September 2022

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SEPTEMBER 2022

Our Community Rallies in Support

Hattie’s Tees

Undefeated Jim Riley

Cleats for Kids



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Our loss is your gain. Barely used dining table for sale. Sale forced by… well, let me tell you about it. Last year around this time, Alison started mentioning (let’s be clear - this is NOT nagging) that the holidays were coming up and she didn’t want to serve a special family dinner on folding tables (again). Understood. I took on the success of the holidays as my sole responsibility. With our family time in serious jeopardy, I mentally prepared myself for a trip south to the land of shopper stalkers and easy payment plans. Yes, the mega-furniture stores along Reno Ave. Clearly panicked, I found a table at the first store we visited. Alison looked at me sideways and asked repeatedly, “Are you sure?” Yes. Purchased it. Done. This would surely take the responsibility of the perfect holiday off my shoulders and place it where it should be - on preparing the perfect meal. Problem solved, except for one thing -- I didn’t like this table. In the weeks that led up to Thanksgiving, every time I laid eyes on that table, my disdain grew. Why did I buy that? I’d tell myself, “Because it seats ten and, dude, you saved the holidays!” Then I’d tell myself, “Maybe I’ll grow to like it.” I did not. Weeks later, as I enjoyed a wonderful holiday dinner at the peculiar table of my choosing, I knew that I could not continue living the lie. Post holidays, I confessed my indiscretion. As I expected, Alison said she never liked the table either. She was surprised that her furniture snob husband picked out the table and was very adamant about purchasing it - but reluctantly she went along with it. So, the marketplace ad will read: Dining table for sale. Seats ten. Codependency issues force sale. Dave Miller Publisher & Back40 Design President

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Features 8

Undefeated Jim Riley

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Bricktown Brewery

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Cleats for Kids

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Our Community Rallies in Support

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Finding Lichen

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Second Career Success

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Hattie’s Tees

Business 22

Martha Garzon, Pediatric Dentist

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Valley Hope Addiction Treatment & Recovery

Columns 7

In Other Words with Dave

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Louise Tucker Jones

Cover photography by Kathryn McNutt and The Journal Record ADVERTISING l 405-301-3926 l sales@edmondoutlook.com MAILED MONTHLY TO OVER 50,000 HOMES IN THE EDMOND AREA 1024 W Covell, Edmond, OK 73003 l 405-341-5599 l edmondoutlook.com l info@edmondoutlook.com SEPTEMBER 2022 Volume 18, Number 9

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Edmond Outlook is a publication of Back40 Design, Inc.

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© 2022 Back40 Design, Inc.

PUBLISHER Dave Miller l PRODUCTION MANAGER Alison Miller l ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Laura Beam l EDITOR Amber Plaksin l GRAPHIC DESIGN Anne Richardson PHOTOGRAPHY Marshall Hawkins sundancephotographyokc.com l DISTRIBUTION Edmond Outlook is delivered FREE by direct-mail to over 50,000 Edmond area 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.


LOCALLOOK

Undefeated Jim Riley By Maria Veres

Jim Riley knows what it’s like to overcome long odds. When he joined the Miami Dolphins as a defensive lineman, they were a raw, new team that had never scored a winning season. Four years later they catapulted all the way to the Super Bowl. But the statistic that means the most to Jim doesn’t have anything to do with football. He has logged thirtyseven years of sobriety. He’s grateful every day for his recovery and the opportunities he’s been given to help others. A Bittersweet Victory Jim became the first All-American player from Enid High School and was also an All-American at OU. In 1967 he achieved every young player’s dream of being drafted by the pros, spending four years with the Dolphins. Miami lost that first Super Bowl. But the next year they not only won it, they also became the only team ever to remain undefeated in both the regular season and postseason. Jim was sidelined before that season due to a knee injury and spent a month critically ill with phlebitis. He retired the following spring. He was still honored as a part of the “perfect season” team, but he wasn’t in a state to enjoy the celebrations. He had bigger battles to fight. Overcoming Addiction Like too many teens, Jim began drinking in high school. College and pro football brought more opportunities for substance abuse. “Addiction is a progressive disease,” he says. “If one doesn’t stop drinking or using, it will get worse. Mine did until I was completely out of control. I even got into drugs for a few years, but stopped those because I thought they were causing turmoil in my life. When I did, my drinking doubled.”

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Jim Riley

In 1985, his wife Robin arranged a family intervention. “What really got to me was my ten-year-old daughter Marcie telling me during the intervention, ‘Daddy, I don’t want you to die. I want you to live and stop drinking,’” says Jim. He checked into rehab. “I believe God delivered me from my addictions. I’ve never looked back,” he says. “It doesn’t happen that way for everyone, but I’ve never had any desire to go back to that lifestyle.” Bringing Hope to Others A key part of Jim’s recovery included helping other men. His football credentials opened doors for many speaking and mentoring opportunities. In 1986 he founded Jim Riley Outreach, a faith-based ministry serving people recovering from addiction. In 1989 the Riley’s son Blake was killed in a car accident. Even after this tragedy, Jim didn’t relapse. The family’s strong faith helped them through their grief, and both he and Robin continued helping people impacted by substance abuse. Today Jim still takes calls from men who reach out for help, and he attends AA to keep his recovery on track. His daughter Marcie took the reins of Jim Riley Outreach after Jim’s retirement. The organization has two homes in Texas, sheltering young adults who are homeless or have aged out of foster care. Jim Riley Outreach also included several OKC-area sober living homes administered by Joe Pellow, which are now called Pellow Homes and are still serving recovering addicts today. In October 2022, Jim will travel to Miami for a 50-year reunion with the undefeated 1972 team. They’ll attend a game, greet the crowds, and celebrate their success. Sadly, not all the teammates will be there. Several have passed away. Like Jim, some have struggled with addiction. “I’ve seen people and families absolutely destroyed, but I’ve seen even more men conquer addiction,” he says. “If I can be a part of helping someone else recover a meaningful life, that means more than anything.” To learn more about Jim Riley Outreach, visit jimrileyoutreach.org. Jim Riley (right)


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FOODLOOK

Charles Stout, Area Manager and Matt Gerstner, General Manager

Bricktown Brewery By Laura Beam Thirty years ago, Bricktown Brewery pioneered the craft beer movement in Oklahoma. Lobbying to make brewing and selling beer legal here, they proudly obtained the first federal license number for craft beer in the state of Oklahoma. Along with that monumental achievement came another – crafting a delicious menu of kicked-up comfort foods that surprise and delight. No obligatory pub food here. This menu is in a spotlight all its own with fresh, local ingredients, cheesy and meaty goodness, seafood, pizza, and distinctive flavor combos that leave you craving more. As Charles Stout, Area Director of Bricktown Brewery says, “We’ve always been a restaurant first, that features hand-crafted beers, a full bar, and craft cocktails.” Including their 2nd Street location in Edmond, Bricktown Brewery has six metro locations and restaurants in six states. This fun pub and family hot spot is ringing in its 30th year like a boss! All About Those Appetizers Don’t expect to find just one item on the menu that jumps out and calls your name. You’ll find many, and that’s no accident. “We have a group of very talented restaurant and culinary-minded people on our team,” Charles comments, “and they work together to identify the best local flavors that our guests want and crave.” Topping the list of favorite appetizers are the Chopped and Chipped Nachos with slow-cooked pork, BBQ, cheese, Cholula, and sour cream. They’re meant to be shared, of course, but you’ll want them all to yourself! And when your taste buds are restless for something that checks every box in the yummy category, the beer-battered Watonga Cheddar Curds always hit the spot. Comfort with a Kick If enjoying caramel as a meal condiment is wrong, I don’t wanna be right! Bricktown Brewery gets that, 10

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big time, completing their dishes with unique flourishes like salt and pepper honey, bread and butter pickle coleslaw, blueberry salsa, and tasty aiolis. Their perfectly crisp and billowy sweet potato fries dunked in spicy caramel sauce are the answer to every food mood you’ll ever have. Known for their burgers and Big Mike’s Meatloaf, which is wrapped with bacon, grilled, and glazed with chili sauce, Bricktown Brewery re-defines comfort food with distinct flavor and flair. Their pizzas are an unexpected treat, from the saucy pepperoni to the Yard Bird Pizza with roasted chicken, BBQ mustard sauce, sweet peppered bacon, mushrooms, and three cheeses. Cheers! Bricktown Brewery’s diverse drink selection is a huge attraction. “We produce four core beers that are available yearround and an average of five seasonal rotators throughout the year,” Charles explains. “The Old King Kolsch and Bluesberry Ale are our biggest fan favorites, which we have made available for retail distribution.” In addition, this community-oriented pub supports other local craft brewers, proudly serving their unique brews alongside Bricktown beers. Signature cocktails also offer crisp, refreshing, and robust sips for perfect pairings. “We are proud to be part of the Edmond community,” Charles remarks, “and always look forward to contributing to local schools and organizations. We love giving back to the community that has supported us for so many years and look forward to many more years to come.” Visit Bricktown Brewery at 1150 E. 2nd St. in Edmond, or bricktownbrewery.com. Love great food? Bricktown Brewery will reward you for that. Download their mobile app today!


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FEATURELOOK

Cleats for Kids Giving Kids a Running Start By Maria Veres Every parent understands how important it is for kids to stay active. But many Oklahoma children are forced onto the sidelines because their families can’t afford shoes and sports equipment. Cleats for Kids offers these kids a chance to get the physical activity they need. Getting Children Back in the Game Any team, organization, or family can request help from Cleats for Kids. There are no income requirements. “Our goal from the beginning was to remove barriers to access and make sports and being physically active available to all kids,” says Executive Director Stacy McDaniel. Recipients select equipment, sports apparel, and shoes from the Cleats for Kids Locker Room. It’s set up like a store, abundantly stocked with used and new gear for students of all ages and sizes, and there’s no cash register and no bill to pay. All items are donated by the community. Cleats for Kids enables children across the state to play organized sports, but they also meet more basic needs. The Ready to Run program supplies shoes to high school athletes and to elementary school students who need footwear for gym class and recess. Cleats for Kids also works with police departments to furnish shoes to kids who are removed from their homes. Kids Helping Kids Since its founding in 2011, Cleats for Kids has served almost 150,000 children and provided 200,000 sporting goods items. But it all started with one pile of used equipment in Mark and Stacy McDaniel’s garage. Hating to see outgrown items go to waste, the McDaniels began gifting them to athletes on their children’s sports teams. Their first collection drive was at a birthday party for their youngest child, Meghan, who asked guests to bring shoes. Their stash of donated sporting goods soon filled the garage, then outgrew the sheds at their new home. The donations 12

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now fill the Cleats for Kids’ 2400-square foot Locker Room. The McDaniel’s children, Cole, Josh, and Meghan, have been deeply involved from the beginning. Driven by the kids’ desire to participate, Cleats for Kids established Varsity and JV Youth Advisory Boards staffed by high school and middle school students across the metro area. “It’s much more than just logging volunteer hours,” says Stacy. “This is a year-round commitment that gives young people a chance to serve the community hands-on and experience the blessings of giving back.” The organization is headquartered in OKC but has deep connections with Edmond. Stacy is an Edmond Memorial graduate, and many adult and youth board members live in Edmond. Cleats for Kids was the recipient of the proceeds from the Liberty Sprint fun run at LibertyFest 2022. They have assisted students from all three Edmond high schools, all the middle schools, and most of the elementary schools. How to Get Involved Donors can drop off new or used sporting goods at collection bins across Edmond and the metro area. Monetary gifts are also welcome. “Many of the families who receive equipment also become donors themselves, because they understand the impact their donations have,” says Stacy. Volunteers are always needed to work in the Locker Room, organize collection drives, and more. “Staying active benefits kids in so many ways,” says Stacy. “It improves their academic performance and test scores, behavior, mental health, and social skills. Teachers and parents tell me every day what a difference it makes.” She encourages everyone to reach out and explore how they can help. “At Cleats for Kids we believe everyone has something to give,” she says. To learn more or schedule a Locker Room appointment, visit okc.cleatsforkids.org.


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Photo courtesy of Kathryn McNutt and The Journal Record

FEATURELOOK

Our Community Rallies in Support By Taylor Bollinger On one side of Edmond, a line formed behind Charley this, the Edmond community immediately traded them for Howard’s lemonade stand, and nearby, a queue of cars action, organizing acts of love, support, and donations from all waited to be washed by hand. On the other side of town, directions. hundreds of motorcyclists revved their engines for an Officer Nelson’s funeral created a visible representation of organized ride, and at Edmond’s CrossFit 822, nearly 100 the magnitude of his impact as surrounding law enforcement, athletes started their strenuous workout in honor of a fallen and even out-of-state agencies formed a multi-mile motorcade. friend. Each of these acts, though His motorcycle community also unique in nature, were done organized a ride in his honor. A servant has fallen, and our in a spirit of unison – heartfelt “Officer Nelson wasn’t a community is doing all it can support for Officer Nelson. member of our group,” said to support the Nelson family Edmond Police Department Will Krueger, a member of the Sergeant Christopher James “C.J.” motorcycle club 405 Riders. — Edmond Mayor Darrell Davis Nelson died in a multi-car crash “But as a fellow rider and a law in Oklahoma City on July 19. He was the first officer to lose his enforcement officer, we were compelled to show our support life in the line of duty in department history. for him and everyone who knew him.” As news of his death spread across the nation, the sense of The memorial ride grew from there, with over 550 loss is felt deepest by the family he left behind – his wife and participants raising around $5,000 for the Nelson family. two children, his brothers and sisters at the Edmond Police Officer Nelson’s CrossFit family was also eager to offer their Department, and the community he faithfully served. support for the man who embodied their catchphrase: “First In the face of such tragedy, words fall short. Recognizing to finish, first to cheer”. 16

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“C.J. brought a lot to our gym. He was always one of the first to finish, so he’d often finish workouts alongside other people,” said Jenae Judge, owner and head coach of CrossFit 822. “He was a big part of our family and he truly loved his community.” The gym has since taken steps to preserve Officer Nelson’s presence and personality within their community, hosting tribute workouts and installing an honorary plaque on the peg-board he built by hand. Not only did he build it, but he was the only person to ever successfully climb it. In his honor, it will remain that way forever. While nothing can make up for his loss, Emily Ward, Edmond Police Department public information specialist, shared the department’s perspective on their city’s support – that all support is meaningful, no matter how it manifests. “We see people doing whatever they can,” Ward said. “If they can’t donate, then they give their time. If they can’t volunteer, they donate. Whether they knew Officer Nelson or not, people want to honor him and it’s incredibly encouraging.” “A servant has fallen, and our community is doing all it can to support the Nelson family,” said Edmond Mayor Darrell Davis. “There have been a variety of events hosted from motorcycle and jeep caravans to car washes. This year, the 4th annual Edmond Police and Edmond Fire Powerlifting event will give their raffle proceeds to the Nelson family and St. Luke’s Church has set up a memorial fund for the family. These are just some of the events the community is putting on to support the Nelson family.” Those interested in offering support can do so via the Nelson Memorial Fund organized by St. Luke’s United Methodist Church (see and scan the QR code below.) All donations go directly to the Nelson family. No matter the size or form of support, the Edmond Police Department emphasizes its impact. “The Edmond community has provided exceptional support for its public safety personnel for many years. However, their response to the recent on-duty death of Police Sergeant C.J. Nelson exceeded all expectations,” said J.D. Younger, Edmond’s chief of police. “From food to funds to tears of empathy, Edmond and the surrounding community gave more love and support to members of the Edmond Police Department and the family of C.J. Nelson than could have ever been expected. We will never be able to convey the level of gratitude and appreciation that we have for our community.”

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FEATURELOOK

Finding Lichen

Hundreds of Species Discovered

By Amy Dee Stephens Remember learning about lichen—that mossy-looking stuff that grows on trees? Probably not, because until recently, lichens barely received mention in high school biology. Now, thanks to the work of Dr. Sheila Strawn, much more is known about lichen and its roles in Oklahoma ecology. Not only has she discovered hundreds of species not previously known in Oklahoma, but she’s also written two books that make understanding and identifying lichen species easy.

Dr. Sheila and Steve Strawn

Discovering Lichen So what does lichen do? It is one of Earth’s great recyclers, helping break rocks down into soil and creating fertilizer. In the winter, it can be a food source for elk and bison. Scientists even use the absence of some lichens as an indication of air pollution. Strawn discovered the world of lichens later in life, getting a Ph.D. in Grassland Ecology after raising her children. She was looking for a research opportunity close to home when she became active with the Oklahoma Native Plant Society. “I met Pat Foley, who showed me a four-inch-thick book on North American lichens written by a Canadian, but central Oklahoma was largely undocumented. Pat told me, ‘Nobody’s studying lichens in Oklahoma. You wouldn’t be repeating anyone’s research, because it would all be new documentation.’” After attending a few collecting hikes hosted by the American Bryological (Moss) and Lichenological Society, Sheila and her husband, Steve, who also has a biology background, began driving to out-of-the-way places, climbing mountains, and hiking forests. They discovered lichen everywhere. Lichen Books Twenty years later, Strawn is the lichen authority for Oklahoma. She enjoys teaching about lichen through her writing, and she was an adjunct teacher at the University of Central Oklahoma until her retirement five years ago. “I realized a study guide was needed to explain the technical jargon about lichens.” Strawn wrote Lichen Study Guide for Oklahoma and Surrounding States in 2017. Last year, she released a field guide, which identifies 150 of the most common ones in Oklahoma and where to find them. Both books feature the same unique cover, a collage of lichen in the shape of Oklahoma. Edmond artist, Sarah Hearn designed it from her own photographs of lichens. Goin’ on a Lichen Hunt “With over a thousand species in Oklahoma, lichens are both plentiful and easy for nature enthusiasts to find. “You can find 20 or 30 different species within a few hours,” Strawn said. “They are always there, day or night, no matter the temperature. They can even survive in outer space. You will never fail to find lichen, sometimes numerous species on one tree.” Strawn recommends Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and Arcadia Lake as great places to find lichens, especially areas farther from auto traffic pollution. “Lichen is not moss, it has a symbiotic relationship between fungus and algae, which grows on almost any porous surface in the sun; tree bark, rock, and sometimes metal with flakey paint.” Lichen hunting requires only one tool: some form of magnification. Strawn has found that a cell phone camera works as well as a hand lens for enlarging images. “Viewing lichen close up is all it takes to hook you for life,” Strawn says. “Run your phone up and down a tree with any bark discoloration, especially after it rains and the color is brighter, and you’ll find a variety of species. You can even scrape off a tiny bit to look at later under a microscope. Once you see the small intricate details, you’ll be hooked, too.”


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BIZLOOK

Martha Garzon,

Pediatric Dentist By Maria Veres

Celebrating twenty years of dental practice in Edmond, Dr. Martha Garzon has helped a generation of children maintain healthy, beautiful smiles. After two decades, her goal remains the same—to ensure every patient has a positive and safe dental experience. Expert Care for Every Child Dr. Garzon’s practice has an emphasis on prevention and safe infection control protocols; she’s passionate about sealants and educating families on how to keep children’s smile healthy. She strives to prevent problems before they

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happen by working closely with dental specialists and medical professionals. Dr. Garzon is board-certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and is a Clinical Associate Professor at the College of Dentistry of The University of Oklahoma. She is proud to have a dental hygienist as part of her team.

Martha Garzon, DDS

A Welcoming Space Dr. Garzon treats children and teens in a unique caring, compassionate and nonjudgmental environment. Her goal is to create good patients for life by catering to each patient’s individual needs, likes and dislikes and using child-friendly language to describe procedures. They strive to have a schedule where appointments are not rushed, dedicating as much time as necessary with each patient. Special needs children and children with other challenges are welcome in her practice. The office decor is child-friendly but not babyish, so older kids and teens feel at home. Patients can enjoy TV and video games.

Parents can stay in the room with their child and become part of the team to provide successful appointments. All staff members share a love for children and a commitment to ensuring each patient has a good experience. “The most rewarding part of my practice is to change the perception some children have about dentistry; it makes our day when an apprehensive child leaves the office happy!” says Dr. Garzon. “We love to see the children grow up. We want them to feel like they can count on us to help them succeed!” Dr. Garzon is located at 870 South Kelly Avenue in Edmond and online at marthagarzondmd.com.


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BIZLOOK

Valley Hope Addiction Treatment and Recovery By Maria Veres With a new and larger outpatient treatment center in the heart of Oklahoma City, Valley Hope Addiction Treatment and Recovery is continuing its mission to make healing from substance abuse possible for everyone. The OKC facility offers day and evening outpatient care, both virtual and in-person. There’s also an inpatient facility in nearby Cushing.

for almost fifty years. Founded in Kansas, they also have a presence in several other states, with a focus on helping patients in rural areas where there may not be many treatment options. They’ve also established treatment facilities in larger metro areas like Oklahoma City. Valley Hope is a nonprofit organization, and financial assistance is available. The Oklahoma City outpatient programs are structured to allow patients to continue fulfilling their work and family responsibilities. Each group meets for three hours, three days a week. The evening program is virtual. “The telehealth option allows patients from all over the state to participate without having to commute,” says clinician Holli Johnson, a licensed counselor who helps coordinate the outpatient programs.

Continuing Care and Support Addictions don’t develop overnight, and recovery takes time. To address the need for long-term support, Valley Treating Addiction Across Oklahoma Hope recently extended its outpatient Valley Hope has served Oklahomans program to twelve weeks. After

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Valley Hope Treatment and Recovery

completing the outpatient program, patients can apply for an ongoing alumni therapy group that meets for an hour a week. “We serve adults of all ages, all genders, and from all walks of life. The disease doesn’t discriminate,” says Holli. She encourages anyone who wants to learn more about treatment options for themselves or a loved one to contact Valley Hope. Admissions counselors are available and will help them find the program that’s the right fit for them. Learn more on their website at valleyhope.org/locations/oklahoma. Contact admissions 24 hours, 7 days a week at (918) 225-1736.


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ALOOKBACK

The COVID Crisis! By Louise Tucker Jones Before this story went to print, Jay had to have an emergency abdominal surgery and is in ICU on a ventilator. Prayers for Jay’s recovery! COVID-19! Not something I wanted to experience. I was so careful! I did curbside pickup for groceries and wore a mask if I went into a store. My son, Jay and I hadn’t been inside a church, restaurant or whatever since the pandemic began, but... we both got Covid. In July, we spent three nights at a hotel while our AC was being replaced in 100 degree heat and I’m assuming that’s where we picked up the nasty virus. Thankfully, my son, Aaron came from Arkansas and spent a week with us, helping me and taking care of his little

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brother, even throwing a quilt on the floor and sleeping in the room with Jay to monitor his cough and oxygen, while allowing me to rest and heal a bit. I don’t know how I would have handled our trip to the ER with Jay had Aaron not been here. Jay’s congenital heart disease and compromised immune system put him at great risk. Thankfully, an IV at the ER, along with some breathing treatments and supplemental oxygen helped Jay recoup at home. We also had some amazing friends dropping off groceries, bottled water and even some meals at our front door. And so many prayers! Friends, family, friends of friends, as well as notes and prayers from my kind readers. I can’t thank everyone enough for your prayers, and God is faithfully restoring our health. Though Jay normally sleeps with supplemental oxygen, he seldom required it during the daytime... until Covid. Thankfully, that need is decreasing and Jay is almost back to his old routine. In the midst of Covid, we “celebrated” a few special birthdays. My precious baby boy, Travis, went to heaven when he was almost three months old. I tested positive on his birthday! And even while feeling

Louise and Jay

a little cruddy, Jay managed to launch a balloon for his daddy’s heavenly birthday. But on my August birthday we both felt well enough to take a picture and post a “Thank You” on Facebook for all the prayers and sweet birthday wishes. We are blessed! ABOUT THE AUTHOR Louise Tucker Jones is an award-winning author, inspirational speaker & founder of Wives With Heavenly Husbands, a support group for widows. LouiseTJ@cox.net or LouiseTuckerJones.com.


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LOCALLOOK FEATURELOOK

Bobbi Peery

Chris Ramsey

Second Career Success By Taylor Bollinger What do you want to be when you grow up? We ask children this question all the time but rarely inquire about the career goals of other adults. We assume they are set, satisfied, or stagnant - that what they are doing now is what they will continue to do and the window for change has closed. But what if this view of career paths is out of date? Perhaps rather than being straightforward, careers can be subject to twists, turns, and changes, with a wide shoulder for pursuing dreams. Meet two who found a second wind of career success and satisfaction at Edmond’s Francis Tuttle campus. Bobbi Peery: The Teacher Becomes the Student Following 31 years of teaching middle school math, Bobbi Peery’s retirement was well-earned, if not entirely typical. Rather than retiring into a season of rest, Bobbi reversed her role and became a student. “My time is worth a lot to me,” Bobbi said. “I wanted to continue investing in it in a way that would pay off for me and others.” She soon enrolled in Francis Tuttle, launching a second career journey in respiratory care. “Every time I took an interest inventory test, it told me I was either cut out for education or healthcare,” Bobbi said. “After spending time in the hospital with my mother, I kept noticing respiratory therapists as a happy bunch doing important work.” A Second Wind for a New Career In today’s healthscape, respiratory therapists are also incredibly in demand. Before even graduating from Francis Tuttle’s program, Bobbi secured a position as a Registered Respiratory Therapist at Baptist Hospital. Feeling valued, challenged, and rejuvenated in her new role, Bobbi offered encouragement to others considering a later-in-life career change. 28

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“Do the research and find what interests you,” she said. “There is always an option where you can find employment and fulfillment.” Chris Ramsey: Seven Months to Success A desire for more reliable employment led Chris Ramsey to pursue a new career path in adulthood. Though he had successfully supported himself in roles ranging from construction worker to pharmacy tech, Chris eventually grew weary of the instability and unpredictability of his work. “I found myself looking for a job for the second time in a couple of years,” Chris said. “I felt like I was too old to keep starting over, so I finally decided to go back to school.” Weighing the time and financial investment of traditional college, Chris found Francis Tuttle’s practical training and flexible schedule to be the optimum choice for continuing his education. He enrolled in Advanced Mechanics and completed the program within seven months. “I was in a position where I wanted to reset and start over,” Chris said. “Vocational training was the best option for me because of the time frame, cost, and training that got me a job immediately after graduation.” Broad Horizon, Bright Future Chris greatly enjoys his current work at a natural gas processing company and feels confident knowing that regardless of the industry, his skill set will always be in demand. “My training opened me up to a variety of disciplines and industries,” Chris said. “I could work in oil, energy, power, technology - it really is a broad horizon.” Along with job security, Chris says he’s experienced increased satisfaction at work, and in life in general. “I wish I would’ve done this several years sooner,” Chris said. “The thing that really helped me was having my wife there to support and encourage me to take the risk and just go for it.”


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FEATURELOOK

Hattie’s Tees

Inspirational Outfitters Give Back to the Community By Taylor Bollinger Hattie Witherby is a need-to-know name in Edmond’s entrepreneurial scene. The 21-year-old with special needs has continued to defy both medical and social restraints to graduate high school and embark on her new role as “Chief Inspirational Officer” of Hattie’s Tees. Those who learn about Hattie’s journey will likely find ‘inspirational’ to be an understatement. When a series of strokes in utero affected her mobility and development, some medical experts saw only limitations. Her parents, Scott and Jennifer, remained unwavering advocates, offering the optimism and opportunities Hattie needed to succeed. While the Witherbys felt immense support from the Edmond School District, the reality remained: vocational options are limited for students with special needs. Scott and Jennifer knew full-time care and facilities were not the best options for their family. Drawing from Hattie’s favorite hobby – decorating t-shirts – her mother announced: “We’re going to open a t-shirt company.” Hattie’s father, Scott, was on board and took the risky first step of leaving a 25-year career in wine and spirit distribution to step into his new role as owner and operator of Hattie’s Tees. For Scott and Jennifer, the venture represents a more engaged, interactive life for their daughter. For Hattie, the sense of accomplishment from owning her own business is apparent. “When she wears our company shirt, she is always showing it off,” Scott said. “It keeps her challenged and engaged and gives her an essential sense of purpose.” 30

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A look around their shop shows Hattie’s Tees can do it all, and do it well. Using top-tier machinery, Scott and Hattie have already produced custom shirts, koozies, bags, and more for a range of clients including Saturn Grill, Birdie’s Chicken, sports teams, and individuals seeking custom creations. “I’ve known Hattie since she was 10,” said Kevin Lee, owner of Birdie’s Chicken, “It’s been so amazing to watch her take the next step in her life and create something new with her dad. Plus, the shirts they’ve created for me were flawless.” In addition to providing quality products for clients, Hattie’s Tees bridges an important gap within the community, providing other special needs students with the opportunity to engage and invest in their community. “We are excited about partnering with Edmond Public Schools to provide kids with a vocational learning experience,” Jennifer said. “The community doesn’t offer a lot for students of certain abilities, so we will do whatever we can to help support the school system and special needs families like they’ve supported us.” While starting a new business is always a risk, the Witherbys remain focused on the bigger picture – giving back. “No one is going to invest Scott, Jennifer, in special needs children Eli, and Hattie Witherby. more than parents of special needs children,” Scott said. “They need to know they have something to look forward to, and we are fortunate to offer an option.” Learn more about this father-daughter duo by following @HattiesTees on Facebook and Instagram, stop by their shop at 1704 S. Kelly Avenue in Edmond, or get in touch by calling (405) 906-4274. No matter the order, Hattie’s Tees will always be ‘Printed with Joy’. The website hattiestees.com is currently under construction.


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1024 W Covell Rd., Edmond, OK 73003