Tahlequah Daily Press

Features

February 11, 2014

Wilson: Volunteer should match the project

TAHLEQUAH — When former Sen. Jim Wilson chooses to volunteer, finding organizations with a common purpose and similar goals is important. He believes the skills and interests of the volunteer should match the organization’s needs and mission.

“I am rewarded with personal satisfaction from volunteering,” Wilson said. “If satisfaction is absent or the effort becomes a burden, I would be of little help.”

He is president of the Tahlequah Kiwanis Club, which raises raise money and volunteers service hours to strengthen communities and serve children. The membership, made up of scores of caring local citizens, meets weekly to plan and implement efforts to help children.

Wilson believes there are many other organizations with worthy causes in Cherokee County.

“Virtually all of them are challenged with raising money to support their mission,” said Wilson. “I think it’s important to be passionate about the cause and be prepared to contribute the time and effort necessary to make a difference.”

Wilson’s mother served as a model for volunteerism.

“She was generous with her time for causes and people in need,” he said. “Conversely, as a divorced mother of four, she occasionally received help from a community that knew we struggled financially.”

Like many people, Wilson has found time for volunteering after retirement, but he’s no stranger to community service. He also appreciates the value of citizenship in others.

“Retirement allowed me to offer some of my newly unstructured time to increase activity in efforts by local organizations whose missions enhance our city and county,” he said. “Having learned the value of volunteering, I lost my resolve as I pursued life and a career. Moving to Tahlequah almost 30 years ago, I observed a progressive community unparalleled in Oklahoma for its civic pride and public involvement.”

Wilson’s impetus for volunteering was spending time in the state Legislature.

“Frequently, my office would field citizen concerns and frustration demonstrating the cracks in our social fabric. It was no longer possible to ignore the bumps in society, many of which are addressed by local civic organizations and churches,” he said.

Prior to retiring, he was involved with the Program of Assertive Community Treatment. The purpose of the program is to lessen the debilitating symptoms of mental health issues, making it more likely the participant can live independently.

“By ensuring compliance with proper treatment, the probability is reduced for expensive in-patient psychiatric care or incarceration for legal infractions,” said Wilson.

There is a significant need for individual financial management of Social Security Disability benefits. If the Social Security Administration determines the recipient cannot properly manage the money, it will appoint a payee, he said.

“Many locals, including myself, volunteer to act in that capacity. Invariably the process is not as simple as merely depositing funds and paying bills,” he said. “As a practical matter, the benefits are generally insufficient to cover all the expenses many of us consider necessary, such as dental care. The payee typically becomes a resource or mentor for non-financial needs as well. If a professional manager is hired, the recipient will have less money available and less support for personal needs.

Historic preservation is a priority for Wilson, who has volunteered at the Thompson House for a dozen years.

“Tahlequah has lost many of its historical properties over the years,” he said. “The Thompson House was in disrepair and would probably have been destroyed had local citizens not organized to save and restore the property.”

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Cherokee Country is another group that benefits through Wilson’s volunteerism.

“Our mission is to advocate for safe, permanent homes for abused and neglected children. At the request of the juvenile court, volunteers work with the Department of Human Services, attorneys and community resources as a representative of the interests of children,” he said.

He is one of the original members of Northeast Oklahoma Regional Alliance, a multicounty collaboration giving the participants a regional identity and a common voice.

“We identify and promote regional priorities deemed important for long-term economic vitality and quality of life issues. With a consolidated voice representing a region of 600,000 people we are able to make rural needs as formidable as the needs of our friends in the metropolitan areas,” said Wilson.

Perhaps the most difficult issue he dealt with as a legislator, he said, was finding access to health care for constituents.

“With a median annual household income of $35,000 and a national average family insurance plan costing approximately $16,000, access is limited,” he said.

“We’re fortunate in Cherokee County that our Native American population has access to Cherokee Nation Health Services. Some have employer sponsored plans. Others are at a loss to find medical help.”

Wilson belongs to the Cherokee County Health Coalition, which was formed years ago to compare notes on a hepatitis C outbreak. Wilson is also a board member for NeoHealth.

“Consistent with generally accepted national goals of improving health indicators and my personal experience, I volunteered to be a board member of NeoHealth,” he said.

“Its mission is to serve an underserved area or population, offers a sliding fee scale and provides comprehensive services.”

1
Text Only
Features
  • Dream, Brewdog’s to host music festivals

    One sign of spring’s arrival is the scheduling of music festivals, and 10 bands will visit a Tahlequah venue May 24, the Saturday before Memorial Day.

    April 17, 2014

  • rf-Zoe-thing.jpg Conference attendees get words of encouragement

    Words of encouragement and door prizes were bountiful Saturday morning at the annual Zoë Institute’s Women’s Conference.
    Ten women shared words of wisdom in areas from happiness to health, and 100 gifts were given out, including the grand prize of gasoline for a year.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • sp-symposium-art-panel.jpg Panelists discuss impact of Southeastern art

    Until recently, most people had a certain expectation of American Indian art – and it didn’t include images familiar to people in and around Cherokee County.
    “A lot of times, when people think about Native art, they immediately think of Plains art or Southwestern art,” said Roy Boney (Cherokee), Tahlequah artist and moderator of the panel discussion “Southeastern Indian Art: Building Community and Raising Awareness,” held Friday, April 11, at the NSU Symposium on the American Indian.
    Boney and the other panelists are frustrated by the divide between mainstream expectations of Native American art and their need for genuine self-expression.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-Teacher.jpg Dickerson believes in putting the student first

    As a child growing up in Elk City, Cherokee Elementary teacher Debra Dickerson lined up the neighborhood children and animals to play school.
    “I’ve been a teacher ever since I could talk. My mother always said she knew where I was because she could hear me bossing everyone,” she said.
    The classroom then was a blanket tossed over limbs of her big cherry tree on Eisenhower Street. Recess was spent tree-climbing, running, riding in the bus (her red wagon) and being creative.
    “Those were the days before video games and TV,” she said.
    Dickerson, 2013-’14 Cherokee Elementary Teacher of the Year, believes a classroom should be a safe haven for children, because school is often the best part of their day.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • kh-trash-pickup.jpg Cleaning things up

    Lowrey was part of the Cherokee Nation’s Career Service Center contingency of 11 volunteers. Other volunteers cleaned up trash along the roadway from the Cherokee Casino to the NSU campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • SR-NinthAmendment.jpg Right to privacy leans partly on Article 9

    While the other articles of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights are straightforward – at least, enough for Americans to bicker over in court – the Ninth Amendment might cause a bit of confusion.
    It reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
    There are no rights enumerated, and it might be difficult to argue one’s Ninth Amendment rights in court, though it has been done successfully.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • stickball-2.jpg Stickball

    The American Indian Science and Engineering Society and Native American Student Associationat Northeastern State University hosted a traditional stickball game as part of closing cultural activities during the 42nd annual Symposium on the American Indian Friday. Participants included, from left: Nathan Wolf, Disosdi Elk and Chris Smith.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • green-bldng.jpg City council to discuss ‘green building’

    Tahlequah City Council will hold a special meeting Friday, April 11, at 5:30 p.m. to discuss, among other items, applying grant money to renovate the city’s “green building” at the corner of Water and Morgan, near Norris Park.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • alcohol-info.jpg Alcohol screening can be critical

    It has been decades since Prohibition brought Americans gangsters, flappers and speakeasies, but statistics for alcohol addiction are staggering.
    Millions of Americans suffer from alcohol addiction and abuse, which affects families and friends.
    Today, April 10, is the annual National Alcohol Screening Day, and raising awareness through education, outreach and screening programs is the goal, according to the website at www.mentalhealthscreening.org.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • jn-CCSO-2.jpg Law enforcement agencies to get new facility

    Area law enforcement agencies will soon have a new training facility in Cherokee County.
    The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office is building the new training room near its gun range, located north of the detention center. Sheriff Norman Fisher said tax dollars were not used for the building.
    “This is something we’ve been trying to work on, and it was built with no money from the taxpayers,” said Fisher. “It was paid for with drug forfeitures and gun sales.”

    April 9, 2014 2 Photos

Poll

What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Stocks