OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – A former governor and First Lady, a community volunteer and an NBA superstar are recipients of the 2019 John F. Kennedy Community Service Award.
Governor Frank Keating and Former First Lady Cathy Keating, Jenny Love Meyer and Nick Collison will formally accept their awards Sept. 17 at the 9th annual John F. Kennedy Community Service Awards gala.
The gala event begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in Oklahoma City. Tickets and sponsorship information for the gala are available by contacting James Timberlake at (405) 840-1817 or [email protected]
New this year, the gala will be followed by “Play On,” a special social event that will be held immediately following the dinner in the Skirvin’s Red Piano Bar.
“’Play On’ will give younger Oklahoma Citians a chance to support the Santa Fe Center,” said James Timerlake, Executive Director of the Santa Fe Family Life Center. “For a $25 donation, attendees can celebrate with gala attendees and honorees in the Piano Bar while supporting our mission of sports and wellness for all. It’s going to be a great way to end the night.”
Proceeds from both events support the Santa Fe Family Life Center (SFFLC). An outreach of the Knights of Columbus Oklahoma Council 1038, SFFLC’s mission is to provide recreation and athletic programs for underserved community members, including those who are financially disadvantaged or mentally or physically disabled.
The John F. Kennedy Awards honor individuals who make a significant contribution to Oklahoma, its communities and its people, while paying homage to the memory of John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States and a proud Knight of Columbus.
“This year’s honorees donate their time and talents to the service of our less fortunate friends and neighbors, said James Timberlake, Executive Director of the Santa Fe Family Life Center. “We are pleased to honor that service.”
Jenny Love Meyer is being honored for her longtime community involvement. Jenny is an Oklahoma native, a graduate of Bishop McGuinness High School in Oklahoma City, and she holds a BA in political science from Colorado College. She is a past board member of the American Red Cross, Teach for America, the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools, and the Arthritis Foundation. She was also a past chairperson of the Children’s Miracle Network Council, past co-chair of United Way Women’s Leadership Society and a Leadership Oklahoma City Aluma, Class of XVII.
Nick Collison is a retired 14-year NBA veteran and is one of only five NBA players to have spent 14 or more seasons with a single franchise. His commitment to community service has included work with the Thunder Cares Foundation, Thunder Youth Basketball, Read to Achieve, Thunder Community Foundation, and the Rolling Thunder Book Bus as well as donating to Special Care, an Oklahoma City program specializing in education and therapy.
Frank and Cathy Keating served two consecutive terms as Oklahoma’s Governor and First Lady. As the Governor of Oklahoma, Frank Keating helped raise more than six million dollars after the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building to fund scholarships for the children left with only one or no parents. Cathy Keating founded Friends of the Oklahoma Governor’s Mansion, Septemberfest and the Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. Frank and Cathy are both published authors and serve on the board of several nonprofit organizations.
Josef McGuigan, president of SFFLC, told The City Sentinel, “”We are excited to celebrate the significant impact of this year’s honorees on our community through public service, corporate citizenship and athletics. Each of these honorees has been a positive influence on the health and well-being of thousands of Oklahomans, which embodies the mission of the Santa Fe Family Life Center.”
Previous JFK Award honorees include Vince Gill, Chickasaw Governor Bill Anoatubby, Mick Cornett, Drew Edmondson, Toby Keith, Jack Mildren, Governor George Nigh and Former First Lady Donna Nigh, Barry Switzer, Wayman Tisdale, Mike and Susan Turpen, Governor David and Former First Lady Rhonda Walters and Governor Brad Henry and former First Lady Kim Henry. Past JFK honorees Tricia Everest and Mike Turpen will M.C. this year’s dinner.
Tickets for Play On are available at sfflc.givingfuel.com/JFK-play-on. More information about the event and past recipients of the award is available at jfkaward.com.
The Santa Fe Family Life Center is owned by the Columbus Corporation, a faith-based 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. The Columbus Corporation’s volunteer leadership seeks to provide individuals and organizations with access to sports and physical improvement opportunities that result in healthier, happier citizens. The SFFLC offers and promotes programs designed to empower disadvantaged youth and individuals with disabilities to achieve improved fitness and well-being. In addition to its charitable programs, the Santa Fe Family Life Center is a full service health club offering tennis, basketball, fitness, swimming, group exercise, personal training and pickleball. Patrick B. McGuigan, editor and publisher of The City Sentinel, contributed to this report. Pat is a former member of the Columbus Corporation Board of Directors.