Tahlequah Daily Press

Features

November 8, 2012

Agency a fulfilling path for Franke

TAHLEQUAH — Thirty years ago, when Deana Franke saw a flyer at the library asking for domestic violence hotline volunteers, she thought it would be a good way to meet people and give something back to the community.

Over the past three decades, Franke not only has volunteered for Help-In-Crisis, but she rose to the rank of executive director, and has helped thousands of women and families escape violent home situations. Now, she’s set to retire at the end of the year.

“I started in 1980 as a hotline worker after seeing a flyer at the library when I took my two young sons to story hour,” said Franke. “Mary Jo Cole and Eva Galluzzi were in that first training [class] with me. The agency was all-volunteer at that time, with Linda Axley, Lynne McAllister and Dr. Amy Blackburn providing training to interested community members.”

HIC had its beginnings in 1980 as an idea in the minds and the hearts of local individuals – including mental health professional, law enforcement officials, medical personnel and other social service workers – who had seen the need for organized, easily obtainable, 24-hour assistance for people in crisis.

In fall 1980, a board of directors with 12 members was formed, and the name Help-In-Crisis was chosen. The following spring, HIC was set to train volunteers for the crisis line and transporting women and children to shelters around the state.

“I also thought [getting involved] would be a good way to meet people who care about their community,” said Franke. “I did not have an easy childhood, but violence and fear were not part of my life as I grew up. I was so surprised by the number of families experiencing domestic violence and the sheer terror that controlled these homes. The hotline training made me feel there was something I could do to help.”

As she continued in the work, Franke was struck by the strength of the women HIC served.

“My sweet husband [Mike] encouraged me, and we began to provide a safe home for families that had nowhere to go,” said Franke. “Seeing those women and children on my couch and front room floor was a turning point for me.”

As time has passed, HIC has grown exponentially, offering services in Cherokee, Adair, Wagoner and Sequoyah counties, with a shelter in Tahlequah.

Franke has countless fond memories of her time spent at the agency.

“I remember when the board bought our first shelter,” said Franke. “It was such a great day to have somewhere safe and decent for families to go. The day I was made executive director was a biggie, and my knees shook for months. The day the military volunteers came from Muskogee and helped us move into our new facility stands out, as their dedication and hard work were beyond any call of duty.”

Franke attributes her commitment to the agency to several mentors, all of whom have been involved with HIC in one way or another.

“Linda Axley has helped me throughout the past 30 years,” said Franke. “She is smart, no-nonsense, and is always ready to listen and help. She is also kind, funny and focused. Pam Moore, the first executive director, is one of my best friends and I have learned so much from her. She is one of the best teachers I have ever known. She is also a great listener, and has the best way of helping you to see the real issues time and again.”

Franke also credits two board members, Margaret Elgin Smith and Bill Morris, for helping her maintain her focus.

“Also, Mike Skinner and John Yeutter have given me hope that men can and will play a role in stopping this vicious tragic cycle in families,” said Franke.

But what stands out most for Franke are the memories of the people HIC has helped.

“My most cherished memories are the faces of the women through the years who figured out they do not have to live in violence and fear, and took the steps to stop the cycle in their own lives,” she said. “I must admit that raising three young children and watching them grow into smart, caring members of their community is my most precious achievement.”

As with any non-profit charitable agency, funding has always been HIC’s greatest challenge.

“Keeping services available in the four counties we serve has proved almost impossible at times,” said Franke. “The winning of a federal grant twice in the past 10 years was such a help, but when you cannot maintain those services, once communities are expecting a staff member to be available, that is very discouraging.”

Franke said her work, while rewarding, hasn’t been without heartbreak.

“[I hate] losing exceptional staff members to better benefits and salaries,” she said. “[It’s also heartbreaking] to see the second and third generation of survivors come into our office for services. I genuinely, naively, believed this was a problem we could solve, and it has proved to be exceptionally tenacious.”

Franke said she will most miss the “lightbulb moment” when a survivor realizes she or he will not stand for abuse any longer.

“I will so miss that spark in a survivor’s eye when she – or he – knows they will no longer tolerate abuse,” said Franke. “Also, I will miss the problem-solving that goes on every day as we try to find ways to light that spark.”

Margaret Cook has been selected by the board of directors to assume Franke’s post in January, after she completes her juris doctorate. Cook is a longtime Tahlequah resident, and has worked with HIC in a number of capacities, including directing the Helping You Grow prevention project and as a child advocate at the shelter.

 

To see the complete version of this article, subscribe to the Daily Press e-edition by following the link below.

Click here to get the entire Tahlequah Daily Press delivered every day to your home or office.

Click here to get a free trial or to subscribe to the Tahlequah Daily Press electronic edition. It's the ENTIRE newspaper (without the paper) for your computer, iPad or e-reader.

1
Text Only
Features
  • 22ndAmendment.jpg Presidential terms limited by 22nd Amendment

    The past 30 years have been marked by occasional grumbling from one American political party, and celebration from the other - depending on who occupies the White House - about the disqualification of a president after eight years of service.
    For much of the nation’s history, a presidency could last indefinitely.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • sg-Paperbacks.jpg Paperbacks still survive in the digital age

    In an era when mobile technology is always at hand, most people can access an electronic book at any time. Such literary luxuries weren’t widely available to previous generations until the dawn of the paperback book.
    Wednesday, July 30, is set as a day to celebrate the low-cost, portable book during National Paperback Book Day.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-skydiver-tomahawk.jpg Former resident tapped for national skydiving award

    A man known locally for putting Tahlequah on the international map by bringing world-class skydiving events to town is being inducted in the National Skydiving Museum Hall of Fame in October.
    Norman Heaton said he’s very honored to be selected for the prestigious award given to people who have made significant contributions to the sport of skydiving.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20th-Amendment.jpg Inauguration day changed by 20th Amendment

    Sometimes an amendment is added to the U.S. Constitution that is uncontroversial and virtually unlitigated.
    Such is the 20th Amendment, which moved the seating of the new Congress and the presidential inauguration day to January, and enumerates procedure if a president-elect dies or cannot take office.
    Because the “Lame-Duck Amendment” addresses procedure, it is long.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-School-Fashion.jpg Fashion show to feature local teachers

    A fun fashion event that will provide funds for one lucky area school is coming up next weekend.
    Local teachers and students have until Tuesday, July 22, to sign up for the Teacher and Student Back 2 School Fashion Show at Arrowhead Mall in Muskogee.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-actress.jpg TV’s ‘Mistresses’ has second local tie

    Tahlequah has at least two ties to the TV drama “Mistresses.”
    Local florist Josh Cottrell-Mannon designed the flower arrangements for the show’s season finale, and Arriane Alexander, daughter of local resident Sharilyn Young, is portraying a television news reporter.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-Stark-Sequoyah.jpg Stark enjoys making a difference

    Kristin Stark, Sequoyah Elementary Teacher of Year, loves teaching, and has a desire to make a positive difference in the lives of children.
    “I love making a difference in the lives of children; it is a wonderful feeling to make a positive impact on a child,” said Stark.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • sr-19thAmendment.jpg Women got the vote with 19th Amendment

    During its first 140 years, the United States Constitution underwent a series of changes intended to extend voting rights to those who were not white or didn’t own property - but as the American experiment entered the 20th Century, half the adult population still had no protection to vote.
    Though they certainly had political opinions, women could not cast a ballot in most states. That changed with passage of the 19th Amendment.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • renee-storyteller.jpg Cherokee, Tlingit storytellers to share their craft during special NSU event

    Two Native American cultures will be represented during a storytelling workshop featuring Cherokee Gayle Ross and Tlingit and Cherokee dancer and storyteller Gene Tagaban, of Seattle.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 1-ts CN opt 1.jpg Cherokees commemorate Act of Union

    Cherokee Nation dignitaries met on the historic courthouse square Tuesday to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the Act of Union following the end of the Trail of Tears Removal.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Stocks