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February 4, 2014

Two to be honored at banquet

NORMAN — Steve and Barbara Owens will be honored March 6 at the ninth annual Sam Matthews Social Justice Award Banquet at the First Christian Church.

The event honors the memory of Norman resident Sam Matthews, while also recognizing significant and continuing work to help advance social justice.

Matthews was the first Realtor in Norman to sell a home to an African American couple in the 1960s. His action significantly magnified civil rights and is celebrated each year by honoring other members of our community who continue to embrace social justice and serve others in a meaningful way.

Steve and Barbara Owens have actively dedicated themselves to serving the development and enhancement of the Thunderbird Clubhouse in Norman.

Thunderbird Clubhouse is a place where people who have mental illness can come and rebuild their lives through pre-vocational training, paid employment, housing opportunities and purposeful social/recreational experiences.

Organizers said their vigorous work has helped ensure that Thunderbird Clubhouse is a vibrant community of men and women who are provided a path to recovery from mental illness. Their devotedness has helped the Clubhouse be a place of hope and caring where people can celebrate the strength they can gain from each other.

Steve and Barbara Owens have been keystones in creating a new future for adults recovering from mental illness through the power of meaningful work, community, choice and hope, according to a release.

Past recipients of the Sam Matthews Social Justice Award are Sam Matthews, Joe Ted Miller, Lester Reed, Kay Holladay, Jim Agar, George and Barbara Henderson, Kathy Heiple, and Dewey and Kathryn Selmon.

The March 6, banquet will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of First Christian Church, 220 S. Webster Ave. in Norman. Tickets are $30 each, with tables seating eight available for $210.

To purchase tickets, payment can be made by check payable to The Xenia Institute, mailed to The Xenia Institute, c/o First Christian Church, 220 S. Webster Ave., Norman, OK 73069.

For more information, contact Bob Thomas at bob.

thomas.xenia@gmail.com.

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