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JFK Community Service Award honoree: Kari Watkins joins Cornett, Turpen, David and Rhonda Walters

Kari Watkins, Executive Director at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. Oklahoma State Society Photograph.
Kari Watkins, Executive Director at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. Oklahoma State Society Photograph.

Patrick B. McGuigan

OKLAHOMA CITY – Kari Watkins, executive director at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, will be honored next month as a recipient of the John F. Kennedy Community Service Award.

Josef McGuigan, president of the Board of Directors for the Santa Fe Family Life Center (SFFLC), told Watkins the designation “recognizes your contributions of time and talent serving Oklahomans.”

As director at the National Memorial, Watkins has played a leading role in sustaining public awareness and understanding of the events of April 19, 1995, and the domestic terrorist attack on the A.P. Murrah Federal Building.

Watkins developed the National Memorial Marathon, which McGuigan said, “has impacted the lives of countless Oklahomans. It is incredible to see thousands of people in Oklahoma City participate in the Memorial Marathon who never before participated in a marathon, 5K or 2-mile walk.”

He continued, “The initiative with schoolchildren enabling them to participate by pledging to walk or run a mile for 26 weeks, encourages future generations to be healthy and participate in the Oklahoma City community. The Marathon insures we do not forget the lessons of the past, and provides the opportunity for Oklahomans to learn about healthy living and exercise at all levels of our community.”

SFFLC is a nonprofit health and wellness facility in Oklahoma City. SFFLC’s community outreach includes charitable, recreation and athletic programs aimed at young people, and offers scholarships for the disadvantaged and disabled. In early November, the center hosted the regional Special Olympics basketball tournament.

Watkins joins the group of previously announced honorees. David and Rhonda Walters, along with Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, are scheduled to receive the JFK Community Service award. Former Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Turpen, a past honoree, will receive the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award.

The SFFLC/JFK awards banquet is set for Tuesday, January 24, 2017 at the historic downtown Skirvin Hotel. The event will feature a VIP reception at 6 p.m., and the awards dinner at 7 p.m. Organizers are presently seeking table sponsors at these levels: Oval Office Sponsor, $30,000; Presidential Sponsor, $10,000; Camelot Sponsor $5,000; New Frontier Sponsor $3,000.

Information on the gala and the work of SFFLC is available at the website.

Those interested in sponsorships and other means of support may contact James Timberlake, SFFLC executive director, at Santa Fe Family Life Center, 6300 North Santa Fe Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73118, or telephone 405-840-1817.

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