Along the journey, they never stopped sharing their time, talents and treasury. Daughter Shannon Carter read a list of non-profits her parents have involved themselves with over their years in Norman. Her parents, she said, not only took on projects but they provided opportunities for their children to make a difference even at elementary school level.
“They are bridge builders and they are waymakers,” Carter said. “Loving your neighbor and serving your community is pretty much who they are.”
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Dewey, a third of the football trio, but only a ninth of the Eufaula, Okla., Selmon family, was thankful that his parents, Lucious and Jessie Selmon, instilled the value of hard work, education and community in their children. He said the same God that gave Sam Matthews the courage to find a home for the Hendersons guided his family to help those less fortunate in Liberia and elsewhere.
“I know your hearts. It’s not an award that drives any of you. It’s your hearts,” he told the banquet audience.
Kathryn, known as one of the founders of Norman’s Food and Shelter, deflected her own recognition in favor of Mama Feta, the orphanage director in Liberia that has sheltered hundreds of children over the years. Rebels forced her to take in the children or die.
“She is the most faithful person I have ever met and the most selfless person I have ever met,” she said. “I’m receiving an award for doing what I think is right. But if you’re not trying to make life better for someone else, what’s the point?”