By Darla Shelden
To honor several noteworthy Oklahoma citizens, the Oklahoma City/County Historical Society (OCCHS) will hold its 23rd annual Pathmakers Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, October 2 at the Jim Thorpe Association located at 4040 N. Lincoln Boulevard. The luncheon, catered by the Petroleum Club, begins at 11:45 a.m.
“The purpose of the Pathmakers Award Luncheon is to honor those who have made major contributions to Oklahoma City and Oklahoma County, whether it was civic responsibilities or through business acumen or by contributing to the development of the community in other ways,” said Bill Welge, President, Oklahoma City/County Historical Society.
Inductees for this year’s ceremony are rockabilly artist Wanda Jackson, musical entertainer for more than six decades; community activist Leroy Bridges; Robert Spinks, Professor and Department Chair for Sociology and Justice Studies at Oklahoma City University; and Eddie Griffin, President of the Jim Thorpe Association. International journalist Anthony Shadid and Oklahoma City civic leader Nicholas Redding will be honored posthumously.
Wanda Lavonne Jackson was born in Maud, Oklahoma. She has lived most of her life in Oklahoma City and attended Capitol Hill High School. Known as the First Lady of Rockabilly, Jackson will be in attendance to accept the award from the OCCHS.
“A pioneer of rock and roll, Wanda Jackson entertained in her early years with Elvis Presley. She’s also known as the Queen of Rock,” said Welge. “She made rockabilly her signature mark and we’re extremely proud to honor her with the Pathmakers Award.”
Professor Spinks was pleased to be chosen for this award stating, “I am deeply honored that the historical society feels my work merits designation as a Pathmaker. Those of us who labor in the nonprofit fields are only successful because of the support of volunteers and staff in the nonprofit organizations in which we serve. I have been particularly blessed in that respect. My thanks to the historical society for recognizing the importance of health and human service organizations to the history of our city and county,” Spinks said.
Leroy Bridges, former chairman of the Advisory Council for the University of Oklahoma’s Political Communication Center, will be recognized for his numerous community activities. “Leroy Bridges has won just about every imaginable award possible and we’ll be honoring him this year,” said Welge.
“I know there are many deserving of this Award,” said Griffin. “I am truly honored and humbled to be selected. To be named as part of the Pathmakers Award for the OKC/County Historical Society is an honor.”
Nicholas Redding’s daughter, 88 year old Lillian Sparagowski, will accept the award honoring her father.
“Redding came to Oklahoma City when he was 10 years old. His father bought a 160 acre homestead, which would now be at SW 36th and Western,” said Welge. “Redding helped to establish St. Joseph’s Church and was a leader in the Capitol Hill area. Most notably, in 1964 he donated 10 acres from the homestead for the development of Southwest Community Hospital, which became Southwest Integris Medical Center.”
Retired Oklahoma dentist, Buddy Shadid will accept the award for his son Anthony Shadid, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winning foreign correspondent died in February 2012 from a severe asthma attack while on assignment in Syria for the New York Times.
The 2012 Distinguished Service award honoring individuals or organizations contributing to the betterment of their community will be given to the Girls Scouts of Oklahoma – Western District. Julie Bohannon, Director of Resource Development and Jaimie Siegal, Director of Collaborations will be accepting the award.
“The Girl Scouts, established in 1912, are celebrating their 100th anniversary this year, and Oklahoma City’s first troop was established in 1919,” said Welge.
The brainchild of OCCHS founding board member Pen Woods, the first Pathmakers Award Luncheon was held in 1990. Since then, nearly 200 persons or organizations have been inducted into OCCHS’s Pathmakers.
Deadline for reservations is September 29. Cost per person is $35. To register, call 405-522-5206 or visit www.okc-history.org. Checks can be mailed to the Oklahoma City/County Historical Society, P.O. Box 893050, Oklahoma City, OK 73189.