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ALL IN ONE PLACE: Edmond’s Newest, Largest And Most Advanced ER. Level II Special Care Nursery. Edmond’s Only Dual Plane Cath Lab.

In a perfect world, no one would ever have to face a life-threatening injury or health crisis. But when those times do arise – and every second counts – it’s good to know the most complete critical care available in the area is also the most convenient. INTEGRIS Health Edmond is the first to bring a life-saving dual plane heart catheterization lab to the area, so intervention is moments away instead of miles away. Our Level II Special Care Nursery provides not just peaceful sleep for your baby, but peace of mind for you – with our electronic infant security system and automatic screening for congenital heart defects. And it’s all right here at INTEGRIS Health Edmond – with the shortest ER wait times in town and a location that’s not only close, but the most convenient by far. With claims like that, it’s no wonder we can now also claim Edmond’s highest patient satisfaction rating.*

The Most Challenging Healing.™ integrisOK.com/edmond *Press Ganey, 2013


C O N C E R T – G O I N G


Outlook April 2015



I T ’ S







Outlook April 2015

April 2015

Okay Today

How is Sandy doing? When someone asks that question, I’m not really sure how to answer. How do you condense her diagnosis of cancer and months of subsequent treatments into a simple reply? I can’t really say she’s fine. Do I give them the latest? How up-to-date is this person? How much do they really want to know? Do they have an hour? Do I tell them she has a deadly disease that one out of three people will likely get in their lifetime? There’s a conversation ender. It’s not their fault it’s awkward. They care about her, but they don’t know what to do. I can tell them that some days she’s strong and some days she’s weak. I can tell them that we are tired of the doctor appointments, therapies, treatments and the endless hours of research. I can tell them it has brought us closer. I can tell them that we’re tired of going to bed thinking about cancer and then waking up thinking about cancer. If they want to know more, I could tell them we miss going out to dinner. We miss the freedom we had. We miss the blissful ignorance of our life before diagnosis. We miss the perceived distance of our inevitable worldly end. Then some ask, “How are you doing, Dave?” I can tell them I’m generally sad. And that for short periods of time I can actually not think about cancer. I can tell them I’m tired of spontaneously tearing up at Whole Foods, or at the office or while I’m driving. Or right now. I could tell them I just want my wife back. And my life back.

24 Planting the Seeds

Master Gardener Pam Patty inspires community growth through healthy eating

8 Facts & Figures 10 Louise

The Other Louise

13 Food

Gadgets are Kitchen Genius

16 Business

Nelson Lawn Care & Landscaping Hill & Company Chapel Hill United Methodist Church

28 Seasonal


But I pretty much say “I’m doing okay today.”

38 My Outlook Cherie Gorden, Licorice Lady

Dave Miller, Publisher/Back40 Design President


20 Breathing New Life

30 Care of the Wild

32 Handy Men

34 The Business of

Young woman celebrates life after receiving a double lung transplant from an organ donation service

Local organization helps save wild animals

Retired men’s group builds wheelchair ramps for senior citizens Team Building From guiding horses to packing diapers, metro businesses strengthen communication through team building

Front cover photo by Marshall Hawkins To advertise, contact Laura at 405-301-3926 or laura@outlookoklahoma.com.


80 East 5th Street, Suite 130, Edmond, OK 73034




Volume 11, Number 4 Edmond & North OKC Outlook is a publication of Back40 Design, Inc. © 2015 Back40 Design, Inc. PUBLISHER Dave Miller

ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER Laura Beam PHOTOGRAPHY Marshall Hawkins www.sundancephotographyokc.com


Account Executive Emily Hummel

Graphic Designer Ryan Kirkpatrick

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

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






l o



f a c

t s





Facts of Life Every


Each day, an average of 79 people receive organ transplants

someone who needs an organ is added to the national database

Deceased Donors

59% men

41% women

Each day, an average of 21 people die waiting

897 206 Current waiting list of Oklahoma candidates

Oklahomans who had transplants in 2013

Statistics provided by LifeShare Oklahoma and organdonor.gov. Learn how to become an organ donor at lifeshareoklahoma.org.


Outlook April 2015



Around Town

WildCare Foundation is hosting its annual Baby Shower April 25 from 2-5pm. This event is one of only two days the public can tour the facility and see feedings. See story on page 30 for details.

Living Donors

61% women


The Edmond Farmers Market is back! The Market opens Saturday, April 11 at the Festival Market Place, located at 26 W. First St. in downtown Edmond from 8am-1pm.


39% men


Support The Parkinson Foundation of Oklahoma at their 5th Annual “A Walk in the Park” 5k Run and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk Sunday, May 3 at Wheeler Park, OKC. Visit parkinsonoklahoma.com to register. Registration is now open for the “Coolest Camp Around” at Arctic Edge Ice Arena! Their Summer Day Camp for children ages 7+ will be held May 26-August 14 from 7:30am-5:30pm. To register, call 748-5454.




The Other Louise by Louise Tucker Jones

Today, I glanced at the caller ID on my phone to see if I had missed a call and was stunned to see, “Louise Jones.” You would think my first thought would be—“When did I call myself?” But no, that didn’t happen. My mind did a sudden flashback to my husband’s aunt who also held that name. For a split second, I thought I missed a call from her, even though I knew she was in heaven. The mind does strange things sometimes. I smiled, wishing it really were the “other” Louise. I met Carl’s aunt when he and I were dating. In fact, he was living with his aunt and uncle in Tulsa during that time. Since I was “Lou” to Carl and she was “Aunt Louise,” there was never a problem with our names. It was after we were married and going to family reunions that his aunt and I started answering for each other when someone called “Louise” from across the room. But we actually had some fun with our names. Once we sold Tupperware together in the same unit. But the time I remember best was when Louise came to spend a couple of weeks with me when I was in the midst of clinical depression. She cooked, cleaned and took care of my son, Jay, who was young at the time. Then she would curl up beside me and share funny stories until I would finally giggle. A lifesaver to one whose joy is depleted. I will be forever grateful for the time she spent with us—loving and attending to all of our needs. Depression is a devastating disease that can hit anybody at any age or stage of life.


Outlook April 2015

But there was a funny incident that happened while Louise was with us. As you might suspect, I was seeing a therapist to help me through this illness. One day, while I was away, one of the therapists with whom I had interviewed but did not choose, called my home. She immediately asked to speak to Louise Jones. Without thinking, my aunt replied, “This is Louise.” The therapist wanted to know why she—Louise—did not return for a second appointment. That’s when my aunt realized her mistake and tried to correct it. “Oh, this is not the Louise Jones you want to talk to,” she told the therapist. “This is a different Louise Jones. The one you want to speak to isn’t here right now, but she will be back . . .” Louise was laughing so hard she could hardly tell the story. She said the therapist actually hung up on her. And no, she never called again. We decided that multiple personalities were beyond her expertise. So now you see why I smile when thinking of the “other” Louise. It was to her house that I sent my sweet love letters to Carl when I was attending college in Tahlequah and he was working in Tulsa. It was at her house where I picked up my soldier-husband when he came home on an emergency leave. It was Louise who became like a second mom to Carl when his own mother died at just 44 years of age. It was Louise who offered to help me put away baby clothes and toys after my sweet son, Travis, died. She was my husband’s aunt, but she became mine through the years. I sometimes think God sends special people into our lives just to bless us. Louise blessed me tremendously with love and laughter. I hope you have someone special in your life who blesses you.

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




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Outlook April 2015


Gadgets are Kitchen Genius by Laura Beam

Early in domestic life, we learn that most home implements have multi-functional uses—especially when we need to tighten a screw on the mini-blinds and it’s too cold to go to the garage for a real tool. A simple butter knife can double quite nicely as a screwdriver...or as a price tag scraper, pop-top can opener, ice crusher or meat tenderizer. Necessity truly brings out the genius in us all. But today, genius is more readily found in the aisles of our favorite kitchen accessories store. The right gadget for the job changes everything. Who knew there were a dozen ways to poach an egg without actually having to poach an egg? That microwave bacon could be crispier? That veggies could be sliced faster? Or that a Rapid Ramen Cooker could shave a critical three minutes off prep time with a handy microwave cooking device? I’ll never again break up a cup of pecans with my bare hands or

mindlessly hold a hand mixer while waiting for egg whites to form stiff peaks. Didn’t Martha Stewart teach us better than that? Second only to the garage, the kitchen is the motherland of gadget wizardry. Salad spinners, jalapeño corers, nut choppers, eggslicers, juicers, pie crust protectors...there is no task too small or large that a crafty tool can’t transform it into a brilliant culinary moment. My mere pastry cutter and pizza wheel will never have the same thrill. The growing desire for healthier, quicker, more versatile meals with custom touches has ignited a world of kitchen innovation. As noted by the manager at an Edmond home accessories store, today’s most popular gadgets are ones that make tasks easier. People get tired of eating the same thing and want to try new foods but need help recreating the dishes they see in recipes and on cooking shows. continued on next page

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Gadgets are Kitchen Genius, cont.

He says that most people feel they are mediocre cooks. (What a relief!) Gadgets give us all the chance to even the playing field. According to the home accessories store manager, one of the biggest crazes right now is making pasta-like noodles from veggies. Not only a healthier alternative to pasta, the veggie noodles are a colorful flourish, ready to be topped with sauces or laden onto favorite dishes. Available in simple or elaborate versions, the spiraling mechanism makes quick work of veggie spaghetti noodles, stir-fry, garnishes and salads. Another top kitchen item that has gained recent acclaim is the egg ring. Though many of us have harbored this hidden gem in our utensil drawer for years, it’s now wildly chic to custom cook an egg in a perfect, English muffinsized circle. Easier preparation and


Outlook April 2015

better presentation—who can argue with that logic? The mandoline is another favorite in the kitchen lineup. This crafty gadget can coarsely slice your favorite veggies such as potatoes and carrots to geometric perfection. Or, keep a microplane handy to thinly grate everything from hard cheeses and chocolate to citrus fruits and garlic. According to the staff at another local kitchen specialty shop, innovative materials are steering the popularity of kitchenware. Store shelves brim with all things silicone. Lids, mitts, ice trays, splatter shields, folding trivets—you name it, silicone has likely improved it. Resistant to chemical attack and insensitive to temperature changes, silicone allows you to cook the food, not the pan. It’s flexible and collapsible so it’s easy to handle, clean and store, too. Ceramic-coated pans are also gaining steam among home cooks. Recent concerns over the safety of non-stick coatings like Teflon have given rise to new ceramic technology. Not only does the ceramic appear to be safer, but it cooks well and cleans easily. One caution to cooks is to be sure to use soft utensils of wood, plastic or, you guessed it—silicone, so you don’t damage the cooking surface. Sounds like a good reason to go shopping for some new gadgets!

Laura Beam is a business and food writer and 20-year advertising and marketing executive in radio, newspaper and magazines. Share new business tips and trends with her on LinkedIn or email Laura@outlookoklahoma.com.

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Nelson Lawn Care & Landscaping by Jason Oden Andy Nelson and the Team at Nelson Lawn Care & Landscaping

Nelson Lawn Care & Landscaping got its start the old fashioned way—with a young man offering to mow yards in a local neighborhood to make some money. Andy Nelson realized lawn care was the perfect fit for him. His one-man operation quickly evolved into hiring fellow classmates who would help him mow lawns before school, during lunch and after school. “I started pushing a lawn mower when I was 12 years old,” said Nelson. “I would push my mower, weed eater and leaf blower about a mile and a half, over the I-35 bridge to the Spring Hill neighborhood in Edmond.” Nelson now employs around 30 people and specializes in landscaping and retaining walls, and ultimately, making a lawn look the best it can. Beyond that, he enjoys being able to make the city of Edmond more visually appealing— one project at a time. Growing beyond simply mowing yards,


Outlook April 2015

Nelson Lawn Care specializes in many landscaping services. Nelson leads the way with 3D landscape designs and installations, allowing clients to see what a finished project will look like. He also features an industry leading $45 service call for sprinkler repair. Beyond that, Nelson Lawn Care offers existing landscape remodels, weed control plans, lighting installation, drainage, fertilization and more. Recently, the company has been focused on retaining walls. Nelson said that many of the retaining walls built in the 1990s need work because they were made of timber or railroad ties. His team takes the time to make sure the job is done right, providing a structurally sound and beautiful wall that will last for years to come. “Last year, we did about 150 retaining walls, all in Edmond. Edmond’s got a lot of hills and undulation,” said Nelson. “We specialize in that. We even have engineers who work with us

if a wall is a certain height and requires special planning.” Nelson Lawn Care’s work can be seen all around the Edmond area. Currently, the company is working on projects for Belmont Farms, the Coffee Creek Neighborhood and McCaleb Homes. The partnership with McCaleb Homes led Nelson to be able to give back to the community. A home is being raffled by McCaleb Homes for the Hope Center of Edmond. Nelson Lawn donated time and materials to the landscaping and installation of a sprinkler system for the home; much the same way the landscaping company provides services for the other homes McCaleb sells. Being a lifelong Edmond resident, Nelson plans to make Edmond beautiful for a long time to come. For more information, call Andy Nelson at 202-4120.

Hill & Company by Austin Marshall Jon Hill, Co-Owner of Hill & Company

Oklahoma’s unpredictable weather guarantees two things every year: sweltering heat and bone-chilling cold. As the state’s unpredictable spring season arrives, it’s critical to make sure that your home or business is equipped with a reliable heating and air conditioning unit. The professionals at Hill & Company will ensure that your HVAC unit is ready to handle Oklahoma’s erratic weather. Hill & Company started as a plumbing and HVAC construction company founded by Don Hill in 1967. In 1982, Don’s son Mark launched Hill & Company Services to service residential HVAC customers. Mark’s son Jon Hill is following the footsteps of his father and grandfather and is the current general manager and co-owner at Hill & Company Services, Inc. “We service, repair and replace residential and commercial HVAC equipment,” says Jon. Embracing that experience, Jon has several

tips to keep a unit running as efficiently as possible. He recommends that homeowners keep their HVAC units as clean as possible to avoid unnecessary maintenance. “Dirt will reduce the life and efficiency of the system. Homeowners can change their filters regularly and clean the coil of their outdoor unit to combat dirt,” Jon advises. While homeowners can do routine maintenance themselves, Jon advises to call a professional for more thorough projects. “It’s an important thing to have a professional clean your system but that can be an easy thing to forget. We make it as hassle-free as possible with our Smart Service™ maintenance plan by providing pre-scheduled maintenance to our customers to make sure that it gets done on a yearly basis.” Hill & Company goes to great lengths to ensure that their team is the best in the industry. “Our employees receive regular factory training

to keep their skills fine-tuned and stay up to date of new technology,” Jon explains. He points to the firm’s excellent customer service standards to explain the company’s decades-long success. “You can’t stay in business in this industry for 48 years without customer service being the number one priority. Repeat customers and referrals are how we built our business and that is where we continue to focus for our growth.” Following that philosophy, Jon recognizes that well-trained, highly qualified employees are the key to the company’s development. “The only way to continue our growth trend is by employing outstanding people who care about our customers. Our company is big enough that customers know we will be here in the future to stand behind our work but we are still completely accessible and customer focused.” For more information, visit TopAHill.com or call 949-5555.




Chapel Hill United Methodist Church by Amy Dee Stephens Dr. Randi Von Ellefson and members of Chapel Hill Choir

“It’s been said that nobody walks out of church service humming the sermon,” said minister, Kristopher Tate. Although he knows he has preached important and powerful sermons—he acknowledges that his church, Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, has a special gift for reaching people through music. Chapel Hill offers a choice of both contemporary and traditional music services. As associate minister of sanctuary worship, Tate oversees the traditional service. According to Tate, the meaning of the phrases “contemporary” and “traditional” varies greatly. For Chapel Hill, the difference is that the contemporary worship is casual, with electric guitars playing praise music and staff wearing jeans. The traditional service includes an established order of creeds and hymns sung by robed choir members to the accompaniment of a piano and organ. Tate describes the traditional service


Outlook April 2015

atmosphere as church pews, a pulpit, stained glass windows and a hymnal which includes songs written by John Wesley in the 1700s. What might be surprising is that surveys indicate people in their 20s and 30s have a greater preference for traditional worship than their parents did. Tate’s research attributes it to the societal pendulum swing in which children don’t typically like what their parents like—and it was the late generation of baby boomers who began contemporary worship. In addition, Chapel Hill offers an outstanding quality of music, which Tate credits to a professional organist, Ellen Jackson, and choir director, Dr. Randi Von Ellefson. “Our choir is fantastic! We have 40 singers which includes music scholars. Dr. Ellefson is the choral director for Oklahoma City University and Canterbury Choral Society. He is exceedingly accomplished, and we are

very fortunate to have him oversee our vocal ministry. When I started here, I was told to stay on Ellen and Randi’s good side,” Tate said with a laugh. “They don’t have a bad side, but that’s how much the congregation values their musical contributions.” Tate, Ellefson, and Jackson work together to create meaningful sermon and song services. As a result, they receive positive feedback every week. “The music ministry has a special way of evoking emotions. They set the stage for what I’ve prepared to preach,” Tate said. “We give our best every week to provide a worship service that is authentic and relevant.” For more information, visit mychapelhill.org, or visit one of their Sunday services starting at 8:30am and 11am at 2717 W. Hefner Rd in OKC.



by Amy Dee Stephens

Kaelyn Thompson doesn’t know the name of the man who saved her life when she was gasping for air. His act of heroism was profound, but simple—a heart icon on his driver’s license. Now, his lungs breathe for her, a constant reminder that she could have died at the age of 22, but instead, an organ donor gave her a second chance. Her lung failure in 2013 was unexpected. Thompson was having a double surgery for her gall bladder and kidney stones—but she struggled to wake up afterward. In that moment, she was suddenly in critical need of a double lung transplant. She was rushed to the specialists at Duke Hospital in North Carolina. After a series of tests that took about three weeks, Thompson was given a Lung Allocation Score of 91. Most people in need of a lung transplant score between 30 and 50. “My score came out so high that I got a transplant within a day and a half—which was very unlikely and super lucky,” Thompson said. Finding a match is complicated, but an even more pressing problem is the lack of organs available. Currently, there are 125,000 people on the US organ waiting list, and 800 of them are Oklahomans. Sadly, one out of five will die waiting. “Each one of us is going to die, and upon our death, we can provide organs that save the lives of up to eight people,” said Jeff Orlowski, president and CEO of Life Share, the non-profit organization that manages organ donations in Oklahoma. “In addition, eye and tissue donation can impact the quality of life of another 50 people.” Thompson was one of the fortunate ones. Her donor was registered, and he matched her needs. She doesn’t know his name due to privacy restrictions, but she will always be thankful for the new life he afforded to her. “My body was going downhill, but I fought hard while I waited,” Thompson said. “I had a tracheotomy to help me breathe, a filter for blood oxygenation, a ventilator and an IV pole with 27 IVs running at one time. That’s crazy to think about! I had to walk every day, so I had to load up all those machines.” After her transplant, she spent six weeks in intensive care, followed by more months of rehabilitation and surgeries. She dropped down to 73 pounds. For ten months, her body rejected the new lungs, requiring more treatments, including a form of chemotherapy that made her very sick. “It was so traumatic for everyone. My family was in complete shock,” Thompson said. “My parents both left work and moved to a new state to help me survive. They didn’t leave my side…” Thompson started to sob, “…they slept in uncomfortable chairs every day for months. My 16-year-old brother was left with family in Oklahoma. People I didn’t even know were praying for me and sharing my story

through social media. Some days I was too tired to do anything, but I knew the only way to get back home was to move forward.” Thompson found comfort through a support group made up of other transplant patients. She made lasting friendships with some other girls her age and the older patients became like second grandparents to her. “It’s very motivating to have friends in the same situation. I talk to them every day. We’re normal in our own world, but it’s not a normal life.” Now, 19 months since her transplant, Thompson is doing well and working a part-time job. But life is different. She’s easily fatigued, she can’t eat favorite foods that conflict with her medication, and every moment is precious. “My body could go into rejection at any time,” Thompson said. “I live life day-to-day, because I’m not guaranteed tomorrow.” It was while participating in the Transplant Games of America, an Olympic-style event, that she met a six-year-old who had undergone a transplant at the age of two. “She probably doesn’t remember the trauma, but someone saved her young life. And someone saved mine. And someone has saved an older person’s. Now, those donors are living through other people.” “It’s inevitable that everyone is going to die, and a lot of people die every day who could be donors. It’s a lasting gift that comes at no cost or detriment to one’s self,” Orlowski said. “Sometimes people say, ‘I’m too old or unhealthy to be a donor,’ but that’s not true. Nearly everyone has something to contribute. Even children can be donors if they share that wish with their parents.” “You can’t take your organs with you when you pass away, so you might as well give them to someone here on earth,” Thompson said. “I’ve made sure all my friends have the little red heart on their driver’s license now.” A common concern is that organ donors might receive less care after an accident in order that their organs can be used for a transplant, but Orlowski explains that both hospitals and Life Share are in the “life-saving, not the life-taking business.” In fact, hospitals have no access to the organ donor registry until after someone’s death is reported. Shortly after Thompson’s transplant, she wrote a thank you note to her donor’s family. “I’m sure they were still mourning and grieving their loss, but I had to thank them for giving me a second chance at life. The families don’t have to accept the letter or respond to it, but someday I hope I will hear from their family. I’d like to know who my donor was and what he was like. If he had a bucket list, I would love to fulfill his dream. I hope for that—because he gave me the gift of life.” Register as an organ donor online at www.lifeshareoklahoma.org or make the organ donor selection upon renewal of your driver’s license.

People I didn’t even know were praying for me and sharing my story.


Outlook April 2015





Pl ant i n g

t he Seed s Master Gardener Pam Patty inspires community growth through healthy eating by Heide Brandes


Pam Patty’s office at Integris Health Southwest Medical Center, plastic food takes up the majority of space. Little rubber grapes and shiny plastic apple slices compete with plates of fake pie and candy for room on her shelves. Piles of baked beans are sitting on top of the pretend-meat. Fake food is everywhere. As a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Integris, Patty is an expert on food—healthy food, unhealthy food, organic food and processed food. She helps students and adults learn about healthy eating, but she has a new passion now. Patty wants her clients, especially those in economicallydisadvantaged homes, to learn how to grow their own food. “In my role in Integris’ Community Wellness Department, I go into the community and see what the needs are and find solutions,” said Patty. “When I saw what we call ‘food deserts’—where there is a lack of access to good, healthy food—I thought, ‘What if I teach people how to grow their own food?’” To help meet that need, and to bolster her own knowledge of the art of gardening, Patty became an Oklahoma Master Gardener, a title given through the Oklahoma State University extension program. The Oklahoma Master Gardener Program provides horticultural information to the citizens of Oklahoma through the volunteer efforts of the Master Gardeners. To become a Master Gardener, Patty attended a 12-week, eight-hour-a-day program of intense training to help answer questions related to gardening and the environment.


Outlook April 2015

Now, she’s taking that green thumb out to schools and the community to help grow the next generation’s passion for “real food.” Growi n g K n owled ge

In her role as a community dietitian with Integris Health, Patty aspires to see every family in Oklahoma eat as healthy as possible. She found that the quickest way to share her Master Gardener knowledge was to share it with children first. In 1999, Integris Health partnered with the Stanley Hupfeld Academy, a school that was performing so badly that it was in danger of being closed. Today, that school is considered a “blue ribbon” school, and every student is paired individually with a mentor. As one of the mentors, Patty teaches the students about food. “The first program I did was a fourth grade baking class,” she said. “I took the recipes I learned 30 or 40 years ago in my home economics class and taught them to make the same things, like healthy pancakes, muffins, yeast rolls and healthy pizza.” No matter what age, food is the center of wellness, Patty believes. Give a community the tools to understand how to grow, cook and choose food, and that community has ownership of its health. That’s when Patty knew that learning continued on page 26

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Planting the Seeds, cont.

more about gardening could only further that goal. At Stanley Hupfeld, students are learning that lesson and taking it home. Each grade has a plot in the school garden to grow specific crops like watermelon, okra, peppers or tomatoes. The students learn how to cook the fresh vegetables, and in turn, they take that knowledge home to their parents. “The goal isn’t to make your garden for you, but show you how to grow,” said Patty. Neighborhood and community gardens provide fresh produce and plants with the intent of improvement and community building. These gardens can range from small plots of vegetables to large beautification projects. The community gardens provide not only food, but also income to impoverished areas. “For instance, in one area I know of, the crime rate was among the worst in the city. Neighbors stayed indoors,” Patty said. “A community garden was started, and within months, you saw a sense of solidarity. Neighbors came out, met each other and the crime rate dropped incredibly.” GETTI N G H er H AN D S D IRTY

As a Master Gardener, Patty helps to answer questions about gardening from all over the state. She explains the nearly-perfect magic of soil and helps others understand how to work with the soil instead of against it. The goal is to “work with nature” in a beneficial way. “We need to educate people about the balance of nature,” she said. “Show them that not all weeds are bad, that certain insects are helpful and that garden snakes are actually okay.” “I see myself scouting the needs of the community to see what is working and what isn’t when it comes to health,” Patty said. “We can all promote growing food. The truly overwhelming fact is that we are a nation of chronic sickness, and this will be the first generation that will not outlive their parents. Food is at the center of wellness. Let’s teach people to grow their own food.” For more information on the Oklahoma Master Gardener program, visit okcmg.org.

Primrose School of Edmond

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Outlook April 2015



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by Morgan Day

Being around those baby animals makes the job special, but for WildCare Foundation executive director Rondi Large, release coordinator Laura Kintz and veterinarian Amy Tyler, the job of rehabilitating and releasing animals to the wild means so much more. “When I get to be part of a release and capture on film that moment when an animal is reintroduced back to nature where it belongs—it doesn’t get any better than that for me,” said Kintz, who is also WildCare’s nursery team leader and resident photographer. The three, along with other WildCare Foundation staff members, volunteers and interns, treat a wide variety of wildlife from around central Oklahoma. Executive Director Large started the rehabilitation center on her front porch in 1984 and has watched her dream grow every year as the foundation treats and releases more animals. Since its opening, the foundation has taken in more than 65,000 animals. More than 3,000 people brought animals to WildCare Foundation in 2014. In terms of patients, that’s 5,431 injured or sick skunks, reptiles, songbirds, squirrels and foxes—just to name a few of the critters treated here. This spring it will open its new 5,200-square-foot Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center, equipped with cameras inside and outside the facility for the public to view patients without disturbing them. The building will greatly increase the foundation’s nursery space and house an intake office, clinic and education room. Currently, WildCare Foundation is preparing for its annual Baby Shower. Held from 2pm to 5pm on April 25, the event is one of only two days the public can tour the grounds. The public can bring donations, see feedings and peer through microscopes. “The people who want to support us should know what this place looks like, what we actually do here and see the facility,” Kintz said. “I think it makes people more comfortable to donate and to bring us an animal when they know where they’re bringing it.” The all-day event highlights the work that WildCare Foundation


Outlook April 2015

Photos Provided By WildCare Foundation

does. With 1,300 people in attendance, the organization is able to educate the public about the animals and how they’re cared for. When it comes to education, the women offer knowledge for the public to keep in mind if they come upon a baby or injured wild animal. The number one piece of advice? Instead of bringing in a baby animal once you find it, call the foundation right away. Nearly 80 percent of the baby animals brought in are “kidnapped” from their homes when the mothers were either nearby or planned to return. Over the phone, animal experts can deduce whether the baby has been fed recently. You could snap a photo of the animal, send it to the WildCare worker and he or she might be able to see a belly full of milk on a baby squirrel, for instance. Because babies are typically fed every four to five hours, that could be a telltale sign that the mother hasn’t been away from the baby for too long. If the animal should be brought in, do it right away. Kintz says some people can’t make it to the foundation immediately and suggest other solutions to help the animals get through the interim days. “That gap of time allows people to make some interesting decisions,” Kintz said. The best advice can be summed up in three words: warm, dark and quiet. Keeping the animal in a warm, dark and quiet place will not only keep it safe while also reducing stress. The Oklahoma City Animal Shelter also serves as a drop-off for residents around Edmond, Oklahoma City and Guthrie. Having seen sick and injured animals day Executive Director, in and day out for 30 years, Large says it’s those Rondi Large special moments when things slow down and you see a baby animal first open its eyes or wag its tail that make the job worthwhile. Not only that, she’s surrounded by a devoted staff that is eager to learn and grow along with her. “The first time you put a baby squirrel in a volunteer’s hands, or you give an intern the responsibility to feed a baby owl and learn his behaviors, and watch this generation start to get the enthusiasm that I had as a young girl, that’s really awesome,” she said. “To me, that’s almost as neat as working with the animals.” To learn more, visit their Facebook page at “WildCareOklahoma.” If you have questions about a found or injured animal, call 872-9338

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by Morgan Day

Every Thursday morning, a group of men—retired pilots, school teachers, construction workers and firefighters—meet up to accomplish one very important job. The group of 12 volunteers builds a wheelchair ramp for a homeowner who might not have been able to leave his or her home without it. The group of men, ages ranging from late 50s through 80s, has volunteered one morning a week for 14 years and has traveled around central Oklahoma, building ramps and changing one life at a time. All the men have stories that have stayed with them. For John Soos, 69, of Chickasha, he’ll never forget an Oklahoma City woman who had no way to safely leave her home until a wheelchair ramp was constructed. “We were coming out with a ramp and a lady came out and said, ‘You all don’t know, you’re giving me my freedom,’” he said.


Outlook April 2015

Rebuilding Together OKC The team works in coordination with Rebuilding Together OKC, a non-profit that makes home improvements, free of charge, for elderly, low-income homeowners. The group’s numbers fluctuate from project to project, but roughly a dozen men donate their time and skills every week. Given the moniker “The A-Team” by Rebuilding Together OKC’s program manager, Tim Reardon, the group operates like clockwork. Each of the team members has a specific task and can knock out a project in a few hours. With that kind of efficiency, it’s easy to see how they’ve assembled 40-45 ramps a year. “We’ve done so many of them, we’ve just got it down,” said Henry Pederson, 78, of Oklahoma City. Pederson serves as the team

organizer, notifying members of each week’s project location and details. Pederson stood by, surveying his team members’ work at a recent ramp-building. Analyzing the progress, he said, “We’ll make short order of this. Probably about two and a half hours and this will be done—and that includes pouring the concrete.” It was nearing 8:30am and the group had been working for just 30 minutes. With the number of elderly homeowners rising, and with the need for home improvements ever-growing, the ramp team is a huge asset to the non-profit organization, said Jennifer Thurman, Rebuilding Together OKC executive director.

Buildings, hadn’t known when he built his first ramp for Rebuilding Together OKC that he would soon be joined by men from across Oklahoma City who wanted to donate their time and skills. “Before we got that first one finished, they had another one for us to do, so we just have been building them ever since,” Cooper said. Through those years, not only have more volunteers jumped on board, but more corporations have supported the ramp team with donations of a trailer, tools and supplies. All lumber comes from Forest

Everybody has a story Rebuilding Together OKC as well as the A-Team have seen homeowners forgo home insurance and push home repairs to the back burner because other matters like food and medicine are more important. “They did what they could,” Pederson said. “They did what they had to do.” Soos first learned of the ramp team through Pederson, who had called him for help with a ramp. And from there, it wasn’t difficult to enlist him in the A-Team. “I went to one to see what they were doing, and I was hooked,” said Soos, a retired deputy chief from the Oklahoma City Fire Department. Soos takes construction and plumbing jobs on his days off and enjoys employing those skills by building ramps each week, while also giving to those in need. “It’s just a blessing to be able to help people,” he said. Soos appreciates his team members’ efficiency when it comes to knowing their roles for the day and getting the job done. It’s a work ethic he’s grown accustomed to with his fire crew. “When you go to a fire scene, you don’t have someone saying ‘Henry, do this’ and ‘John, do that,’” he said. “Everybody knows what has to be done and they do it.”

The A-Team assembles between 40-55 wheelchair ramps a year

Forming the A-Team The team’s eldest member and founder, Dan Cooper, 80, has seen the group grow in its 14 years. Cooper, who co-owned Cooper Medical

Building Materials, which precuts and treats all the treads, and the men use tools donated by Lowe’s, Home Depot and Bosch. The men continue to rewrite a chapter of one person’s story each week, and it’s that thought of affecting one life at a time that keeps them coming back each Thursday morning. “It’s quite rewarding—just to do a little bit of good,” Pederson said. “And I tell you, it’s amazing the people we do these ramps for, how appreciative they are for the ability to get out of their homes.” Visit rebuildingtogetherokc.org to learn more about the A-Team and Rebuilding Together OKC.



The Business of

Team Building It comes in many shapes and forms, but no two types of team building are the same. These three local organizations have found interesting ways to practice the art of team building.

Reason to Believe Equine Therapy Center

Back40 Design and Outlook Magazine leader Dave Miller didn’t let lack of equine skills stop him from enlisting his crew in an afternoon of team building activities with the horses at Reason to Believe Equine Therapy Center. The retired thoroughbreds typically serve as therapy animals, helping troubled children and adults rebuild confidence and trust. But lately they’ve taken up an additional job—helping co-workers like those at Back40 find unity through team building. He recalled one successful exercise in which the group split into two teams, with one taking a horse that’s an expert jumper and the other taking a less-skilled jumper. One by one, the team members led the horses over a small obstacle as they also balanced an egg on a spoon. Having been told ahead of time by Prim Cockrell, Reason to Believe director, that horses are especially in tune with human emotions, the team members were mindful of their emotions and actions with the animals. “We switched horses to see how the different horses reacted to our confidence levels, our direction and our technique,” Miller said. “It was interesting. They related it to working with different types of people. Different people need different kinds of training or treatment.” For Miller, team building doesn’t need to have a rigid itinerary or come with a hefty price tag. Sometimes it just needs to get people into a different setting, to get them talking to each other. The group strives to participate in one outing each month. They’ve also made trips to H&H Shooting Sports, set up a projector for a movie day at the office and grabbed ice cream to enjoy at nearby Stephenson Park.

Infant Crisis Services, Inc.

Infant Crisis’ staff as well as the non-profit’s teen, young professional and governing boards are all familiar with team building, whether it’s in the form of a retreat or icebreakers that kick off meetings. “We weave it into our meetings and it usually produces what

by Morgan Day

we want, which is that cohesiveness and camaraderie—just getting to know each other better,” said Miki Farris, Infant Crisis executive director and co-founder. Phi Nguyen, a member of the Infant Crisis young professionals’ board, said the diaper pack-off event is one of her favorite team building activities because the board members are challenged with working quickly, assembly-line style, and they do this in the company of friends and community members who are invited to participate. During a recent pack-off, Infant Crisis board members and guests packed more than 23,000 diapers that would allow them to serve more than 500 babies. The diaperpacking event teaches participants that communication is key if they want their five-person team to pack a pallet and a half of diapers in two hours. In addition to the team building events, Infant Crisis staff and board members use icebreakers to learn about one another. “We have icebreakers for a reason, and that’s for us to more easily identify what we have in common with each other,” Nguyen said. “In today’s world and the way we communicate, information is so readily available, and that makes us lazy as far as sharing it with other people.” Farris agreed, saying the activities allow people to let their guard down and build camaraderie through communication. “We all like to stick to our own little clumps, and these force you out of that to get to know other people from other schools and other groups,” she said. continued on page 36


Outlook April 2015

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Team Building, Cont’d.

Strata Leadership

Danielle Mezo, a reservoir engineer with SandRidge Energy, recently spent a day at the Oklahoma River Boathouse rowing and learning firsthand how the river sport builds effective teams. Strata Leadership—which offers training, executive coaching, leadership retreats, and management consulting—led the event. Mezo and her coworkers spent the first portion of the day learning from Strata members about effective teams then practiced rowing on the indoor machines before putting their skills to the test in the practice tank. “My biggest takeaway is how successful teamwork requires awareness of yourself as well as your teammates,” Mezo said. “In rowing, you have to have good technique, but you also have to be in sync with the team to be successful. Likewise, with my co-workers, everyone has an important role to play in the team. You have to give your best effort and foster the best in each of your teammates.”


Outlook April 2015

What effective teamwork comes down to, says Dr. Jason Jones, vice president of leadership development at Strata, is character. “Having a really good understanding of each individual’s character lays the foundation for being a good team member,” said Jones. Jones said Strata’s 100-minute workshops as well as half- and full-day trainings go beyond just games. Strata sets up teams to start showing success as soon as they get back to the job. “Games offer good insight and application, but how do you take the next step for people to implement it and make changes in their teams?” he said. “And I think that’s really the acid test. If I’m going to have someone come in and work with my team, I’m going to want to know what’s going to be different tomorrow about this team and will I be able to see that difference three months down the road? Six months down the road? A year down the road?” Strata Leadership, A Reason to Believe Ranch and Infant Crisis Services, Inc. are just a few businesses and organizations around central Oklahoma that see value in team building to identify character, create a common ground and improve employee communication. Learn more about the organizations at reasontobelieveranch.org, strataleadership.com and infantcrisis.org.

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by Bethany Marshall

Cherie Gorden, Licorice Lady What is the licorice festival? We have licorice from all over the world. There is no charge to come and have a taste—we sell all the varieties that are sampled. We also serve complimentary licorice coffee, licorice tea, aniseed cookies, homemade licorice and licorice ice cream. How did the licorice festival get started? We always carried a few types of licorice from the beginning, then one day I read a quirky calendar that named April 12 as National Licorice Day. I mentioned this to my husband Ric and he thought it would be fun to do something special to celebrate the day. So, in honor of National Licorice Day, we declared a festival! How long have you been holding the festival? This will be our ninth year and this year it will take place April 8-12. Tell us about the typical licorice enthusiast... People love the event and we have well over 1000 people each year coming from as far away as central Texas and Kansas. The comment we get most often is a huge “thank you for doing this so we can get the licorice we love.” Licorice lovers are a breed unto themselves and are always on a quest to find the best.  What are your favorite moments from past festivals? The best memories are the looks on the faces of the people who are here for the first time and see all the licorice and are free to taste whatever they wish. One man comes every year for his birthday present from his wife. Where did your love of licorice originally come from? To be honest, my husband Ric is the true licorice fanatic. When we travel, the first thing we do is find a little candy store and try the licorice there.

Dust . . .

Does Ric have a favorite kind of licorice? I believe his favorite is Kookaburra from Australia, which is also our best selling kind. You stock quite a selection. How many flavors of licorice do you have? We have around 50 varieties during the event and everything is out and available for sampling. Our most popular licorices are the Kookaburra and Finnska from Finland. These are both sweet, soft chewing licorices with strong licorice taste. We carry a variety of salty licorice as well.  Has the festival ever converted anyone into a licorice lover? Many people think they do not like licorice but, once they taste the real thing, they often discover that they do. Problem is that most of the licorice in the stores is not flavorful and has a tough texture and this is all many people have tried. Although most companies make other flavors of “licorice,” real licorice is always black. We call the flavored kind “unlicorice” and we carry many of those as well for those who simply cannot take the licorice taste. Tell us about your shop, Aunt Gertrude’s House. Ric and I opened Aunt Gertrude’s House in 1997 in the beautiful DeSteiguer building downtown Historic Guthrie. It features a wide variety of gifts and accessories and a gallery, celebrating American craft and fine art including jewelry, glass, wood, paintings, pottery, collage and sculpture. A lot of these artists are Oklahomans. We are always delighted to have people come to visit and shop. We also carry Marich chocolates and we give samples of all our candy every day. Visit auntgertrudeshouse.com for more information on the festival and store.



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Outlook April 2015  

The Outlook is a monthly, full color, glossy magazine mailed free of charge to 50,000 homes in all eleven Edmond and north Oklahoma City zip...

Outlook April 2015  

The Outlook is a monthly, full color, glossy magazine mailed free of charge to 50,000 homes in all eleven Edmond and north Oklahoma City zip...

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