“Jaci has focused her entire career on bettering the world around her through her intense dedication to provide life-changing opportunities for youth. She has made a commitment to children not only here in Norman but around the globe,” Drummond said.
Merrick said Williams’ biography doesn’t do justice to Jaci’s remarkable dedication to public service.
In addition to previously mentioned accomplishments, Williams was also the founder of Court Appointed Special Advocates in Oklahoma, an organization consisting of volunteers who represent the best interests of abused and neglected children who are wards of juvenile courts.
She also developed the Secret Santa program under Department of Human Services supervision, providing gifts for foster and special needs children.
“Because of her leadership, this initiative started with 65 children and now serves 700 every year,” Merrick said.
Williams also served as a youth director at her church for numerous years and had a seat on the Pioneer Library System board for seven years, six of which she was president. She was also a past president of Norman Arts and Humanities and served as president numerous times in the Jazz in June Music Festival that she helped develop.
Merrick read a quote from Sabine Keppenne, one of 13 international students that Williams personally hosted, that talks about her ongoing encouragement:
“She has always made me believe that ‘everything is possible,’ as long as you are working on it. Every major decision made in my life, she was part of it. She is always willing to share her knowledge. She made me believe in the power of leadership and communication skills but also the importance of being active in my life. She helped me become a better version of herself. Never underestimate the power of the red glasses!”
Williams was very thankful for the award and said she was “astounded.”