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January 2014

CHARLIE’S STORY How his life changed


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2014 off with a BANG pg. 3 GEARING UP FOR THE CENTER POLO CLASSIC How you can help! pg. 6

LEADER LETTER Greetings and Happy New Year Center Friends! I hope your holiday season was full of family, friends, love and laughter. We are excited to kick off a busy 2014! For starters, you have probably already noticed the new design and feel to this publication. With the hiring of our new Community Relations Director, Erin Jacobs, many of our marketing materials are in the process of getting a makeover (speaking of which, do you “LIKE” us on Facebook?) Erin has brought an energy and “fresh approach” to our efforts – what a blessing she is for The Center! 2013 was an incredible year of success for The Center! We served more than ever (1,494 to be exact). Members are enrolling and participating more than ever before. Our adaptive sports programs, extended hours and support groups are really helping us serve a myriad of Member needs. None of this is possible with out the very generous financial support of our Center friends! We ended the year with a strong direct mail, featuring Center Member Patrick. To date, this campaign has raised in excess of $15,000. Many individuals supported The Center this year and we recieved several renewed grants from very supportive local foundations as well as a few new grants! We honestly could not do what we do without the continued support of this generous community! It is never too late to make a gift and help change lives – our website is always open to receive your contributions! Speaking of fundraising – 2014 will bring some changes in our event planning. We will once again be partnering with Arrowhead Polo Club to bring you “The Center’s Polo Classic” May 17 – see page 6 for more information. We do not have all the details worked out for a fall event, but we plan to take what has worked for us the most successfully in the past and merge it with something fresh and new. Be sure to stay tuned to the next issue of this newsletter for more details! On that note, let me end with this quote, “We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” - Edith Lovejoy Pierce

You have the chance to help us write The Center’s book in 2014 – grab a hold of that opportunity and get involved. Your comments, feedback and involvement is always welcome! Again, we thank you for your continued support of The Center, our mission and services. Yours in Center service –

Annie Tomecek President, Board of Directors

Lori A. Long Executive Director

Don’t forget to get your 2014 Center Calendar!


$10 Order by emailing

The Center Staff: • Janice Bawden, Art Instructor • Donna Bridenstine, Receptionist • Margie Crossno, Program & Volunteer Coordinator • Bradley Forbes, JWCS & Fitness Instructor • Katrina Griffiths, Fitness Assistant • Andrea Hernandez, Fitness & Recreation Specialist • Vickie Holler, Director of Member Services • Erin Jacobs, Director of Community Relations • Lori A. Long, Executive Director • Haylee McDorman, Transition Services Coordinator • Darlene McGrail, Recreation Therapist • Burt McLachlan, Program Coordinator • Susan Pierce, Director of Development • Kristen Rooks, Fitness & Recreation Specialist • Cathy Pennington, Executive & Development Asst.


MEMBER STORY CHARLIE THOMPSON One Sunday morning in August 1995, Charlie started his day in the usual way: he woke up and put on his favorite Levi’s, but when he stood up to go outside to get the paper he was struck with immense pain in his back and collapsed to the floor. His daughter, who is a nurse, ran to his side and rushed him to the hospital. Doctors were stumped. They initially thought he had walking pneumonia.They gave him pain medication and sent him home. Monday morning, Charlie woke up and went to work. Nothing seemed to be wrong but he did stumble quite a bit more than normal. Tuesday, he fell again on his way to the door but this time with no pain. Angry, Charlie continued about his daily business until Tuesday night when the pain came back so intensely that he lost feeling in his legs. His family was able to get him to the couch where he spent the night. The next morning (Wednesday) when he woke on the couch, he could not move his legs. That Tuesday night in early August 1995 was the last time Charlie walked without assistance. In a panic, his family rushed him to his doctor who sent him to the hospital for an immediate CT scan. They found nothing. They then suspected it was his spinal cord and took a fluid sample to test. Finally a diagnosis: Transverse Myelitis. TM is a neurological disorder caused by inflammation across a segment of the spinal cord. The segment of the spinal cord at which the damage occurs determines which parts of the body are affected. TM is rare and devastating. Charlie remembers being very angry and could not understand why this had happened to him. He began outpatient therapy and insisted on using crutches instead of a wheelchair but soon that became too exhausting. Charlie became a part-time Center Member in 2001; but after retiring from his job as an Engineer at the Tulsa Airport, he became a full-time member. He attends several times a week to work out in the fitness center and take fitness classes.

The best part of The Center, according to Charlie, is the fitness center where he uses the standing frames and can be found using a walker or the parallel bars frequently. He also says The Center is a social hub for him. Everyone here knows Charlie and he was even “Santa” at our member Holiday Dinner for the past 2 years! Charlie tells people about The Center as often as he can, even keeping business cards with him to hand out with his own personal cellphone number to answer any questions he can. He says, “You never know who may need this place so I tell as many people as I can.”

“You never know who may need this place so I tell as many people as I can.”



Margie Crossno, Program and Volunteer Services Coordinator at The Center, was named Volunteer Tulsa’s 2013 Volunteer Administrator of the Year! Nominated by a Center member volunteer, Margie received glowing recommendations from volunteers and staff alike. Here are some things people had to say about her: “Ms. Crossno is an inexhaustible woman, who puts forth 150 percent in everything she is involved in!”. “She goes beyond the call of duty in everything she does, and I don’t think there is a person she dislikes!”. “Margie is the oil that keeps The Center running smooth.”

This year The Center successfully met Tulsa Community Foundation Planned Giving Challenge goal to raise $100,000 in planned or estate gifts! We received $20,000 for surpassing this goal. The Center was one of 43 area nonprofit agencies who are participating in the challenge. Since February 2012, more than $3.8 million was raised by area nonprofits participating in the challenge. Thank you so much for your support of our efforts to continue The Center’s presence is Tulsa for years to come!

Congratulations Margie! You are an invaluable asset to our organization and we cannot think of a better person to lead, instruct and encourage our volunteers than you.



In October, the Leadership Tulsa Paragon Award winners were announced. Each year Leadership Tulsa presents the Paragon Award to three of its members for outstanding leadership contributions to the community. Nate Waters, longtime Center member and supporter, as well as Tulsa disability advocate was honored posthumously with one of the 2013 Paragon Awards. Lori Long, Center Executive Director and Val Fimbres, Second Vice President of the board accepted the award. “Nate rose from an abusive childhood and a paralyzing accident to make his own way and charm the city as he did good”-Tulsa People magazine. We miss you Nate, thank you for all you did and your legacy continues to do for the disabled of the Tulsa community!

For the past year, you have seen articles in this publication about a $5 Challenge that was given by Becky Frank of Schnake Turnbo Frank PR to 75 nonprofit agencies. The challenge was to develop a creative relationship-building idea starting with just $5. The Center decided to create a puzzle of The Center with our $5 and encourage Center Friends to become a piece of our puzzle by purchasing a piece for $5 and sharing The Center story with other friends. We are excited to announce that we won the $500 prize plus 15 hours of FREE public relations services from Schnake Turnbo Frank! This will help The Center promote its many services and programs to our community and potentially serve more Members in our community! Thank you for being a piece of our puzzle and helping us to continue to be a crucial piece of Tulsan’s with disabilities lives.



Our annual Holiday Dinner was December 4 and was a ton of festive fun! Our featured member this issue (Charlie) was Santa for the event and played the part wonderfully. Thanks to a special donation from an anonymous donor, we were also able to throw an end of year party the day before The Center closed for the holidays! Santa and an elf made a surprise visit, Arby’s generously donated a portion of our lunch and everyone left with a gift! Here are some pictures from both events:



In December, The Center hosted The Holiday Classic, a National Wheelchair Basketball Association Youth Tournament! Seven teams traveled to Tulsa for the tournament from Houston, Nebraska, Dallas and ...Our very own Tulsa Jammers took second place in the competition! Here are some pictures of the tournament:

We were all sad to see Teale leave The Center in pursuit of her career dreams and we all miss her; however we are honored to have a new Fitness and Recreation Specialist who is equally awesome! Kristen Rooks comes to us with a Bachelor’s Degree in Leisure Studies - Therapeutic Recreation from OSU (graduated December 2011). She is a Licensed Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and has been working for the past 18+ months at Forest Hills Assisted Living Center as their Activities Director. Welcome Kristen! We are so happy to have you on staff!

d an re! y e p ap be h h So d to e cit ex

SAVE THE DATE EVENT RECAP - GOAL BALL This November, The National Federation of the Blind of Oklahoma partnered with The Center to showcase the sport of Goal Ball. Designed for Blind and visually impaired youth and adults, Goal Ball is a high pace, action packed game that uses every sense except sight. The ball used is similar to a basketball but it contains a bell so players can use their sense of hearing to predict the ball’s movement and location. This sport is unlike any other and is truly impressive to watch and challenging to play. Here are some photos from the event:




11a.m. Champagne Brunch 1 p.m. Polo Match SPONSOR

$20,000 - $1,000

or individual VIP tickets ($250 each) 11 a.m. Champagne Brunch with open bar and live auction,all under a large tent with VIP parking.


$100 includes

10x10 tent, 2 general admission tickets Individual tent to view polo match at 1 p.m.


General Admission tickets $25 adult, $10 child 12 or under Access to field for 1 p.m. polo match. Concessions available.




Board of Directors Annie Tomecek, President Val Fimbres, 1st Vice-President Ignacio Fernandez, 2nd Vice-President Tom McPherson, 3rd Vice President Dylan McCants, Secretary/Treasurer Megan Meussner, Past President

return service requested

Kris Beach Scott Beller Amber Burton Kristin Dickerson William J. Doyle III Eric Ellsworth Ken Etheredge Jason Grunin Dwayne Henderson Brendan Maguffee Samanthia Marshall Jack Montgomery Dr. Stacy Nix Jim Ogez Bob O’Neal Garth Renfrow Lance Taylor

Printing courtesy of:

Interns: Seth Erkenbeck Seth Hilsabeck Whitney Pancoast Lori A. Long, Executive Director

CENTER SUPPORT GROUPS ALS - Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s Disease: Meets the second Thursday of each month at 6:30p in Classroom One.

MDA Youth Support Group : The group provides activities and fosters support to youth with muscular dystrophy. Meeting times & dates TBA.

Aphasia Support Group: Meets the second Wednesday of each month at 9:30a in Classroom Three.

MDA Parent / Caregiver Support Group: This group meets every other month to provide education and resources to family members of youth with muscular dystrophy. Meeting times & dates

TAGS – Tulsa Amputee Support Group: Meets the first Monday of each month at 6:30p in Classroom One to discuss various topics of interests, provide support, education and socialization. VISTA – Visually Impaired Seeking Technique Alternatives: Meets each Wednesday at 1:00p in Classroom Two. Meetings feature dialogue concerning community resources, adaptive equipment, social activities and supportive interactions


Spinal Cord Injury Support Group: Meets the second Wednesday of each month at 3:00p in classroom three. This is an informal group of SCI survivors who meet monthly for discussions, education, and socialization.

Center Point Jan. 2014  
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