By Darla Shelden
The Oklahoma County Democratic Party (OKCDP) recently hosted their annual Medallion Dinner, this year themed “Dreamers… No Longer Just a Dream.” The event recognizes those who have helped the County Party during the past year.
Held at the Imperial Ballroom in Oklahoma City, the event included a cocktail reception, live and silent auctions and dinner provided by Chelinos Mexican Restaurant.
County Chair Marguerite McGuffin recognized the evening’s sponsors, which included event underwriter Bob Lemon, Teamsters Local 886, United Auto Workers, OK-AFT, Oklahoma Democratic Party, Calvin Rees & Ellen Stevens, Senator Al McAffrey, Representative Richard Morrissette, CD 5 Veterans Committee, Larry & Marguerite McGuffin and James Baggett.
Welcoming fellow Democrats from across the state, event chair Calvin Rees introduced the evening’s co-masters of ceremonies, Kitti Asberry and Tim Reese.
Rep. Mike Shelton, Rep. Scott Inman, OK State Party Chair Wallace Collins and Sheriff John Whetsel were all dinner speakers.
Each year the OKCDP Opio Toure Humanitarian Award is given to the individual or group who best exemplifies the strength and character of the late Representative Toure, an advocate for those living without a voice in the shadows of poverty and despair.
This year’s recipient, Dr. Katherine Scheirman, Ret. Col. US Air Force, received the award from presenter Garland Pruitt, President of the NAACP, OKC Chapter.
Dr. Scheirman served as Chief of Medical Operations at Ramstein, Germany overseeing 11 Chiefs of Medical Staff and over 700 medical personnel throughout Europe. Since retiring in 2006, she has been an advocate for veterans, active military members and their families, and for healthcare reform.
As Oklahoma State Director for Doctors for America, Scheirman has traveled statewide educating the public about the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion. She has written numerous op-eds and articles commenting on troop support and health reform.
“Opio Toure is a personal hero of mine,” said Scheirman. “This award named in his honor means a lot to me.”
The Bob Lemon Volunteer of the Year award is given to the individual or group committed to furthering the human rights work begun by Bob and his late wife Mary Lou, both avid supporters of promoting equal rights and confronting bigotry and prejudice.
This year’s recipient is the Oklahoma CD5 Veterans Group, comprised of Calvin Rees, CD5 Veterans Committee President; Katherine Scheirman, Treasurer State Veteran’s Committee; and Jack Farley, State Veterans Committee Secretary. KittI Asberry presented the award.
An impromptu performance reflecting the “Dreamers’ theme was given by actor, singer and dance artist, Jorden Richard.
Christine Byrd presented the Lecia Swain-Ross journalism award to Carlos Ortiz, Chief Editor of El Nacional Media and Mundo Fox Oklahoma. The award, named after the Ebony Tribune’s late editor and co-chair of the Oklahoma County Democratic Party, recognizes those Democrats who have significantly contributed to the furtherance of the Democratic Party’s ideals of fairness and equality.
Born in Lima, Perú, Ortiz has worked at media outlets in Peru and in Oklahoma, since moving here in 1990. Ortiz founded and published Hola Oklahoma newspaper until 2008 and has produced several TV shows for Channel 43 and Pax TV Channel 52.
Ortiz is author of the soon to be published “Los Huevos de Jimmy” (Jimmy’s Eggs), a book about Hispanic life in Oklahoma.
“I’m honored for being selected as the recipient of the Lecia Swain Ross award,” said Ortiz. “I’m very sensitive to the Dreamers because I witness how these young students stood up for their rights. Today we are more than 11 million dreamers ready to initiate the biggest dream of all: to come out of the shadows and be certified in something that we already are: the new citizens of this great country”.
Jane Anderson and Ellen Stevens organized the silent auction and David Stinson, of JD Home provided the table designs.
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Gonzalo Guaman. Trena Byas sang the National Anthem. The invocation was given by Rev. Jeff Hamilton and Rev. Christine Byrd delivered the closing benediction.
McGuffin said, “I’m really proud to work alongside all the award recipients. They are all dreamers in their own right, dedicated to paying it forward. A special thanks goes to Bob Lemon and his family for their support of our Party and principles.”
For more information, visit www.okcountydemocrats.org.