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Shawnee Pastor Named 2010 Oklahoma Andrus Award Winner

Dr. John Edwards, a pastor from Shawnee, was named the winner of the 2010 Andrus Award for Community Service during an awards ceremony held in Oklahoma City.

Edwards is a member of the AARP Oklahoma Executive Council and has been instrumental in the state’s outreach efforts to American Indians.

A former governor of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe, Dr. Edwards presently serves as a Peacemaker with the District Court of the Chickasaw Nation. He also serves as a volunteer in the Shawnee Public School Indian Education Program and is pastor of the Fellowship of American Indians Church in Chickasha.

Other nominees were:

Essie Childs, Oklahoma City; P.J. Choate, Weatherford; Earleine Harman, Blackwell; Patricia Hayes, Muskogee; Hazel McDaniel, Shawnee; Imogene Nikkel, Del City; John Earl Thompson, Ardmore; and Oveda Touchstone, Clinton.

Essie Childs is a board member of the Northeast Oklahoma City AARP Chapter and is always willing to help at exhibits and events. Her volunteer activities include working at the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church Food Pantry, Meals on Wheels, the Ralph Ellison Library and the Salvation Army.

P.J. Choate has served five years as President of the Weatherford AARP Chapter, is a Driver Safety Instructor, 770 Team member and worked at the AARP exhibit at the Pioneer Center Fair. Her volunteer activities include serving as a long-term care ombudsman, Triad, the Ladies VFW Auxiliary, NARFE, Alateen, and St. Vincent DePaul. She also teaches arts & crafts classes at the Pioneer Center.

Earleine Harman is hostess for the Blackwell AARP Chapter. She works in bake sales and fundraisers and is a member of the 770 Team. Her volunteer activities include church work, OHCE, Head start/Pre-School, Eastern Star, VFW Auxiliary, the American Legion, ALKO and Good Buy Thrift Shoppe. She also provides transportation to those in need and makes visits to nursing homes and hospitals.

Pat Hayes is a member of the Muskogee AARP Chapter where she keeps members informed on events, special requests and meetings. She coordinates donations to the Muskogee Veteran’s Hospital, where she also serves as a volunteer, and the Friendly Visits Program at the local nursing home. Her other volunteer activities include: Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Muskogee Parks Department, and Muskogee Regional Medical Center.

Hazel McDaniel is a member of the Shawnee AARP Chapter #2654 and a retired educator. At age 91, she continues to volunteer four days a week. Among her volunteer activities she reads to students, cooks for the Salvation Army and inspires others to volunteer for a day in every nursing home in Shawnee.

Imogene Nikkel is an AARP Chapter member and has been active in AARP’s Day of Service project at the local Senior Nutrition site. She is a Deaconess at her church where she provides transportation for a local resident to church as well as the grocery story. She is a volunteer in the Retired Senior Volunteer Program and the State Fair vendor hospitality.

John Earl Thompson is a member of the Ardmore AARP Chapter. He is volunteer director and founder of the Dunbar Senior Nutrition Program and President of the Board for Dunbar Heritage Senior Apartments. John is a volunteer for the Oklahoma Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, Ardmore Teenage Crime Stoppers, Ardmore Crime Stoppers, United Way, YMCA, Family Shelter and the Mayor’s Anti-Crime Task Force. He also serves as Chairman of the Community Action Program.

Oveda Touchstone is a board member of the Custer County AARP Chapter. In addition to serving as a caregiver, her volunteer activities include the Clinton Regional Hospital Auxiliary, her local church’s Uplift ministry, the American Cancer Society, the local nursing Center, and area women and children’s shelters.

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