oklahoma City is the only major city in America with a whitewater rafting complex inside the city,” said Mike Knopp, executive director of the OKC Boathouse Foundation. “Thanks to MAPS 3, this is possible. It’s a very complicated endeavor, but it’s something we’ve dreamt of for years.” MAPS 3 is a one-cent sales tax initiative to fund projects that enhance the quality of life for metro area residents. The grand opening events include the U.S. Olympic Trials for canoe and kayak, slalom and more on the new whitewater course, and

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Outlook May 2016

residents will be able to try out some of the Olympic sports through Team USA’s Road to Rio Tour. Athletes from across the US will visit Oklahoma City as part of the Rio Games competition. For residents, the event will show what Oklahoma City’s Riversport can offer. “That weekend, we want as many people on the water as we can. This is a center created for Oklahoma City, and we want everyone to experience whitewater rafting,” Knopp said. A rowing regatta at the Oklahoma River will feature more than 1,500 youth rowers competing for the USRowing Central District Youth Championships. The grand opening event is free, though parking is $10. Rapids rafting and adventure passes will be available online and at the festival. The Riversport Rapids’ re-circulating channels pumping treated water will create class II through class IV rapids and will offer a range of experiences. The center will offer a variety of activities including group rafting, whitewater kayaking (both competitive


Photo by Georgia Read

We designed a venue that everyone can enjoy, from beginners to experts and recreational) and inflatable kayaks also known as “duckies.” Professional guides will teach first-time rafters and certified instructors will provide additional lessons for those looking to build their skills. The whitewater experience lasts approximately 90 minutes and includes the orientation session, raft instruction and several runs down the channels. The orientation session, led by a professional guide, covers use of equipment, paddling tips and techniques and safety measures. Once the raft or kayak hits the water, it is pulled up a conveyor belt to the top of the whitewater rafting From there, participants raft or kayak down either the novice or experienced channel. The novice channel will be slower and designed for people new to the sport while the experienced channel includes higher thrill and challenge levels for those more experienced.

“This is truly a game-changer for Oklahoma City to open a center that is so unique and so world class,” said Knopp. “This outdoor adventure amenities says a lot about our commitment to creating a unique experience and a quality of life.” “The design of this venue is not a pure whitewater one,” said Jeffrey Gustin, senior program manager at S2O Design and Engineering, the design firm behind Riversport Rapids. “We designed a venue that provides Olympic standard whitewater but also truly provides a place for everyone to enjoy, beginner to expert.” For more information about Riversport Rapids, visit www. boathousedistrict.org/whitewater/ and www.riversportokc.org. Rafting passes are $49 per day and All Access Annual Passes are $179 per person and includes whitewater, flatwater and land adventures.

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Summer Play & Learn This summer, parents across the Edmond area might hear the phrase “When I grow up, I want to be...” and actually get to see those dreams start to take shape. Thanks to summer camps, kiddos get the chance to be scientists building robots, programmers creating video games, artists firing clay pottery inside kilns, figure skaters gliding across the ice and soccer stars gaining confidence as they score the game-winning goal. Read on to see how a local summer camp can set your child’s dreams in motion.

Artworks

Children ages 8-12 will realize their artistic abilities and master their craft at Artworks, an arts-focused summer day camp that offers three twoweek sessions from June 6-July 15. “We’re kind of a neat flavor of camp,” Director Scott Filleman said. “It’s essentially a two-week immersion into the arts. We take you where you are in your area of interest and make you better at it.” The campers choose a “major” class and two others, ranging from music, dance, theater and visual arts, and all their efforts culminate in a comprehensive showcase at the program’s end. For instance, this year, the camp will present a retelling of the Peter Pan story. Filleman considers Artworks, now in its 29th year, “Oklahoma’s best kept secret.” With its high caliber of teachers and guest artists that include hip-hop dance crews and barbershop ensembles, this is the perfect place for a child’s interest in the arts to blossom into a passion. “Personal development and personal growth is just rampant throughout the camp on all levels—it’s really something,” he said. Outdoor activities and games are built in for breaks, and the camp

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by Morgan Day

also throws an old-fashioned cookout and water balloon fight. “We really try to give them not just outstanding classes and structure, but just the whole, overall experience,” Filleman said. “We want this to be the highlight of their childhood.” Artworks is a program of the Children’s Arts Network. Registration is open. Visit artworksok.org to learn more.

Arctic Edge

At Arctic Edge ice arena, campers get a chance to—you guessed it—get into some ice skates and try hockey and figure skating on for size. This summer camp doesn’t take place solely on ice, although that is a huge draw. “We can host lots of different programs here because we have such a big facility,” said Darryl Rowley, General Manager. “We don’t have to go other places. We can bring people in here to teach karate, basketball, soccer, dance, and more. And obviously, a big part of it is the kids get to skate every day.” The Arctic Edge summer sports camp, now in its 13th year, runs May 31-Aug. 14, offering various sports camps for kids age 5-12. “We find that 95 percent of the kids who do sign up for the camp haven’t skated before and by the time summer has ended, they’re all great skaters,” Rowley said. “Many times, they get into our hockey and skating programs after camp ends because they’ve been so successful with learning how to skate.” Rowley said many parents are unfamiliar with figure skating or hockey. It often takes an interest from


their children to get them in the arena door. “One thing we find is parents start playing, too, because they’re here so much and it’s something they can do with their kids,” Rowley said. “After the first few months sitting behind the glass watching their kids, they get comfortable and want to get out there, too. There aren’t too many sports where you can do that.” Registration for Arctic Edge’s summer camp is open. Learn more and enroll at arctic-edge.com.

Summer at the Hall

Heritage Hall, a coeducational private school in Oklahoma City, has hosted Summer at the Hall every summer since 1990 and offers more than 100 weekly sessions ranging from academics to athletics, arts and enrichment—and all are open to the community. Have a budding archaeologist on your hands? Sign up for “Dinosaur Days.” What about a kiddo who’s curious about the deep blue sea? Enroll in “Underwater Adventures.” Other sessions include mad science, chess, video game programming, stop-motion photography, movie production, cheerleading, softball and soccer— just to name a few. “The fact we offer something for all ages is a big draw in itself,” said Connie Martin, program director. “We have small class sizes. Our classes are innovative and our teachers are truly the backbone of this. We have teachers who give individual care and attention.” Sessions, for ages 3 through college prep, run May 31- Aug. 4. With so many sessions available, children have a variety of ways to learn and grow, Martin said. “Summer at the Hall ignites the imagination and challenges the spirit of each student,” she added. Registration is open for Summer at the Hall. Learn more and enroll at heritagehall.com.

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MY outlook What is Name Dropper? A baby naming service that utilizes information provided by the customer to hand-select names. Our goal is to make the naming process enjoyable and easy by utilizing our knowledge of names, sounds, popularity, sensibleness and other general Onomatology. What is Onomatology? The science or study of the origin and forms of proper names of persons or places. Basically, the study of names. Do you work alone? I have a business partner in San Francisco. We work together via telephone and internet to choose names for each customer. Why did you decide to do this? I have been intrigued by baby names since I was a child. I pored over names for hours and hours when I selected my own four children’s names. As a speech-language pathologist, I am very sensitive to how sounds complement each other and I feel very attuned to naming patterns. How do you choose names? We analyze the information you provided on a questionnaire. For example, if you told us you need help with girl names, you plan to use the middle name “Faith,” you like traditional names and your last name is “Wilson,” we would use all of those criteria to select names that flow well.

Kirsten Cash, Professional Baby Namer by Bethany Marshall

Why do you think it’s helpful? People feel a lot of pressure to come up with the perfect name and it can be very overwhelming, especially in the midst of so many other life changes that come along with a new baby. Our goal is to help ease some of the stress of the baby preparation, so that you can focus on enjoying the anticipation of your new little one. What are some of your favorite names? Hands down, my favorite names are my own children’s: McKenna Grace, Tierney Marie, Lorelei Rose, and Brecken William. How do people react to the names you have chosen? We have been fortunate to always have positive feedback. We feel this is due to the genuine care and quality time we put into to carefully choosing the right name suggestions for each customer. What kind of research do you do when picking names? It entirely depends on the information provided to us. There are so many variables; each customer truly receives individualized service. Do you have any tips to someone searching for a name on their own? Always, always, always say the name out loud with baby’s last name! When considering names for our son, my husband and I liked the name Holden. I said, “Holden Cash,” and we quickly realized that would not work for us! Also, remember that your cute little baby will one day be an adult in our world. Imagine his/her name on letterhead, a business card or a name tag. Why do you think names are so important? Names can have a surprising impact on who we become as a person. Not only can it impact our personality, but it may even influence our career! In some countries, names are so highly regarded that there are laws about what names can be used. How many names have you suggested? Honestly, I do not know. I have had so many people ask me for help over the years and I never thought to keep count. Name Dropper just went live in February, so we are still new in the business world. What is next for Name Dropper? We plan to start “Name Dropper for Pets” next! Our web site will be www.NameDropperPets.com, so keep an eye out for it!

For more info about Name Dropper, visit namedropperbaby.com

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Outlook Magazine: May 2016