OKLAHOMA CITY -- The state of Oklahoma saved more than $38 million dollars last year as a result of hours and service donated by volunteers. The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) recognized those volunteers in a state awards ceremony held recently at the Oklahoma History Center.
The 30th Annual Volunteer Awards Ceremony, “A Symphony of Service,” honored a number of Oklahomans for their outstanding contributions. OKDHS Interim Director Preston Doerflinger presented opening remarks, and the event was hosted by OKDHS Chief Administrative Officer Sandra Harrison and Communications Coordinator Sheree Powell.
“I am very proud to be a part of some great things going on at the Oklahoma Department of Human Services,” Doerflinger said. “It is an honor to be here and I want to personally thank each of you for your time and for your service.”
Overbrook, Oklahoma, residents Darian and Taylor Barnes received the “Leader of Tomorrow” award for school-age volunteers. For the past several years, the young Barnes sisters have operated a lemonade stand, donating all proceeds to the Carter County OKDHS Emergency Fund.
The first year the girls served lemonade, cookies and iced tea and raised $280. The next year the stand generated $860. A few years later, their uncle organized a “hot rod” show to go along with the lemonade stand, and it made $1,012. So far the girls have raised $3,407.70, and have plans to open yet another lemonade stand this year, donating 100 percent of the profits!
More than 100 people attended the ceremony including volunteers, their family and friends and several state legislators.
“I have the best job at OKDHS,” said Karen Jacobs, Coordinator of the OKDHS Office of Volunteerism. “I work with and recognize individuals and organizations who have given so generously to their neighbors and to their state. They certainly do not do it for any glory or recognition, but simply because they have a gentle and caring nature. These individuals truly represent the best of what makes Oklahoma so special.”