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.”
Sallisaw resident Michael Cullipher is commonly recognized for his impersonation of Elvis Presley. Black hair and sideburns complete the vintage look as he performs for audiences with his unique renditions of Presley’s hit songs and on-stage moves.
Cullipher has volunteered his performances for the past 10 years at charitable events throughout Sequoyah County. He headlined the “Green Country Opry,” and donated proceeds from the show to buy Christmas presents, sponsor outings for children and help with school expenses for those in need.
In addition, Cullipher performs for residents of local nursing homes, as well as cancer research fundraisers and March of Dimes events.
Cullipher says he loves performing and “just likes to help people.” Those who know him best say he leaves everyone smiling, and brings much joy to the lives he touches.
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.”