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AFTER 911 Could Save a Life Someone’s having a heart attack. You call 911. The ambulance arrives. Now you have an even more important call to make: which hospital? You could simply choose the closest hospital, or the best-equipped, but in Edmond you don’t have to choose, because the best-equipped hospital is also nearby. INTEGRIS Health Edmond has the only Level 1 Cardiac Arrest Center in the area, meaning life-saving care is closer to home than ever. And you know you’re in good hands when your team of cardiologists is among the region’s most respected: Drs. Amil, Daly, Garner, Prabhu, Reiter and Worcester. Tell the paramedics: INTEGRIS Health Edmond. | 405.657.3000

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Outlook June 2016


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June 2016

“How are you doing?” A friend recently asked how I was doing and when I answered, there was some laughter. They thought my answer was “I’m normal.” Which is kind of funny. What I actually said was “I’m finding my new normal.” For those of you following along, here’s a short list of what I’m finding. For those of you that sent cards, prayers and well wishes—thank you. • I attended a Widower’s Coffee at a local church. I was the young whippersnapper (at 53). It was encouraging to meet some great men traveling the same path. • I noticed I still refer to myself as “we” and “us.” I don’t see that going away soon. There will always be a we and us.

28 The Big Story about

• I’ve taken over several of Sandy’s health and wellness contacts. I now use her massage person and her chiropractor.

• As per instructions, I’ve been spreading her ashes on my motorcycle tours. So far she’s taken up residency in Texas and Arkansas. This summer we’ll knock Colorado and Utah off the list.

Saving Tiny Lives

Two women work together to share Vivien Thomas’ amazing story

• I’m reintegrating back into work. I work with the finest group of designers, developers, programmers, project managers and account people in the design business. • I am now well-versed and fully comfortable eating by myself at several local restaurants. It was odd the first time. I couldn’t do it, so I took my order to go and ate in Stephenson Park.

08 Louise

A Milestone & A Ministry

13 Food

Breaking Up with Bread Delicious gluten-free dining

16 Business

• I am subject to simultaneous tears and smiles at a moment’s notice. This quote did it to me yesterday: “I thought that I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with her, but then I realized she spent the rest of her life with me.”

Cadence Equestrian Center Twist & Shout


16 We Can Be Heroes

Local comic enthusiasts don alter egos to inspire confidence and individuality in children

21 Jelly is My Jam New Oklahoma tourism program highlights “u pick” farms

22 A Costly Decision

26 Stamp Stories

A local club relives history through stamp collecting

Front cover photography by Marshall Hawkins, designed by Luke Southern To advertise, contact Laura at (405) 301-3926 or

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Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can have serious consequences

Life is good, but it certainly isn’t fair. Onward.


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A Milestone & A Ministry by Louise Tucker Jones

This year marks a huge milestone for me. Not sure how to describe it. Not a happy one. But still a milestone. May 29th marked the fifth anniversary of my husband’s death. Five years without the love of my life. As a Christian, knowing Carl is in heaven is a praise, but as a wife, now a widow, losing my husband was the hardest thing I have ever gone through. I spent the first year after his death in shock. I remember willing myself to smile at times, not for myself but for others. I cried a lot! I was depressed, fragile and even angry. Not at Carl but at God. Why would He allow such a tragedy? I was also overwhelmed. I now had full responsibility of our adult son with special needs. No one to help, advise or offer positive feedback. No one to give me a break as a caregiver. Then there were the cars, house and acre plus yard to care for along with all the financial things, which I had left solely to my husband. Now I was alone and had no idea how to live without this man, my husband of 45 years. Life as I knew it changed forever in that intensive care unit at Mercy Hospital. Now five years have passed and I still miss Carl more than I could ever say, but life has finally changed from black and white to color again. It was a slow process and many people helped along the way. One of the main things I had to do was to finally accept life the way it was, not the way it used to be or the way I wanted it to be. I had to realize that life would go on and it could actually be happy again. I knew if Carl could talk to me—and believe me I conversed with him a lot over these last five years—that he would tell me to be happy, to live a full life and to honor God. So here I am, wondering what I accomplished during these last five years that would make Carl proud and would honor our Lord. One thing that comes to mind is the grief support group I started for widows a few years ago—Wives With Heavenly Husbands. I hope that has been a significant help to other women who lost their husbands. But there is still a missing piece in the grief community. You see, in recent years, I have also had some gentlemen contact me concerning


Outlook June 2016

the death of their wives. They also need support. One asked, “How about a group for Husbands With Heavenly Wives?” And he’s right. It’s a much-needed support. So I did some research and gathered a few people from the grief community for a meeting to address the needs and grief issues of all who are widowed—both men and women. This will be a one-time meeting for both widows and widowers. Our speakers will be Buddy Stone who ministers to widows through Stand in the Gap Ministries, Glenn Dunn, who leads a support group for widowers at Westminster Presbyterian Church in OKC, and Bob Willis, a well-known grief specialist in the metro area. We invite all widows and widowers and their guests to this special program on Thursday, June 23 at 7:00pm at Henderson Hills Baptist Church, Room W-109. Please pass this info on to anyone Widow & Widower who has lost their mate, whether a recent or later loss, Support Event and feel free to contact me for Thursday, June 23, 7pm more information. Henderson Hills Losing a spouse is a Baptist Church, tragic, life-altering event. Room W-109 Hopefully, we can build strong support systems and help each other.

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 or visit

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Outlook June 2016


Breaking Up with Bread Delicious Gluten-Free Dining

Gluten-free. Hmmph. I was irritated just hearing the term and picturing all the fabulous, wheat-laden goodies forbidden on this healthy eating plan that’s swept the nation. Where was I when bread and pasta went out of style? Besides, I thought gluten was only a no-no for people with a food intolerance or allergy issue. If I don’t have them, I don’t have an issue, right? But my employer and my mom both lost more than 20 pounds going gluten-free. I had no choice but to pay attention. After learning that potatoes and rice were gluten-free, I felt a bit less hostile. Maybe it’s not so restrictive after all. Just look at all the indulgent foods labeled gluten-free on restaurant menus. How promising to know that most restaurants embrace this healthy movement. I can work out my hostility over pork roast, brisket and kabobs. In addition to rice and potatoes, corn, beans, eggs, natural cheeses, fresh fruits and vegetables and fresh meat, fish and poultry— minus sauce or breading—are all acceptable. Whew. I can work with that. Many restaurant owners have seen the gluten-free trend transition from a mere diet to a more mainstream, healthy lifestyle choice, and it appears to be here to stay. One glance at restaurant menus and you realize that eating responsibly never looked so good.

by Laura Beam

Hearty BBQ Hits the Spot

If you’re still thinking gluten-free dining can’t possibly fit your lifestyle, imagine the smoky indulgence of barbecue for your next meal. It doesn’t get any better than that! Featuring a succulent lineup of sliced or chopped brisket, smoked chicken or turkey, pulled pork or juicy BBQ Ribs at Earl’s ribs, Earl’s Rib Palace takes gluten-free dining to the next level. In addition, their polish sausage and hot links are produced in a gluten-free factory and made in Oklahoma. Even the barbecue sauce is gluten-free, so you don’t have to miss the best part of the whole experience. Great side dishes like baked beans, potato salad, corn-on-the-cob, coleslaw, green beans, the loaded baked potato and deviled eggs are also gluten-free. Enjoy Earl’s Rib Palace at six locations or visit continued on next page


Breaking up with Bread, cont.

Home-cooked Comfort

A visit to Millie’s Table is like getting to raid your mom’s freezer. An extensive variety of rotating entrées, veggies, appetizers, soups and desserts are made right in the kitchen at Millie’s Table and are packaged to take and bake with easy heating instructions. A wide selection of designated ‘healthy menu’ items makes it easy to choose lower-calorie and gluten-free comfort foods, too. With approximately 20 gluten-free entrées, such as bacon-wrapped chicken with cream cheese filling, baked or grilled salmon entrées, buffalo chicken enchiladas, pork roast and orange tarragon glazed chicken, there’s always something new to try. Though Millie’s Table does not make gluten and gluten-free entrées at the same time or with the same utensils, owner Millie Shores cautions that hers is not a ‘gluten-free facility’ and therefore cannot accommodate those with celiac disease. Yet for those opting to avoid gluten, based on nutritional and dietary choices, Millie’s homemade foods are so deliciously satisfying, you won’t know a thing is missing! Ask about catering, too! Visit 1333 N Santa Fe Ave, Edmond, or

Spiced Right Greek

If you think giving up gluten means settling for a boring or bland diet, think again—think Greek! Exotic spices and succulent meats meld into mouthwatering dishes that are anything but boring. At Let’s Do Greek, most of the menu is gluten-free, with the exception of pita bread and some fried items. Here, you can even get your ‘bread fix’ with their homemade cornmeal bread, Arepa. “It’s gluten-free and very popular,” says owner Marsha Aguilar. “The gluten-free trend is


Outlook June 2016

Arepas at Let’s Do Greek

going strong and has become a life choice for a lot of people,” she adds. Oregano chicken served atop Greek salad, Suvlakia chicken— a marinated chicken served with grilled onions, lettuce, tomatoes and Tzatziki—chicken and beef kabobs, hummus and Basmati rice are exciting, gluten-free staples that never fail to please. Fresh and delicious selections like Dolma—grape leaves stuffed with rice, herbs and vegetables—along with Greek salad and Gyros salad round out this diverse and perfectly spiced menu with something for all tastes. Ask about catering and look for their food truck, too! Visit 180 W 15th St, Edmond, or

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



Cadence Equestrian Center by Morgan Day Christy Buchanan, owner and Manager of Cadence Equestrian

In Cadence Equestrian’s summer riding program, Camp Cadence, campers learn the full spectrum when it comes to riding and caring for a horse. But look beyond the surface and you’ll find campers are learning so much more. Christy Buchanan, Cadence Equestrian’s owner and manager, said campers get the chance to become skilled equestrians, but they also learn leadership, discipline, self-confidence and respect as they spend their summers riding and caring for these 1,200 pound animals. “We’ve had children who are quiet and shy and within a few days their confidence is stronger and they feel really good about themselves,” Buchanan said. “It’s very rewarding for a child. They see that great big animal that they get to groom, tack, ride and care for, and they come out of it with respect—respect for other campers and respect for nature and


Outlook June 2016

animals. That’s the transformation.” Camp Cadence, now in its 10th year, offers one week courses, every week for ten weeks during the summer. Horse lovers of all skill levels are given the opportunity to learn all they can about horses—down to the colors, breeds and markings. They also learn how to ride and care for them, developing a relationship with the horse and understanding what the animal needs. The campers also get a chance to learn from equine veterinarians and farriers, go fishing and complete horse-related crafts. The camp, located in northeast Edmond, is geared toward children ages 5-13 and offers halfand full-day sessions tailored to each child’s skill level. Cadence Equestrian also offers year-round riding lessons for kids and adults age 5 and up on safe and reliable lesson horses. “The camps are really exciting for me because there’s nothing better than when you get

those kids who have never been around a horse and you’re the very first person who teaches them about the elegant animals, giving them a foundation,” Buchanan said. “I’ve seen so many transformed kids.” Buchanan has witnessed campers discover a passion for horsemanship and return to Camp Cadence summer after summer or even take up riding lessons and continue their passion through adulthood. “It’s really neat when you see someone who was maybe eight when they started, and now they’re 18 and you know what it did for that child,” she said. “I know it sounds cheesy, but I do this for that reason. I wanted to create a place that was really good for families and makes a difference in children’s lives.” Cadence Equestrian Center is located at 14150 S Pine St, Edmond. For more information, visit or call 405-348- 7469.

Twist & Shout by Austin Marshall Marketia & Orson Sykes, Owners of Twist & Shout

Anyone who says cheerleading and tumbling aren’t sports has never visited Twist and Shout in Edmond. Their athletes execute maneuvers that defy gravity and demonstrate a remarkable amount of strength, balance and dexterity. As Twist and Shout enters its second decade in Edmond, founder and owner Orson Sykes expects their success to continue well into the future. Offering recreational and competitive programs, Twist and Shout has a program for any skill level. “We believe that tumbling and cheerleading are great ways to keep young kids in shape while teaching them teamwork and commitment,” Sykes says. “Our tumbling and All-Star programs build champions from the inside out.” The results speak for themselves. “Twist and Shout has won over 300 national championships, 10 State Championships in power tumbling and 12 medals at the elite

USASF World Championships, including three gold medals and two Summit National Championships,” Sykes explains. In addition to their Edmond location, Twist and Shout operates facilities in Norman, Tulsa and Muskogee. Its All-Star Cheerleading Program is one of the best in the nation. Tryouts for the elite squad are held in the spring and include teams tailored for all ages and abilities. “Our teams promote traits that are essential to being successful in life,” Sykes adds. The Twist and Shout tumbling program, another successful enterprise for the organization, is made available to children at preschool age. “The program is for the young, but we make sure they advance as well as have fun,” Sykes says. Sykes and his wife Marketia started Twist and Shout in 1996 following Orson’s time as a cheerleader and gymnast at the University of Oklahoma. Their enrollment doubled within a

week of opening. Sykes moved the organization to a 7,500sf building in Edmond in 1997, and Twist and Shout has remained there since. Sykes’ training philosophy is straightforward. “We strive to use positive reinforcement and correction while working with our athletes. However, our staff will be firm when it comes to the health and safety of athletes participating in this potentially dangerous sport,” Sykes says. “It is our responsibility to train each athlete in the techniques of tumbling and cheerleading and to help them set and achieve goals.” If you are looking for a way to help your children build physical and mental strength while learning lifelong values of teamwork and determination, Twist and Shout has a program that will do just that. Twist and Shout is located at 14801 N Lincoln Blvd in Edmond. More information can be found by calling 405-775-9491 or at



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We Can Be

Heroes by Heide Brandes

At New World Comics in Oklahoma City, superheroes are having a discussion. Kit Compton of Oklahoma City is green. From her hair to her face to her dainty fingers, Compton is covered in green paint as the superhero She-Hulk. Next to her, a female Thor played by Whitney Willis trades jibes with Don Rosencrantz’s Captain America and Sam Perry’s Ant-Man. In all, 15 superheroes are teaching children all about the ins and outs of being super at Superhero School, held on Saturdays at New World Comics. More than 30 children and their parents are lobbing questions at the group, and although the Superhero School is designed to teach children about the characters, it also teaches youth about the qualities that make a superhero. Qualities like courage, kindness, honesty and perseverance. What started out as a day of dress-up at the comic book store four years ago has turned into a phenomenon that brings together the characters of legends and children, some who are battling lifethreatening diseases. “Every year, we do a free comic book day, and I wanted to do something to get people to come in,” said New World Comics owner Buck Berlin. “Since then, we’ve started Superhero School, and now parents and organizations ask us to do charity events at the JD McCartey Center for Children, schools and the OK Kids Corral.” For those who don their masks and tights every weekend, the chance to play a hero and a mentor to hundreds of children is a super power all its own.


Outlook June 2016

HOW LEGENDS ARE MADE Buck Berlin loves comics and comic book characters, and although he knew a few people who were already involved in comic cosplay, most of his superheroes were friends who were willing. “A few dabbled in cosplay, but they mostly hung out here at the store,” said Berlin. “I’d look at the my friends and ask them if they wouldn’t mind dressing up. But as we went on, it’s become more than just dressing up. They have to learn about the character, do research about their history and be able to answer questions.” Most of the costumes are made by the players or by Berlin. In all, roughly 30 people make up Berlin’s stable of superheroes. While the original intention was to offer a fun way to interact with children, Berlin said Superhero School also promotes literacy by inspiring children to read more about their favorite character. “They also learn about doing good. They see that heroes exist in the world to help people,” Berlin said. “They see that helping people is a good thing.” For children suffering life-threatening illnesses, a visit from Spider-Man or Captain American can mean more than even the players realize. OK Kids Korral, supported by country music star Toby Keith, helps make life a little easier for children with cancer by providing a safe, convenient and daytime and overnight lodging for pediatric cancer patients and their families. “We did an event there and one little boy’s final wish was to meet Spider-Man,” said Berlin. “Our Spider-Man at the time was 17, and he went and talked with the boy and played with him. He didn’t know that little boy passed afterwards, but when he found out, he was very touched and grateful that he was able to do that— to give a dying boy his last wish.”

SUPER INTENTIONS Keri Eakers was among the first superheroes to be recruited. In 2013, Berlin approached Eakers and her husband about becoming involved in Superhero School. “We started off with a couple of costumes,” said Eakers. “After awhile, we had to learn how to sew so we could make our own costumes. It’s such a fun thing to do, and I feel like we impact the kids’ lives.” Now even their daughter Taloa is getting in on the fun. “I know it probably sounds corny, but superheroes are something kids look up to, and when it’s done in a relatable way, kids can identify with their role models,” said Marcus. Ant-Man is another popular superhero, played by Sam Perry. Perry knew Berlin through soccer, but was soon recruited into the fold. “Buck came to me one day and said, ‘Hey. How tall are you?” He had me put on a Ro-Box suit to make an appearance at a movie premiere of Iron Man,” said Perry. “That started it. I think a lot of kids are reading more because of Superhero School. In my regular life, I own a food truck and I spend all the time in the back away from people. This allows me to be an extrovert!” Whitney Willis, who played Thor at Superhero School, said she was already involved in dressing up for comic-cons when she was approached. “My friend who knew Buck recommended I be a superhero in Superhero School,” she said. “I thought it was a good way to make

dressing up meaningful—you do it for the kids. They just get so excited, and look at you like you are a real superhero. I think we can show every kid that they have to find their own inner strength. That anyone can be extraordinary.” Kit Compton and Berlin’s wife Keara, who plays the Scarlet Witch, among others, say the events are a good way to introduce fans to lesser-known superheroes as well. “I think the most important thing we show is that it’s okay to be different and to like what you like,” said Keara. “All the superheroes are different. They are different because they are special. I think it’s meaningful to tell kids that it’s okay to be different.” Superhero School will be held every Saturday at New World Comics during June, and is usually held every other week during the year. For more information, call New World Comics at 405-721-7634.



Outlook June 2016

by M organ D


New OK tourism program highlights local “u-pick” farms Thanks to a sweet new Oklahoma Agritourism campaign, Oklahomans are reminiscing about cooking up jams and jellies with their grandparents and vowing to pass the art down to their young loved ones this summer. The organization’s Jelly Making Trails are making it easier than ever for PB&J lovers to tour farms and ranches across Oklahoma, pick bushels of produce from the tree or vine and whip up their own jelly at home. The Jelly Making Trails’ map nearly 50 “u-pick” farms, ranches and greenhouses growing every tart and tasty fruit and berry, from strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries to grapes and peaches. Agritourism’s Jamie Cummings says the Jelly Making Trails are as much about making memories as they are about educating Oklahoma residents on where and how their food is grown. “Every farmer and rancher really has a passion for sharing where our food comes from and even where our clothes come from,” said Cummings, the program administrator in Agritourism for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. “That mission of sharing is part of all of this, and then creating those memories with families. It’s about going out and meeting the farmers, picking the fruit and having that experience together.” Among the dozens of u-pick farms are Sorghum Mill Christmas Tree & Blackberry Farm in Edmond and Crestview Inc. Farms in Arcadia. Both are featured on the campaign’s “lush-n-lively” trail, which gives participants a glimpse of 10 farms and ranches around central Oklahoma. Whether you want to stay close to home or explore the state, Oklahoma Agritourism makes it simple to map out your adventure. The Jelly Making Trails are broken up further into regions including

the “jam-n-juicy” trail, “sweet-n-sticky,” “bright-n-bouncy,” “ripe-n-ready” and “plump-n-perky.” You can find more information about each farm, including what crops are in season throughout the year, on the Agritourism website. Cummings suggests calling the farms or checking out their social media pages before visiting to ensure what you’re looking for is in season and ready to be picked. But, no matter what type of experience you’re looking for, Cummings said one thing is guaranteed: Your hosts will be excited to see you and share their know-how. Agritourism is having jelly making be a social experience by asking trail-goers to tweet and Instagram photos of their trip and cooking adventures with the hashtag #JellyIsMyJam. Cummings’ own favorite fruit—the strawberry—is what she is looking forward to picking the most. “There’s nothing better than an Oklahoma-grown strawberry.” She’s looking forward to turning it into a jam or jelly once they’re in season this summer. “This has actually encouraged me to make jelly because I’ve never done it before,” she said. “There’s so much value in doing it yourself. You get so much from that experience.” The Jelly Making Trails kicked off May 2nd, and Cummings said Oklahoma’s farmers have been eager to meet local Photo provided by Oklahoma Department farm-to-table fans since. of Agriculture, Food & Forestry John Knight of Sorghum Mill Farm is one of them. “I thought it was a very good idea,” Knight said. “It’s something unusual. There are a lot of people around here who make jelly; you just don’t hear about them.” It’s not uncommon for people to “show up in droves” to pick blackberries that have been known to grow as large as golf balls, according to Knight. He thinks the Jelly Making Trails and the showcasing of locally grown fruits, veggies and other crops will be an eye-opening experience for Oklahomans. “It’s really good to get people interested in fresh fruits, and we have quite a few of them here in Oklahoma, actually,” Knight added. “Most people aren’t really aware of how much we do have.” Learn more about Agritourism’s Trails at Follow the fun on social media using the hashtag #JellyIsMyJam.


A Costly Decision

“I don’t want to leave my car here overnight.” “I’ve only had a couple of drinks; I’m fine to drive.” “I don’t live that far. I can make it home.” “I don’t want to pay $40 for a cab.” “I know how to drive after I’ve been drinking.” Excuses for driving after having a few drinks are as numerous as a bar’s cocktail list, but none of them can compare to the true cost of getting arrested for driving under the influence. The costs and trouble associated with a DUI can be staggering, and even on the first offense, the choice to drive after drinking can run into the thousands. “From start to finish, you’re looking at a range of $1,500 on the low end to $15,000 on the high end,” said Noble McIntyre of McIntyre Law in Oklahoma City. “That’s just for a first-offense DUI that did not include an accident.” If you think a DUI isn’t a big deal because it’s usually a misdemeanor, think again.

The Breakdown

Dewayne Poor, another attorney with McIntyre Law, has seen numerous clients and friends run the gamut in dealing with a drivingunder-the-influence charge. It’s not pretty. After you are pulled over, arrested and charged, the costs begin: • Towing fees - $250 to $300 • Impound fees - $50- to $100 • Court costs - $1,000 to $2,500 • Bail Bond – typically $300 “You will spend the night in jail—that’s not negotiable—and jail isn’t pleasant,” said McIntyre. Once released, you’ll have to go to court. From that point on, what the lawyer negotiates becomes your sentence. Depending on what the courts decide, you may be required to take a 13-week rehab course that costs approximately $500. “You’ll also be randomly drug-tested, and that’s $35 to $50 per test,” said Poor. “If you complete the course and your drug tests come clean, you could have your charges reduced. But, the costs do not stop there. Your auto insurance is definitely going to go up, too.” After the courts are done, you then undergo civil charges from the Department of Public Safety. “DPS is who decides if you get to keep your license or if you will be required to use an interlock system, which costs about $500 to install,” said Poor. “If you are required to have an interlock system (you blow into a machine before you can start the car), then that’s for six to 18 months. You’ll spend $75 a month to bring it in to have it checked.” If you refuse the interlock system, your driver’s license is suspended for six months. The entire court and DPS process can take 16 to 24 months. During that time, you could lose your license, lose wages from lost work from having to attend rehab classes and more. “That’s just for a first offense,” said Poor. “We aren’t even talking about aggravated DUI, which is a felony.” An aggravated DUI is when the blood/alcohol level is .15 or more. However, even if you are below .15, but you are involved in an accident, you will face jail time. “If you get a second DUI, you’ll have to do everything you just did, but it will be double the cost and double the time,” said McIntyre. A third DUI is a non-aggravated felony.


Outlook June 2016

by Heide Brandes

The Tragic Costs

After about a week in a coma, Heather Marie Goff died two days before her and her identical twin, Kevan Maureen Goff’s 18th birthday on Aug. 20, 1981. Heather died due to the brain injuries sustained after a drunk driver traveling north on N. Western Ave., crossed over three lanes and hit Heather’s Volkswagen Beetle head-on. Afterwards, the drunk driver ran away from the scene before being apprehended by local authorities. She later only served two years in prison. The Goff twins had graduated that May from Northeast High School, where Heather was known as a young actress who participated in plays and even directed a well-received musical. Kevan Goff-Parker said the loss of her twin sister devastated her and her family, especially since they and their big brother had already lost their mother at Heather Marie Goff a young age. “We helped to raise each other after our mother’s death,” Goff-Parker said. “We went through some very tough times growing up, but we made it because we were always there for one another. Heather’s journey and life touched many in our community, but because someone chose to drink and drive, she never had the chance to become the amazing woman I knew she would be and I feel eternally lost without her.” Sadly, Kevan’s story isn’t uncommon. Consider these statistics: • In 2014, 9,967 people died in the US in alcohol impaired crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. • The 9,967 alcohol-impaired fatalities in 2014 accounted for about one out of three highway deaths on US roads. • There was an alcohol-impaired traffic fatality every 53 minutes in 2014. • There were 27 alcohol-impaired traffic fatalities every day on average in 2014. “If you have an accident and injure or kill someone, you will go to prison,” said McIntyre. “I’ve seen death, and horrific, life-altering injury due to DUI. Juries will punish someone who killed someone while driving drunk. It’s the easiest case to win. They are mad, and they want to punish you. You’ve lost any sympathy with a jury.” Each crash, each death, each injury impacts not only the person in the crash, but family, friends, classmates, coworkers and more. Even those who have not been directly touched help pay the $132 billion yearly price tag of drunk driving, according to MADD. Suddenly, the excuses people make for driving while under the influence don’t sound so smart after all. “It’s all about safety,” said McIntyre. “Be safe, be smart and make good decisions. You can’t afford to take chances.” For more information, visit



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by Austin Marshall

Reliving history through stamp collecting Correspondence in the mid-19th century was a complicated matter, due in no small part to the difficulty carriers faced in collecting revenue to finance their operations. A common practice at the time was for the recipient to pay for the document at the time of delivery. Although historical accounts differ, the invention of the modern stamp is generally attributed to Sir Rowland Hill, an English educator and social reformer. Hill also noted that postage stamps should be marked so as to avoid reuse, giving rise to the now ubiquitous postmark. Stamp collection is now an international hobby, enjoyed by people from all walks of life. Oklahoma City resident Joe Crosby discovered the hobby early in life. As a young man, Crosby would accompany his father on trips to collect and catalogue stamps, catching the “collector bug” at the young age of nine. “Any collector hobby is genetic. You can’t help it,” Crosby remarks. “The trips with my Dad got me interested and kept me interested until I was old enough to start a collection of my own.” Crosby had to take a brief hiatus from stamp collecting during his time in college and in the United States Army, where he served as a Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG). After a time, he was stationed


Outlook June 2016

in Washington, DC, and resumed his hobby by visiting antique stores throughout the area. “I would often collect rare stamps and sell them to interior decorators, since many of them aren’t able to locate them on their own,” he explains. He sold his collection for $1,000 in 1967 and quickly realized he could make money and enjoy his favorite pastime. Crosby moved to the metro area from Lawton in 1966 and has been involved in the Oklahoma City Stamp Club ever since. The OKC Stamp Club was founded in 1936 and held its first meetings at the Biltmore Hotel. The group now meets at 7pm on the first and third Wednesday of every month at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City. “We offer a variety of programs of interest to beginner through advanced stamp collectors. There are always stamps to buy for your collection, and opportunity to trade or sell to fellow collectors,” Crosby says. The Stamp Club is affiliated with the American Philatelic Society, an international organization created in 1886 with over 40,000 members worldwide. Crosby’s work with the OKC Stamp Club has brought together hundreds of people throughout the metro area, all with a common passion for finding, collecting and cataloguing

millions of stamps printed since Sir Rowland Hill’s pioneering invention. Crosby’s personal collection contains tens of thousands of stamps from all over the world. He’s particularly fascinated by pre-World War II stamps. His personal favorites are stamps from Indian Territory—the lands that would later become the state of Oklahoma—and he likely owns the largest collections of such stamps in the world. One of his most unique array of stamps is from correspondence between two brothers during the Civil War. “One fought for the Union and one fought for the Confederacy. They both sent letters home to their families detailing their experiences during the Civil War,” Crosby explains. Crosby’s personal collection is filled with stamps valued at a wide variety of prices; some are worth pennies, while others are significantly more valuable. “I don’t collect for investment opportunities—I collect because I love to do it,” Crosby explains. As a collector for more than six decades, he’s seen nearly every type of stamp imaginable, but the sheer volume of stamps worldwide means there is always something new to discover. To Crosby and his fellow collectors, stamps are representations of history and the events that shape it. Eager to share their passion, Crosby and other members of the Oklahoma City Stamp Club will host OKPEX, a national stamp show accredited by the American Philatelic Society, on June 17-18th at the Reed Conference Center in Midwest City. Crosby will chair the event throughout the weekend. OKPEX will feature 115 competitive multiframe and 10 one-frame exhibits. “They will be judged by a highly

qualified jury approved by the American Philatelic Society,” Crosby adds. Pricing of stamps is determined by a master list of stamps issued by recognized governments, and market value is generally viewed as the price agreed upon by a knowledgeable buyer and a knowledgeable seller. “In 2013, over $500 million worth of stamps were bought and sold on eBay alone,” Crosby says. For more information about the OKC Stamp Club, visit Stamp Club Chairman Joe Crosby with fellow collector Brady Hunt


Saving Tiny Lives The Big Story about

by Amy Dee Stephens

Gwendolyn Hooks shares Vivien Thomas’ story, the man who developed the surgical technique to save “blue babies”

If you haven’t heard the name Vivien Thomas yet—you will soon. Oklahoma City author, Gwendolyn Hooks, is celebrating the release of her 20th children’s book, Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas. It’s already earning rave reviews. Back in the 1940s, Vivien developed a technique that is still saving thousands of babies born with low oxygen, sometimes called “blue baby syndrome.” But decades passed before he received any credit for his discovery. After all, he was only a research assistant. Fast forward to 2010. Gwendolyn Hooks was up late A text came through. “Are you awake? Call me.” It was from Gwendolyn’s friend and fellow author, Anna Myers. It was after 11 o’clock, it must be trouble. “Gwen, Gwen,” Anna shouted into the phone. “I just saw a movie about the man who saved

Gwendolyn Hooks with Anna Myers


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my little Will’s life. His name is Vivien Thomas. You have to write his story.” Little Will, Anna’s grandson, was born a perfect angel—but a few hours later, he developed signs of serious heart defects. Will’s tiny lips and fingers started to turn blue. His oxygen levels were too low. Will needed a delicate surgery to open valves in his heart and increase blood flow. He required the surgery developed by Vivien Thomas. Now, Will is ten years old and doing fine, but the fear Anna’s family experienced can never be forgotten. So when Anna’s brother saw a movie about the little-known Vivien Thomas, he called Anna in tears, insisting she watch the movie. Anna was equally moved. She could now put a name to the man who saved her grandson’s life. “Anna, I’ve never heard of Vivien Thomas.” Gwendolyn said. “He means something to you, you should write it,” Gwendolyn said. “Gwen,” Anna said, “this story has to be told, and the author has to be African American. God told me you’re the one to write this.” When Anna speaks emphatically to her author friends, they pay attention. After all, Anna is in the Oklahoma Writer’s Hall of Fame. So, Gwendolyn watched the movie and started to research Vivien Thomas. What she discovered was the remarkable fortitude of a man who cared more about saving lives than taking credit. Vivien was unable to afford medical school, so he took a job as a research assistant. It took Vivien a while to realize that because he was a black man working in an all-white university, he was treated differently. Vivien wasn’t paid as a lab technician, his official job title was janitor. He couldn’t walk in the front door. He wasn’t allowed to wear a lab coat, which indicated doctor status. In 1943, Dr. Alfred Blalock was asked to develop a surgery to save blue babies, but since he was busy with other projects, he asked Vivien to do the research. Working with Dr. Blalock, Vivien’s natural aptitude led to the creation of a procedure for shunting arteries and sewing the vessels together. Vivien developed miniature tools and experimented on animal hearts, sewing arteries together with tiny stitches. It worked, and it was ground breaking! When Dr. Blalock was asked to try the technique on a dying baby, Vivien stood behind him on a stool and coached Dr. Blalock through the surgery he’d developed. The baby survived. Vivien then stood over Dr. Blalock’s shoulder and talked him through 150 additional surgeries. However, the procedure was named

after Dr. Blalock and another colleague, who wrote a scientific paper about the procedure. Vivien was never mentioned. Nor was he invited to the celebration in which Dr. Blalock was nominated for a Nobel Prize for the surgical technique. As Gwendolyn dug further into Vivien Thomas’ life, she was amazed by his humbleness. Despite being ignored professionally, he and Dr. Blalock maintained a congenial working relationship. Vivien continued his work and generously trained hundreds of doctors on his technique. It wasn’t until 26 years later when Vivien was acknowledged by students for his medical contributions, and his portrait was placed at Johns Hopkins University. With Anna’s encouragement, Gwendolyn spent three years writing and rewriting Vivien’s story. She contacted Oklahoma doctors who had trained under Vivien or who perform the blue baby surgery, such as Dr. Harold Burkhart. Since Gwendolyn was writing a children’s book, she didn’t want the emphasis to be the racism issue. Vivien’s treatment might have been “the norm” in the 1940s, but his ability to see past himself was not. Gwendolyn wanted readers to know that Vivien could have been bitter and walked away, but he focused on his goals instead of his feelings. Gwendolyn also pushed aside her own doubts that her book would ever be good enough. Her husband kept saying, “You can do this! But maybe you should come to bed now—it’s 2 o’clock in the morning.” Despite having already published 20 books herself, writing about such an important topic didn’t come quickly or easily—but Gwendolyn forged through dozens of “clunky drafts” until she had written a story that honored Vivien. “The words didn’t come magically—but the final manuscript gave my agent chills,” Gwendolyn said. Gwendolyn spent two more years revising the book. Another year passed while illustrator Colin Bootman finished the watercolor illustrations. Bootman is a previous winner of the Coretta Scott King Award for outstanding books by African Americans. According to Kirkus Review, Gwendolyn’s story is told with a “gently insistent message of perseverance.” It’s exactly what she hoped would come across. “Vivien couldn’t afford medical school, so he grabbed at the detour that came his way. By focusing on his goal, his dream was fulfilled,” Gwendolyn said. And Anna stood over Gwendolyn’s shoulder and encouraged her to trust in her talent. “Gwen worried that she couldn’t do this story justice,” Anna said. “But I knew she could—and she did it beautifully.” To learn more, visit Attend the book reveal on June 9, 6-8pm at Chi Gallery, 2300 NW 17th, OKC.

This book highlights a man who cared more about saving lives than taking credit


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