By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The pubic is invited to attend the 32nd Annual Oklahoma City Beautiful Distinguished Service Awards luncheon on Thursday, March 26. The event will be held at 11:30 a.m. at Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club, 7000 NW Grand Blvd
The luncheon honors groups and individuals who have contributed significantly to the image and appearance of Oklahoma City.
Chaired by Vicki Clark Gourley and Mary Blankenship Pointer, the event will honor all segments of the community that strive to create and sustain programs and projects that benefit the Oklahoma City metro area.
Individuals and businesses throughout the community submitted nominations and a selection committee of local philanthropists voted to determine the winners in each category.
Nomination categories include beautification, conservation, neighborhood improvements, public and private landscaping, public education and litter control projects.
The 2015 Distinguished Service Awards include eight categories for achievement.
The Community Spirit Award will be given to the John Rex Elementary School and TAP Architecture, the Education Award goes to Girl Scouts Katie Prior, Ariel McAffrey and Ava McAffrey; the Volunteer Spirit Award will honor the Urban Ag Coalition; the Chesapeake Energy Corporate Award will be given to Love’s Corporate Headquarters; and the Mayor’s Award will be bestowed to Oklahoma City entrepreneur Chip Fudge.
The Visionary Award will honor the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden; the Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to Ann Felton Gilliland; and the President’s Award will be awarded to the Hal Smith Restaurant Group.
“We have an incredible group of honorees this year.” OKC Beautiful executive director, Lisa Synar said. “There is a lot of variety in the honorees and the projects they’ve been a part of which is going to translate to a really exciting luncheon in March.”
Additional emphasis is put into outreach/recognition efforts, which include monthly Beautification Awards.
“Oklahoma City Beautiful is a valuable community partner working to enhance the beauty of our community,” said Blankenship Pointer.
“Our Beautification, Education, Advocacy and Awareness programs include LandScapes, LitterBlitz, Mother Earth, Adopt-A-Park and Wildflowers,” she added.
Each of these programs promote community improvement and stewardship and help conserve public and private green spaces throughout Oklahoma City.
OKC Beautiful’s efforts are coordinated with the Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department, nonprofit organizations and numerous neighborhood associations to make them successful.
Partnerships between public and private sectors are important to assure success. For example, since the inception of the Wildflowers Program, OKC Beautiful has planted more than 7,000 daffodils and numerous wildflowers that line Oklahoma City’s public roadways each spring.
Area plantings are made possible by coordinating efforts with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, the City of Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.
A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, OKC Beautiful provides programs that create clean and beautiful public spaces, reduces waste by increasing recycling and fosters the next generation of environmental leaders.
Individual luncheon tickets cost $85 and sponsorships are available.