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CAREER TRAINING IN: Practical Nursing BSN in Nursing A.S. Nursing (LPN to RN) Pharmacy Technician A.S. Medical Laboratory Technician A.S. Culinary Arts Pastry Arts Dental Assistant Medical Assistant/Phlebotomy A.S. Respiratory Care Surgical Technologist


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October 2011


From a small town in Oklahoma, to the bright lights of the NFL, Edmond realtor and former NFL star Todd Franz shares about his experiences on and off the field.

FEATURES 20 Team Red Bowl

26 The Zuhdi Family

A chance meeting that led a local mom and son to South Africa to feed thousands of hungry children.

Boxing, singing, writing, entertainingall part of the Zuhdi family business, catBOX Entertainment.

22 The Kid & The CEO 30 Triumph in Adversity Author and PaceButler CEO, Tom Pace making a positive impact on the lives of our youth.

Lindsy Neely's inspiring story of life after a tragic car accident and traumatic brain injury.



Artful Healing



Former NFL Star Todd Franz


Indiana Jones and Jones


Fantastic Fall OKCMOA Cafe Comfort Foods


Dr. Kent Smith


Top 5 Tips for Selling Your Home


Events you Won't Want to Miss



16 BUSINESS Royal Oak Massage

Citizen of the Year, Brenda Lyons

Cover Photo provided by Randy Carr Photography -

To advertise, call Laura at 405-301-3926


13431 N. Broadway Ste. 104 OKC, OK 73114 Office: 405-341-5599 Fax: 405-341-2020

PUBLISHER Dave Miller EDITORIAL & ADVERTISING MANAGER Krystal Harlow EDITOR Erica Smith ADVERTISING SALES Laura Beam Lauren Wheat PRODUCTION DESIGNER Tanner Yeomans PHOTOGRAPHY Marshall Hawkins DISTRIBUTION The Edmond Outlook is delivered FREE by direct mail to 50,000 Edmond homes and businesses.

(Volume 7, Number 9) Edmond Outlook is a publication of Back40 Design, Inc. Š 2011 Back40 Design, Inc. Articles and advertisements in Edmond 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 Edmond 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. Edmond Outlook assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials. 5

ARTFUL HEALING by Dena A. Edwards


hen Integris Health Edmond opened October 3, it opened not only its doors but its walls – walls adorned with more than 200 art pieces by Oklahoma City-based Kalida Art, a company that was founded on the idea of bringing together unique images to tell a story. “Our art pieces are all photographs,” said coowner Randy Alvarado. “We are passionate about photos, and feel they are the best medium for walls, especially within the health care industry.” And with only a few exceptions, the photos are of nature. And Alvarado’s business partner, longtime photographer Mike Klemme, shot nearly all the images within a 20-mile radius of the hospital. “Integris designed (the building) to bring the outside in, and we wanted to continue that plan through the art selection,” said Alvarado. “We wanted to pull the beautiful area surrounding the

something in nature — a beach, a mountain, a field of flowers. Those places are our happy places.” The Kalida process is what Alvarado and Klemme refer to as “artistic alchemy,” a combination of the physical imagery with the spiritual connection to that imagery. The process starts, Alvarado emphasized, with listening. “We ask the client what message they want their space to convey and then we dig deeper,” he said. “We help them use their wall space to tell their story.” To help tell Integris’ story, a large close-up image of blowing grass titled “Fox Tail” is hung prominently in the main lobby. The piece is divided into four panels, each 4-foot by 8-foot. Installed on short metal mounts, the pieces sit a few inches away from the wall to enhance their three-dimensional appearance. Another image, “Spring Wheat,” shows a wheat field with a storm cloud growing overhead. At the far edge of the photo is a rain shower, while the rest of the image is sunny, illustrating for hospital visitors that while they might be in the rain at the moment, the big picture is still bright. Every piece throughout the facility was carefully selected. And while the images are all separate art pieces, they are mounted and framed the same, and hung at the same height to Randy Alvarado, owner of Kalida Art inside the new Integris Health Edmond provide continuity. “The facility inside the building. Nature is… where we closer the ‘hospital’ gets to the patient, the closer the feel the most comfortable. If I told you to close patient gets to nature, literally,” said Alvarado. For your eyes and imagine a place where you feel the example, each of the five conference rooms (used most calm and happy, you would likely envision by employees) is themed with different schools and


"Fox Tail" hung in the main lobby at Edmond's Integris

their winning athletic histories, encouraging the employees to succeed. Yet, wrapping around the curved wall of the registration area— an area where patients first have contact with the hospital—is a large nature installation revealing pink wildflowers. The art gets even more personal in the Women’s Center. In each of the birthing rooms, Alvarado and Klemme selected a very close-up image of a single flower, trying to give the patient a focal point. And along the halls of the Women’s Center, Alvarado sprinkled images of animals and their babies, an illustration of family and nurturing. “We walked through the facility for a couple of hours every day for days before we selected the art,” Alvarado said. “We wanted to see, to feel, who was going to be there and what was expected of them.” Other images at Integris include those of frozen water, leaves and flowers; and more distant shots of plowed fields, lakes and sunsets. All are clear, colorful, meaningful and beautiful. And they make a difference. “We want to help be a part of the healing process. If patients can find a little comfort or distraction, the ability to mentally get away for even a moment, then we have done our job. The artwork is the emotional shoelaces that tie the space together.” For more information about Kalida Art, visit their website 7



hen someone from a one-light Oklahoma town like Corn introduces himself, goodnatured jokes about pastimes like cow tipping soon follow. But with Oklahoma’s hardworking, resilient people, is it any surprise that Corn is a place where a farm boy can grow to be a head-turning football player, earn a full scholarship to a private university, graduate, then be taken in the fifth round of the 2000 NFL Draft and enjoy a six year professional career? Edmond Realtor Todd Franz did it, and he accomplished it all before the age of 30. In Corn (pop. 503), there was not a large entertainment district. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty to do. Todd, his older brother and twin sister passed the time in grand form. They rode horses and ATVs on the family’s land and spent quiet afternoons fishing and bird hunting. They cared for pigs and lambs, Todd Franz playing for Green Bay showing them at 4H competitions. The family even put up a basketball goal and a batting cage in the barn. “We worked a lot, then played sports,” Todd recalls. He remembers days


when he would take his baseball uniform with him while working the field in the family tractor. When game time finally came, Todd could zip straight from the hayfield to the ball field. After attending Washita Heights through the seventh grade, Todd decided he wanted to try his hand at football, which wasn’t offered in the Washita Heights school system. So, he transferred to nearby Weatherford for eighth grade. Injured during two-adays, Todd hardly played that season, but he would not give up. Todd persevered at Weatherford High School, becoming a star in both baseball and football. By the end of his senior year, Todd was receiving attention from professional baseball scouts. But the University of Tulsa wanted Todd as a defensive back on the Golden Hurricane football team. Todd chose football, and perhaps more importantly, chose the education that would come with it. During his career at Tulsa, Todd became a standout in the Western Athletic Conference while earning a degree in accounting. Professional interest in Todd all but assured him of being drafted in the 2000 NFL Draft and on the second day, Todd received phone calls from several interested teams. When his name scrolled across the television screen, it was time to celebrate. Todd was selected by Detroit in the fifth round. In the National Football League, each day is a day at the office, usually filled with 12 or more hours of workouts, practices, film sessions and meetings… many meetings. “As a marginal player, you have to have a hard-worker’s mentality if you want to stay,”

Todd says. Though most would hardly call a young man with a six-year NFL career “marginal,” Todd does reveal something about how to succeed at the highest level. For a defensive back, a long career is far from guaranteed. Each day’s focus is on giving your team a reason to keep you. He says good players contribute in any way possible — on special teams and filling in when others are injured. They are constantly placed in situations where they are not likely to build eyecatching statistics. Instead, dedication and effort set them apart. But life was not without highlights. During his career, Todd played for Detroit, Cleveland, the New York Jets, Washington and Green Bay. It was during a 2002 preseason game in Green Bay when Todd intercepted a pass against Cleveland and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown. “I got to do the Lambeau Leap on Monday Night Football,” he laughs. Later, while playing for Washington in the 2004 regular season, Todd pulled down an interception against Baltimore. Todd would play the majority of his career in Washington and resided there until the end of his playing career. By the end of Todd’s football career, he and his wife Tisha (the couple were high school sweethearts who met at a youth group retreat at Falls Creek) had already welcomed a daughter, Sawyer, into the world. “We had visited a lot of the country because of football, and we wanted a good, family place to raise kids,” Todd says. “Oklahoma was more appealing than anywhere we had seen.”

"During his career, Todd played for Detroit, Cleveland, the NY Jets, Washington & Green Bay"

Now living in Edmond, the Franzes have added little brother Rawley to the family. Todd and Tisha lead the college ministry at North Pointe Baptist Church. During prison ministry outreaches and student events with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Todd speaks of the role his faith has played in his life. Todd also has launched a successful career as a topproducing Realtor with the northwest Oklahoma City Keller Williams office. He credits his time in the NFL as one of the reasons for his success. “Like my NFL career, my work as a Realtor is results-oriented,” he says. Todd Franz playing for the Washington RedSkins “When helping someone sell their house or buy their dream home, I focus on giving clients the truth, so that they’ll be thrilled with the outcome. I think if you are honest with people and hardworking, people appreciate that.” 9


About the Author Louise Tucker Jones is an award-winning author and inspirational speaker. Author and co-author of four books, her work has been featured in numerous publications. Contact her at: or

by Louise Tucker Jones


he trip was going to be an adventure, along with some research for an art history degree. Our oldest son, Aaron and a friend were planning to travel to the jungles of Mexico. He asked his dad to go along. I gave Carl the look that said, “The jungle? No way!” Aaron was grown so I couldn’t stop him, but I certainly had a say in what Carl did. Though Aaron was conversational in Spanish and his friend from Puerto Rico spoke the language fluently, they planned to travel into indigenous areas where only Indian dialects were spoken. Nope, I was against it. Carl declined the invitation but Aaron continued planning. Even after his friend backed out of the trip, Aaron purchased an airline ticket, not having any idea how he was going to live throughout the week on the

“Their smiles and banter were easy and familiar, telling a story of shared camaraderie.” little bit of money he could spare from his teacher’s salary with no one to split hotel costs. “I’ll just get a cheap motel or camp out,” he said, not at all concerned about crime in the area. My mother’s heart cried and prayed but his dad took

action. Carl immediately made hotel reservations in Vera Cruz then called Aaron to find out what flight he was on and scheduled one for himself. Noticing my stunned expression on hearing him make airline reservations, he quickly interjected, “I’m not letting him go alone.” So began the journey of Indiana Jones and Jones. Each night on the trip, Carl would call to check in at home and give “vanilla” recounts of the day’s events. Invariably, I could hear Aaron laughing in the background and saying, “Tell her about...” and relate some crazy event. One particular night they ate at a restaurant that served salsa so hot it had to be served in a special container. “Mom, it was bright orange!” Aaron exclaimed. “Even I backed away from it, but not Dad.” Hardly able to finish the story from laughing so hard, Aaron told how he woke up during the night to find his dad lying on the bed with a wet cloth over his face, exclaiming, “Mercy! Mercy!” The hot sauce had definitely taken its toll on his digestive system. The next day, however, being certain his body had been purged of any possible parasites, Carl took the “hot sauce” challenge again just to prove himself to his son. The two rented a car for their excursions and Aaron was quick to relate that his dad drove as crazy as the locals, even over the mountainous terrain. Of course, Aaron never told about his own wild stunts and knew his dad would not divulge such information. Day after day for a week, they searched out places

that tourists seldom frequented. The rainy season prevented them from traveling as far into the jungle as they hoped but they were still able to experience the “flavor” in surrounding villages. They also visited churches, museums and places off the beaten path,

Carl & Aaron Jones returning from Mexico in 1998

talking with village people along the narrow streets or walkways while absorbing the culture and the traditions. At the end of the week, my youngest son and I met the travelers at the airport. Carl and Aaron, dressed in Khaki and sporting straw hats, looked like they had stepped off an Indiana Jones movie set. Their smiles and banter were easy and familiar, telling a story of shared camaraderie. I’m not sure how much research was actually accomplished during that trip, but it was the bonding of a lifetime. It was the culmination of the adult child finding a “friend” in his dad and the father discovering the “man” in his son.

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Anabelle’s Galleria

Sacred Gardening has expanded beyond our sympathy arrangements and we are pleased to offer holiday decor! Our deco wreaths have become very popular with many colors and themes to choose from. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, new baby, team spirit, ect. You name it, we can make it! Call Valerie at 818-3847 • Find us on Facebook!

You're invited to Anabelle's Galleria's first Angels Fashion Show, Saturday, Oct. 15th at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and a portion of the proceeds go to the Angels Foster Family Network. Come check out all the hot new fall and winter styles while helping a great cause! 1201 NW 178th (2nd & Western) • 359-1189 • Find us on Facebook!

Swimming season is over and it's time to get that pool ready for winter. Call us today to schedule your pool closing or to set up a winter maintenance plan. Our licensed, bonded and insured technicians are experts in pool repair, cleaning and remodeling. 1333 N. Santa Fe • 340-6442 Beaucoup Boutiques is Edmond’s new boutique market! You’ll find over 25 vendors offering an array of gorgeous clothing, purses, hand-made jewelry, children’s items and decor with even more vendors to come. Interested in renting booth space? Call us at 471-9127 • 14400 N. Lincoln in Edmond • 242-6451

The holiday season is approaching, filled with cooking, shopping, guests and to-do lists. Leave the cleaning to us. We’ll take care of all the sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, laundry, dusting, bed linens & more! We offer years of experience and competitve rates. For a free estimate call 740-6004.

Don’t miss the Creek Boutique: A Holiday Market hosted by Deer Creek Prairie Vale Elementary School Saturday, October 29th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is just $1 or FREE with this ad. For booth info, email Located at 22522 N. Penn •

341-3107 Beautiful flameless Scentsy warmers are the perfect gift for everyone, including the special men in your life. Scentsy Man is a masculine collection of scents featuring fresh herbs, rich spices, suede and leather. Pair those with over 70 different warmers to choose from including sports, college and military themed collections. Visit for monthly specials and to order online. Or call Nancy Dobbs - Super Star Consultant at 341-3107 to host an online Scentsy party and receive FREE and 1/2 off products!

Hip & Swanky has all the latest looks for fall including these amazing rings and bracelets. You'll fall in love with their trendy tees, hats, boots & accessories. Enjoy 15% off jewelry with this ad! exp. 10/31/11 1247 E. Danforth (Kickingbird Square) 341-3066 • 11

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(SE Corner of Kelly & Danforth) 348-1555 Mon. - Thur. 11a.m. - 8 p.m. Fri. & Sat. 11a.m. - 9 p.m. Sun. 11a.m. - 3 p.m.

Buy 1 Entree Get 1 FREE! *LUNCH ONLY*

of equal or lesser value with ad & purchase of 2 drinks Mon-Fri 10:30 am - 4 pm One coupon per customer. Cannot be combined with any other offers. Exp. 10/31/11

844-7667 M - Th: 10:30 am - 8 pm

Edmond F - Sat: Rd. 10:30 & amSanta - 9 pm Fe Serving Ice Cold Beer!


by Melanie Phillips Clemens

Chef Gayland Toriello


useum Cafe, located on the ground floor of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, is

more than a Cafe: It’s an international finedining restaurant in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City. According to Ahmad Farnia, general manager, they’re cafe in name but not in style. “When we opened in February of 2003, the original decor of the restaurant was cafe-style with wicker chairs and a line to order and pick up food. Our main purpose was to provide a place for lunch for museum visitors.” After numerous requests from Civic Center patrons, the restaurant extended hours to accommodate the demand. “By August of 2003, we’d become the restaurant we are today,” said Farnia. White tablecloths, elegant decor and servers in formal attire create an air of sophistication suitable for a restaurant devoted to art history. In artistic fashion, the restaurant offers rare services for those looking for an exceptional dining experience. Cocktails on the Skyline presents an exquisite view of Oklahoma City amidst a casual atmosphere. Each Thursday evening from May to October, live bands, a tasteful Roof Terrace menu and full bar delivers a New York City flair with no reservations required. Museum Cafe can also make this incredible venue available for wedding receptions and private parties. In the tradition of English high tea, Museum Cafe features four delightful teas paired with chef’s choice scones, dark chocolate truffles, berry tartlets or assorted finger sandwiches with select packages. “We have patrons who look forward to this occa-

sion,” said Farnia. Tea Time is offered 3-5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday and reservation is required at least 24 hours in advance. Film lovers attending screenings at the Noble Theatre may choose the Dinner & Movie Package complete with a Prix-Fixe two-course menu. The menu, with or without the movie, is designed to enhance your dining experience with minimal waiting. It is available by reservation only. Head Chef Gayland Toriello and his team use only the highest-quality ingredients to create every delectable item on the menu. Farnia explained, “I have my eye on everything that leaves the kitchen. Also, dealing with the same food companies for 25 years builds a relationship of trust. They know me and that I quality check every box and train our employees to do the same.” Enticing items such as lobster bisque, sweet and sour fig salad and pan-seared, pepper crusted tilapia are just a few of the delicious selections adorning lunch and dinner menus. Farnia shared “Our staff is like a family and we treat our customers the same. Most of our servers know our guests and what they prefer. If the customer drinks wine, they know to bring them a glass of wine when they seat them. We’re very attentive to detail. About 80 percent of our business is return customers. That’s amazing because it’s difficult to get that kind of following in the restaurant business.” Museum Cafe is located at 415 Couch Drive. Call 235-6262 for reservations. For more information, visit or find them on Facebook and Twitter.

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FREE With ad - One offer per table per visit Max. $7 - Restrictions do apply. Exp. 10/31/11 13

COMFORTFOOD by Krystal Harlow

Dan's Pizza

Tropical Cafe

Gather with friends or that special someone over a steamy pot of blended cheeses and a cool drink for an evening of urban comfort food at its finest! The Melting Pot’s exquisite fondue varieties served with dipping fruits, veggies and breads make dining an event. Dine on filet mignon, shrimp or cedar plank salmon and save room for dessert. Graham cracker crusted cheesecake bites dunked in chocolate are the perfect finish to this interactive dining experience. Call 235-1000 for reservations. Located at 4 E. Sheridan and

Dan's defines comfort food with their amazing handcrafted pizzas and sandwiches. The Reuben is layered with juicy corned beef, melted Swiss and sauerkraut, topped with Thousand Island dressing and served on grilled rye. Try the mouth-watering Philly Cheesesteak sandwich or have it on a pizza - thinly sliced ribeye with grilled onions and melted cheese. You'll also be tempted with made-to-order calzones, cheesesticks and spicy buffalo wings. Enjoy $3 off any large specialty pizza (with this ad - exp. 10/31/11) Visit them at Waterloo & Broadway or call 359-3900.

Start your day with the classic indulgence of breakfast! This classy café offers a magnificent menu of favorites like ham steak, eggs, French toast, createyour-own omelets and a fun yogurt bar. Kick back with a Mimosa, Smoothie or specialty coffee around the flat screen TV’s. Don’t forget their incredible catering and takeout options for parties, too. With an assortment of sushi and sandwiches and an easy atmosphere for unwinding with a glass of wine, this café is the ultimate treat all day. Call 340-8956, stop by 304 S. Kelly or visit

Italian Jim's Restaurant

Let's Do Greek

Running Wild Catering

When nothing but savory spices and tasty flavor combinations will satisfy your craving, Let’s Do Greek has the perfect dish for you. Enjoy classic comfort in every robust bite of Gyros meat served atop Basmati Rice with grilled tomatoes and onions, along with Tzatizki and Pita. Warm up with Curry Chicken Stew or Oregano Chicken over Basmati Rice. For the ultimate finish to your feast, enjoy the delicate sweet indulgence of Greekalicious – warm Baklava and vanilla ice cream drizzled with honey! Call 285-8898 or visit 180 W. 15th Street.

Give your fall party or event a delicious touch of home with hearty comfort food selections from Running Wild Catering. Choose the juicy pot roast or meatloaf, finished with cobbler, gourmet cookies or bread pudding. Now booking Holiday Dinner Packages including turkey dinners for eight with all the trimmings. Plus you'll always enjoy the legendary customer service that has distinguished this creative company for years. Professional bar service also available. Contact them at 751-0688 or

The Melting Pot

After 15 years as a renowned pizzeria, Italian Jim's is now an ultra-hip, urban eatery and cultural hot spot in downtown Edmond! Nowhere else in the U.S. can you enjoy Italian and comfort cuisine while taking in the Italian art of live glass-blowing. Relax in a swanky circular booth amid stunning art glass or at a table overlooking the studio while you dine on filet mignon, salmon, inspired chef dishes or their signature pizza. Lunch or dinner, you'll be blown away! Stop by 13 S. Broadway in downtown Edmond or call 285-8800.


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Royal Oak Massage The Royal Treatment by Melanie Phillips Clemens A new “relaxation destination” is calling Edmond home. Royal Oak Massage offers an escape from everyday stressors with its menu of services and soothing atmosphere. Owner Lisa Kennedy knows firsthand how therapeutic a good massage can be. Kennedy graduated from OCU with a finance degree. “I previously worked in financial planning and got a massage on a monthly basis. I was inspired to start my own massage spa when I had a negative experience. My husband, knowing how much I love massage, purchased a gift card for me that had several massages on it. When I tried to use the card, I was told I couldn’t because I was a member and they’d lose too much money. We started Royal Oak Massage because we wanted an upscale local massage spa that treats clients the way we want to be treated,” said Kennedy. “Our gift certificates don’t expire and there’s no contract for our memberships.” According to the American Psychological Association, stress can play a big part in various illnesses, migraines and general physical discomfort. One way people seek relief is through massage therapy.


“Every session is customized to meet our client’s needs and they’re paired with the therapist who can best meet those needs. They simply come in and relax in luxury,” said Kennedy. “There are so many proven benefits from massages such as better posture, positive attitude, less stress and relaxation. Research shows that massages promote a sense of well-being, boost the immune system and reduce chronic pain and discomfort from conditions like fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.” Royal Oak’s therapists are highly trained, licensed and hand selected. They also have many different massages to choose from including Swedish, deep tissue, trigger point, chair, hand and foot reflexology, hot and cold stone, sports, prenatal, and infant massage. Every massage comes with organic aromatherapy with several fragrances to choose from. It’s also the only spa in the metro to offer infrared saunas. The décor at Royal Oak Massage lends credence to the royal services offered. During a two-week stay in England, the Kennedys fell in love with the English traditional style. This provided inspiration for the spa,

Owner Lisa Kennedy with Emily Leary & Liz Ellis which is decorated with Swarovski crystal chandeliers and sconces, Belgian tapestries, hand-woven Oriental rugs, exotic wood paneling and Greek Corinthian columns. “The atmosphere is paramount in having a good spa experience. Our plants and orchids are authentic because artificial greenery doesn’t purify the air or feel as aesthetically pleasing,” said Kennedy. Royal Oak Massage’s convenient late hours and the option of booking appointments on Facebook are just a few reasons why clients are making Royal Oak Massage their relaxation destination. They are located at 1201 NW 178, Suite 111 in Edmond and open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday. Call 285-5868 or find them on Facebook.

Dr. Kent Smith

Dental Office That's All Smiles by Melanie Phillips Clemens Smiles are contagious, show confidence and are rarely refused. One of Dr. M. Kent Smith’s favorite reasons for being a dentist is being able to restore someone’s self-image by restoring their smile. “I enjoy seeing someone gain self-confidence who’s had broken or missing teeth. People say ‘It’d take a miracle to fix my mouth’ but today we have different methods that weren’t available 10 or 20 years ago that can correct almost anything,” said Smith. As a general family dentist, his practice takes care of routine dental work including root canals, crowns, teeth whitening, dentures and more. Smith’s original career plans didn’t include dentistry. In high school he received congressional and presidential nominations to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and both the Air Force and Naval academies. After failing the physical because of an overbite, his first long-term exposure to dentistry began. “As I went through the process of having braces, I realized dentistry offered something that could make a long and profound effect on someone,” he said. After graduating from the University of Texas

Health Science Center, Smith was accepted to residency at OU Medical Center and moved to Edmond in 1986 with his wife, Leslye. “We thought we’d move back to Texas after residency but we loved it here,” said Smith. In 1988, they started their dental practice with Leslye assisting her husband. The number one goal for Smith and his staff is for patients to have the best dental experience possible. Sedation therapy is an alternative to patients who may be nervous prior to procedures. “Some patients would rather sleep through a procedure or be very relaxed. Sedation therapy is not for everyone; we do what works best for each patient. People realize dentistry can be easier than they thought,” said Smith. The Smiths have four children, so they spend a lot of time at softball or baseball games. Even during these family events, Smith finds his knowledge being put to use. “During a game, a girl had three teeth knocked out. We put them back in while on the field behind the dugout. It’s critical to rinse them off and get them back in the socket as fast as possible,” said Smith. Smith attributes his greatest accomplishment to

Dentist Dr. Kent Smith an experience during a mission trip to Paraguay. “Dr. Andrew Guthrie and I went to a village where there’d never been a dentist. We helped 250 people in five days. A boy named Hector had an infection that split his jaw open. A few days after giving him antibiotics and extracting teeth, he looked like a different kid,” he said. “I don’t speak Spanish but through our interpreter he told me ‘I love you and I’ll never forget you.’ Without hesitation, it’s the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done.” Smith’s office is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For an appointment, call 341-7773 or go to 17




By Grant Zellner


casual survey of news reports and census data reveals that about 45 million Americans relocate each year. Do the math, and you’ll find that about 15 to 20 percent of you reading this article will move in the next 12 months. On average, Americans move every five to seven years, according to the same reports. That means a significant percentage of us haven’t bought or sold a home since we were deciding between Kerry and Bush in the ballot booth. So, what’s changed? We asked a few local professionals to shine some light on the subject. The tips they shared may surprise you. More importantly, they may help you in your next relocation.

1. Buyers shop online Just a few years ago, a home listed on the Web often included minimal information with perhaps only one exterior picture. Now, the vast majority of buyers go online, especially during the early phase of their home search and a typical home listing often includes a dozen or more professional photographs. “It is extremely important that the Realtor you are working with is technology-savvy,” says Donna Kincheloe of Metro First Realty. “I set up websites for my buyers with the specific criteria they are looking for and the website automatically updates daily and emails the buyer information on a new listing fitting those criteria. Many buyers use this site for months until they are ready to buy.” In short, get your home on the Web and have photos taken by a professional.

2. Price is king

Call 286-3637 Today!

Surprisingly Affordable Solutions 18

“Eighty percent of selling your home is price,” says Cindy Cook of Keller Williams. “You simply cannot market an overpriced home.” Over the past decade, the local market has not seen the same wild swings that national analysts talk about on cable news outlets. Although the local market has fluctuated, it has remained among the most consistent in the country. As Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas continue to grow, the number of homes on the market give buyers many choices in all price points. If your house is priced correctly, it will sell.

3. Update, update, update Five years ago, it was a seller’s market, and demand for homes was substantial. Many sellers only needed to put a sign in their yard in order to capture the eye of a buyer. Now, it takes more to make your home stand out. Steve Reeser of Keller Williams says start by looking at three specific

areas of your home: walls, floors and countertops. “Five years ago, a seller could sell his or her home without updating a thing. This is no longer the case,” says Reeser. “A seller should at least get estimates for any of these areas that need to be updated … especially granite countertops. An investment of a few thousand may be well worth it.”

4. When staging, it’s what you take out Cable television programs that emphasize selling your home with a lot of artistic touches are a bit “over the top,” says Kini Gainer, owner of Show and Sell, an Edmond-based home staging company. “Instead, go ahead and box up everything you don’t use on a daily basis, like books, DVDs, toys and knickknacks. And take them to a storage unit, not the garage!” she says. Also, don’t be afraid to store some furniture. When decluttering, many people focus on pictures and other personal items, but they don’t take the time to remove an item of furniture or two. Doing so can make your home seem much more open. Gainer also says that buyers are always interested in closet space. But, many sellers don’t give closets a second thought. Instead, try removing twothirds of everything. Once you can see the walls, consider painting them. It will give the closet a crisp, clean look. White paint will make the space look as bright and expansive as possible. You’ll be amazed at how much of a difference something like a closet can make. And finally, a tip for buyers:

5. Get preapproved Before you are ready to make a home-buying decision, make sure you are able. “The earlier you can get in touch with a trusted mortgage adviser, the better chance you have of getting exactly what you want,” says Brian Bomar, branch manager of Cornerstone Home Lending. Sometimes, people who are “just looking” stumble upon their dream home, only to find that it will take several weeks to get preapproved. You can eliminate a lot of stress by having that letter in your pocket when you make an offer. You also will find sellers more willing to work with you as you negotiate the many elements involved in buying their home. Plus, preapproval often is free. To contact Donna Kincheloe with Metro First Realty, call 843-7761. For Cindy Cook at Keller Williams, call 625-6951 or for Steve Reeser at Keller Williams, call 476-6572. To reach Kini Gainer with Show and Sell, call 919-9101. To contact Cornerstone Home Lending, call 445-5445.

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TEAM RED BOWL By Lindsay Whelchel


nder the bright African sun, children are playing soccer. Only one of the children speaks English, but their squeals of delight can be translated across any language. For Edmond resident Tracy Zserdin, watching her 8-year-old son, Jake, connect to children on the other side of the world is what it’s all about. “I just want him to know that every person has value, no matter what skin color they have, no matter what continent they’re on,” Zserdin says of her decision to travel with her son to South Africa this summer as a part of a nonprofit movement called Team Red Bowl. “I want him to know that this life isn’t all about him. We’re not just here to get our next toy … to know that we have a short time here, we have an opportunity to help other people,” she said. And it was an opportunity to help others that got Zserdin and the rest of her family involved in Team Red Bowl, an initiative from international nonprofit organization Joint Aid Mission or JAM. JAM began in 1984 when its South African founder, Peter Pretorius was stranded at a food distribution center in Mozambique, according to Zserdin. There, he saw more than 300 people die from malnutrition and resolved to develop programs to allow his country to help itself. Now, JAM has operations in seven countries and several programs that include economic and nutritional initiatives, according to their website.

Team Red Bowl is one such program. The program helps feed more than 500,000 children in schools and malnutrition centers daily, according to the website. With the organization’s desired expansion for raising funds and awareness in the United States and a chance meeting between Zserdin’s husband and Pretorius’ son, the Zserdin family in January became the first fundraising team in the United States. By June, Zserdin was in South Africa. Being a team means the Zserdin family committed to finding 200 people to each fill a bowl. “Filling a bowl costs 50 dollars and will feed a child for an entire year,” Zserdin explained. “It’s really, really simple; to me it’s kind of a no-brainer. Fifty dollars to me is one night out and if I’m willing to sacrifice one night out, I can fill a tummy of a child for one year,” she said and adds that fundraising possibilities are endless. “What’s so easy about Team Red Bowl is I can raise the money any way I want. I can do garage sales, whatever I want; it just kind of opens the doors to creativity.” The first people to join her team and donate were her two children. It was their commitment that helped her put aside any fears of taking her son on such a long journey. “It was one of those things where it is a little scary because you just never really know what could happen,” she said. But she and Jake wanted to witness the work Team Red Bowl was doing. “I just wanted to be able to give

people in Oklahoma a firsthand experience, saying ‘don’t just give to this organization but we went there, we did it.’” During their journey, the Zserdins witnessed the organization’s impact by feeding children these meals, a porridge-like food full of more than 70 percent of a child’s daily nutritional needs. “Everywhere we went the teachers were just like, ‘you don’t realize how you’re changing lives.’ One of the men we spoke to equate these children to flowers: If you take care of them and you feed them, they grow and turn into beautiful things. Another man held up a red bowl and said, ‘This red bowl is life.Without this red bowl we don’t have life.’” Zserdin said the organization is working to combat the impact of early childhood malnutrition to better prevent health-related and learning difficulties later in life. “Truly these children will not eat if we don’t fill that bowl; most of these kids, that’s the only meal they receive in a day.” Filling the bowl is a foundation for everything, Zserdin says. “It enables these kids to learn and education changes lives, but you cannot learn if you’re not being fed, so it just comes down to the basics. It’s just a huge crazy impact. I wish everyone in Edmond could see it, because it’s just really unbelievable.” Edmond residents would also see how committed to their schooling the children are. “We went to 12 different schools and not once did I see a teacher get on to a kid. They were all extremely wellbehaved,” she said. The children also had to shoulder responsibility far greater than their young ages. “Some of the kids, even younger than my son, would have an infant tied to their backs and brought their brother or

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Tracy Zserdin with her son Jake in South Africa sister to school with them and just took care of them while they sat on the dirt and did school. The teachers, when they filled their bowls, gave them a little bit extra so they could feed their siblings.” What someone might also see in Africa is a beautiful way of life that Zserdin has found and has incorporated into her family life here. “They don’t have TV, they don’t have radio; we drove for hours and hours just to get to where they were. They just sit around and talk and they dance,” she said of some of the communities she visited. “Our family has really tried to do some unplugging on the weekends and just play in the yard and not everybody go to their own little iPod area.” Jake didn’t mind the lack of technology on his trip. “He had an amazing time. He didn’t want to come home. He absolutely loved being there. He was so sweet with those kids, they couldn’t communicate, but recess is recess,” Zserdin says. And recess was made more exciting by the introduction of soccer balls that Zserdin and Jake brought with them along with school supplies from Deer Creek schools to each of the schools they visited. “As soon as (Jake) would pull out that soccer ball, they lit up, because they inflate condoms and either wrap banana leaves or rags around them, and we paid four dollars each for these soccer balls and you would’ve thought we had dropped a pot of gold in their laps,” she says. Now that they are home, Zserdin says she is really trying to spread the movement and build teams. It is a process as equally rewarding for the individual as it is for those in need. “I just think it’s deciding that I’m not going to live a life that’s all about me, and find whatever you’re passionate about, whatever motivates you,” she said. “For our family, it’s Team Red Bowl and if people want to be a part of that, that is fabulous.” To join the team, go to and click on the red bowl over Oklahoma on the map graphic to email Zserdin and get involved. 21


by Becky Sowers Tom Pace speaking with a group of young men at Job Corps


hen Tom Pace, CEO of PaceButler, wrote the book “Mentor: The Kid and The CEO” he based the story on a real-life experience. However, in Pace’s world, mentoring young men to create a better future for themselves isn’t just a one-time occurrence — it’s a way of life, and troubled individuals seem to find their way to Pace. Take Trey, for example. At 17, Trey has lived more life than most 40-somethings. His mother signed away her parental rights when he was three. He was in and out of foster care until he was six when he went to live with his paternal grandmother. At eight, he went to live with his father. “He is an alcoholic and he didn’t want me in the house when he wasn’t there,” recalls Trey. “So I’d come home from school and if it was cold, I’d climb into an old truck and crawl under a bunch of blankets


or sit out on the front porch until he came home… then he’d get me up at four in the morning the next day and lock me outside of the house until it was time to walk to school.” Things escalated between Trey and his dad. “My father was physically abusive for pretty much any reason,” said Trey. “He’d accuse me of leaving the bread out, or blame me because there wouldn’t be anything to eat…but I was just a kid.” After a couple of years, Trey’s father started working as a truck driver and left for long periods of time. “When he’d drive, I’d be alone, which was okay because he wasn’t around to hurt me,” he said. “But then on the other hand, I wouldn’t have much to eat. He’d leave some ramen noodles, bread

and sugar. If I was lucky, I’d get some milk and cereal.” With his father on the road, Trey turned to membership in a south Oklahoma City gang to fulfill his desire to belong. “As if the gang and the abuse I was getting at home from my dad weren’t enough, when I was 14, my mom shows back up with four other kids. It was nuts,” recalls Trey. “So there I was, going from pretty much being alone, to having to get to know stepbrothers and sisters; and I couldn’t look at my mom without asking ‘why did you leave?’ When I was home, my dad was abusive, so I’d leave. And when I left, I was on the streets running with a gang, doing all kinds of crazy stuff…I was in really deep. It was bad.”

"It was good to see what 'good' normal was as opposed to what my normal was."

Tom, I got to spend a month shadowing him at his office,” said Trey. “He taught me so much. Mainly he expressed a tremendous amount of encouragement and he told me how the Tom Pace with his Saturday morning running group at Lake Hefner actions of my father don’t have to affect me. Tom also In December 2009, the stress finally reached its spent a lot of time sharing with me how I am in control boiling point and 15-year-old Trey collapsed. When of changing my life…he has talked to me about how he was released from the hospital, Trey remembers I can start anew and become a leader. I’ve never had his girlfriend being the one to encourage him to walk that much positive energy coming my way in such a away from the gang and make a better life for himself. short time. I also got to get real work experience on “I knew I wanted out but I had no idea how to do the computer doing data entry and in the warehouse. it. One of the things we talked about was Job Corps,” It was a great opportunity to get to work in an office said Trey. He started with the Guthrie Job Corps in environment, even if it was just for a short time.” “The biggest deal was when Tom asked me to September 2010 and one of the first things he heard about was a group of people who went jogging come spend the weekend at his house to meet his Saturday mornings at Lake Hefner. “I’ve always loved family. We went to church, hung out…,” laughs Trey. running. Even if I was running away from a rival gang, “That weekend was a very different environment from I still loved it,” laughed Trey. “That first morning at the what I grew up in, but it was good to see what ‘good’ lake, I met Tom Pace.” normal was as opposed to what my normal was… and Meeting Pace, and other company staff made a the bed I got to sleep in was so comfortable…I’m going significant impact on Trey’s life. The interaction with to have a bed just like that one of these days!” these men has been nothing but positive for someone The polite young man is looking forward to a bright who has only experienced chaos. “After meeting future. He received his high school diploma, completed

his trade coursework in office administration at Job Corps and is starting college at OCCC. “The last nine months have been life-changing,” said Trey. “Meeting Tom Pace has just lit a fire in me to believe that I can do well in life despite how things started out. Guthrie Job Corps gave me a safe place to stay, food to eat, they helped me finish my high school diploma, and they have helped me learn office administration.” As for his family: “For now, I’m keeping my distance from my mother, brothers and sisters because it’s not safe,” said Trey. “The last time I saw my father, he threatened me with a shotgun so I’ve made the decision not to have any further contact with him. When I leave, I’m hoping to move in with a buddy of mine and look for an entry level position in an office — hopefully at PaceButler. I’m looking forward to my new life and what the future holds.” The good news is that Tom Pace concurs. “I see in Trey tremendous potential,” said Pace. “Through his activities at Job Corps, combined with the environment at PaceButler, if he continues to stay on track, he will do well.” PaceButler Corporation buys and recycles used cell phones throughout the United States. For more information, visit To learn more or to purchase a copy of Tom Pace’s book “Mentor, The Kid & The CEO,” visit

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24 25

THE ZUHDI FAMILY by Heide Brandes Oklahoma’s Zuhdi family knows how to make things happen, and with years of promotions experience under their belt, they are now bringing the sport of boxing to a new level in the state. Darla and Bill Zuhdi, creators of catBOX Entertainment, Inc., are promoting and producing standing-room-only boxing events in Oklahoma. With years of working with national and international entertainers, the move to offering fight cards that offer a new level of entertainment in the Midwest was an easy transition. “Our fights are so much more elaborate than what was being offered in Oklahoma,” said Darla. “We put on fights with a Vegas-style atmosphere. It’s charged up, and people are having a blast.” The Zuhdis are no strangers to putting on top-level events. Bill, a University of Central Oklahoma graduate, has promoted world-class entertainers with his wife for years, bringing in such talent as Frank Sinatra, Julio Iglesias, Billy Idol, The Beastie Boys, Bill Cosby and more. Also a lawyer with federal litigation experience, Bill has been featured on ABC World News Tonight, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. But through it all, boxing was always a passion for Bill. So when his son, Noah, decided he wanted to begin boxing, the Zuhdis decided they would create an opportunity for Noah and other boxers to

excel. “I was an amateur boxer on the East Coast, and I had been around boxing all my life,” Bill said. “Then my son said he wanted to be a fighter after college, so Darla and I figured that we had produced so many concerts, we could start producing topquality fights. We started catBOX Entertainment.” With a reputation for being a tough sport, Darla said the fights catBOX Entertainment produce would be as professional and as ethical as possible. That meant no smoky, sleazy bouts or women dressed in skimpy outfits working as ring girls. For her, the boxing matches would be only about the fights. “We had our first fights in November 2007 at Remington Park Casino. We were there for quite a while, but we outgrew the venue,” she said. “We started holding fights at the Cox (Convention) Center, and on September 2, (we did) an event at Riverwind Casino. With the success of catBOX Entertainment in Oklahoma, Las Vegas is now sniffing around, said Bill. “We’ve been approached to do events at Planet Hollywood and Cosmopolitan Casino.” Yet, through all the promotions and fights and successes, Noah was the driving force behind the business. His late start into boxing hasn’t slowed him down, and his current professional boxing record is 13-1 with 11 knockouts. Noah also was named Oklahoma’s boxing prospect of the year by The Oklahoman in 2009 and has been featured in both national and statewide media. Growing up with a father who was a successful amateur boxer, Noah

"His current professional boxing record is 13-1 with 11 knockouts."


was no stranger to the sport of boxing and grew to love it. “I have been interested in boxing my entire life. My childhood hero was Muhammad Ali,” said Noah. “Watching fights on television with my father was one of my favorite things to do when I was growing up.” However, basketball took center stage. After playing throughout college, Noah’s eligibility ended in 2006, and he graduated from St. Gregory’s University with a degree in business management. He entered law school that fall, but still had the desire to become a professional athlete. “I have always thought that boxing is the ultimate test in emotional, mental, physical and spiritual toughness and decided to pursue a professional boxing career while in law school,” he said. “I had my first professional bout with no amateur experience during my second year of law school in November 2007. It has been an incredible journey to this point in my career, and I’ve really grown as a person through my experiences in boxing.” Balancing the demands of law school while pursuing a professional boxing career was a challenge. After passing the Oklahoma Bar in 2009, Noah decided to focus primarily on his boxing career, which meant serious training. “A typical day for me in training is to wake up around

5:30 a.m. for a conditioning workout. My training camps are now held in Colorado Springs, so morning workouts vary from traditional distance runs to climbing mountains,” Noah said. “I then prepare for my boxing workout, which is typically held around noon.”

(left to right) Darla, Noah and Bill Zuhdi Skill development through drills and sparring tops Noah’s training sessions, which he said is vital to his success. “Sparring top-quality fighters is critical for the stage I’m at right now in my career for it enables me to test myself against the best in the sport,” he said. “After my boxing workout, I then prepare for my strength and conditioning workout which takes place around 6 p.m. I keep this schedule

six days a week and take Sundays off.” With boxing as the family business, Noah said both he and the sport of boxing owe much to his parents. When catBOX held its first fight in November 2007, it started a renaissance of the sport in the state. “catBOX has provided a stage for countless boxers to pursue their dreams. Boxing in Oklahoma has grown tremendously due to catBOX and has received both state and national media coverage,” he said. Like all serious boxers, Noah’s ultimate goal in boxing is to be a world champion. Although he competes against people who boxed for the majority of their lives, he says he likes the challenges he faces. “After my career is over, I will use my boxing career and my law degree to address several of the injustices that occur both in professional boxing and in society,” Noah said. Darla Zuhdi has her own magic outside the boxing world. Besides partnering with her husband to bring world-class fights into Oklahoma, she is also rather famous in her own right. Known as Darla Z, Darla sells out venues throughout Oklahoma and at casinos in Las Vegas with a voice like buttered honey. In 2005, she opened a show for country music legend Willie Nelson. “It was my first performance,

continued on page 28 27

continued from page 27 and it was with Willie Nelson in front of 10,000 people,” Darla said. She also has performed in Las Vegas as Wayne Newton’s only opening act, and sold out three shows this year in Oklahoma. But, benefit concerts are her passion. She’s been the entertainment for the Oklahoma City University School of Nursing Benefit, the top draw in February at the Cox Convention Center for the Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum benefit and a sold-out show in May for the Oklahoma History Center. Featuring the hits of the 1930s through 1960s, Darla Z has several CDs out and a November 4 show for Oklahoma Prevent Blindness. In addition, the “Darla Z Live from Las Vegas” TV special is set to air multiple times on a nationally syndicated network and satellite network beginning in November, just in time for the holidays. In between her singing career and her boxing promotions, Darla is also a published children’s author with the “Cat Detectives” series. “The books follow two cats who travel the world and solve mysteries using good values, like research and exploration,” Darla said. “We’re cat lovers. We have five rescue cats, and my first book was endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States.” In fact, catBOX Entertainment was born from a character in one of her books. The company’s logo features the little black kitty, armed with red boxing gloves.“We just want to provide entertainment and the best quality shows,” Darla said. For more information, go to

Darla Z performing at the Cox Convention Center February 2011

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TRIUMPH IN ADVERSITY by Melanie Phillips Clemens


utomobile accidents claim the lives of more than 40,000 Americans annually, according to studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Many crash victims survive but are left with physical reminders of the tragedy they’ve endured. For Lindsy Neely, injuries that could’ve destroyed her became the blessing she never imagined. Born and raised in Edmond, Neely graduated from Edmond Memorial in 1993. While majoring in Interior Design at UCO, an accident forever altered the course of her life. “On my 21st birthday, my life turned upside-down. While driving to meet my mom to tan and go shopping, a car pulled out, hitting my car and pushing me into oncoming traffic where I was hit on the driver’s side. The older gentleman who first hit me was going to a funeral. My heart goes out to him; maybe his mind was on that. Thankfully, everyone lived,” said Neely. The impact knocked Neely unconscious while paramedics spent 45 minutes cutting the car to get her out. With multiple injuries including head trauma, doctors were uncertain if she would live. “I was in a coma for 8 ½ days with a broken neck, five broken ribs, three broken pelvic bones, a broken tail bone, broken left arm and leg along with a crushed pancreas and fractured spleen. Both of my lungs collapsed and I had a brain injury. Because they didn’t know who I was, they entered me in the hospital as Jane Doe. When they made contact with my parents, they told them nothing which made my mom think I was dead. At the time, my dad was an associate pastor at Henderson Hills Baptist Church. There were many people from the church praying, nurturing my family


and bringing them food during that time,” said Neely. After 52 days, Neely left the hospital fully recovered except for the short-term memory loss that brought unexpected challenges. “At first I was very discouraged and mad at God because I didn’t see anything good in this. I had to relearn how to walk and talk. I could no longer live on my own and had to move back in with my mom and dad. I lost my friends and was unable to go school. My driver’s license was swept away automatically because of my head injury,” said Neely. Even though doctors recommended 24-hour treatment out of state, Neely’s parents chose local therapy believing that familiarity would help her recover. She spent 3 ½ months in therapy to cope with the memory loss. Neely became involved in the Think First Foundation, a program designed to raise awareness for teenagers to reduce the risk for brain and spinal cord injury from motor vehicle crashes, violence, sports and recreation. “We went to schools before prom and shared our stories. It was a job for me,” said Neely. A former professor offered Neely an opportunity to come back to drafting class for free. “He was kind and supportive, letting me attend class to see if I could do the work. I fell in love with design again but had to take another class that required more memory and I couldn’t do it. I’d taken an art class before the wreck so I decided to take another one. I

never thought I’d enjoy art because I’d never painted before but I loved it. I feel free when I paint. It’s as if God said, ‘I’m taking this but I’m giving you this instead,’” said Neely. She graduated from UCO in 2002 with a degree in graphic arts. Eventually, Neely sought employment through an

Lindsy Neely at home in her art studio agency that helps people with brain injuries, but she had no success. “Thankfully, my orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Johnson, hired me to work in his office,” said Neely. “After a year, I felt like God had something more for me.” While working for Johnson, Neely met celebrity

Mark Harmon. At the urging of Johnson, she began painting for Harmon’s charity events and has painted about 10 paintings for their fundraising auctions. Neely still does commissioned paintings but her greatest joy is teaching art each summer. “I work mostly with children and love it. I’ve taught an adult art class and hope to teach more,” she said. Discovering a love for art wasn’t the only good that came from this adversity. Neely shared, “God took this and turned it. My family is much

"At first I was very discouraged and mad at God because I didn't see anything good in this." closer now. I’ve reunited with friends that I’d been separated from. One of them stayed with me after the wreck and we’ve been friends ever since. It’s a blessing that I started painting because everything else takes longer for me to do. Even though I love it, I’m not here to paint; I’m here to serve God.” To view Lindsy Neely’s artwork, visit For art lessons, call 326-5797 or email 31


OUTLOOK by Radina Gigova

Name: Brenda Lyons, Citizen of the Year You were born in Tulsa. What brought you to Edmond? I got my first job in Edmond as an English teacher at Central Mid High School in 1976. My family and I have lived here ever since. You've worked in education for over 35 years. Where else have you worked? After teaching English for nine years, I was named Assistant Principal at Sequoyah Middle School. Four years later I became the first principal at Summit Middle School. Basically I got to start the school. I had to hire all the staff, number all the rooms and order everything. Two years after that I became Director of Secondary Education for the district, and a couple years after that Associate Superintendent for Secondary Education. You were also recently named Citizen of the Year. What other awards have you won? Well, I was named Volunteer of the Year in 2003 and then Woman of the Year in 2009. Wow, that's impressive! How did you balance being a wife and mother? Fortunately I'm a very high energy person. I am highly motivated and I really love education. But it wasn't always easy. My husband, son and daughter gave me enormous support. I got my doctorate when my kids were in elementary school and I was driving to Stillwater, writing dissertations and studying all the time. My husband was so good during that time. Honestly, I could not have done what I've done without them. You've always been really involved in the community as well. How so? I've served on several boards including the Edmond Chamber, Edmond Hospital, YMCA, the Fine Arts Institute and the Francis Tuttle Foundation. I've also volunteered with the Edmond Leadership Program and I'm helping launch the Edmond Sister Cities Association. You recently retired from Education. What's that been like? I've really enjoyed spending more time with my family and grandchildren. I miss those that I worked with and all the students, but I don't miss getting up at 5:30 a.m. five days a week. Future plans for Brenda Lyons? I have a part-time job now; I'm supervising student teachers for UCO. This is the perfect retirement job because I get to help students become teachers plus I get to visit schools as well as keep up with educational issues. I am also continuing to make desserts for 50 Meals on Wheels recipients once a month for my church, St. Lukes United Methodist. Since I love to cook, this gives me a wonderful outlet to try new recipes without gaining too much weight! What do you love most about living in Edmond? I love living in Edmond now for the same reasons I moved here 35 years ago. First and foremost, the public schools are outstanding. Students get a private school caliber education for free! Second, the small-town atmosphere and friendliness of the people is a huge plus for residents of Edmond. On the other hand, we're close enough to the city to have an outstanding variety of arts and athletic events.


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Profile for Outlook Magazine

Edmond Outlook OCTOBER 2011  

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Edmond Outlook is the only publication in Edmond, OK that is shipped FREE to 50,000 homes and businesses.

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