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Local care providers recognized Thursday by the Fires Chapter of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) include, from left, Cari Holden, the Rev. Brandon Johnson, Gary Kinne, Kelly Walker, Charlotte Sutton, Tammie Shroll, Idella Gifford and Jeri Mosiman. Not pictured is the Rev. Norma Quinn.

Nine who volunteer on behalf of local veterans recognized, honored at annual AUSA reception

Nine people who volunteer regularly to brighten the lives of local veterans were publicly thanked at the fifth annual Association of the United States Army (AUSA) "Fires Chapter" Care Provider Reception Reception on Thursday.

"Robert F. Kennedy stated that 'few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in total all of those acts will be written the history of this generation,'" Fires Chapter President Jim Hankins quoted.

Hankins said this speaks to those in the community who are "going out and doing things, not to be seen or recognized, but to help others. As such AUSA Fires Chapter will formally recognize, pay tribute and present an award to those who do so much for our community."

The honorees

The Rev. Norma Quinn, pastor of Centenary United Methodist Church. She and her congregation were among the earliest supporters of the Southwest Oklahoma Stand Down, which they have hosted every year since its inception in 2013. "They provide a perfect location tailored specifically to meet the needs of the many supporting organizations that come together to provide a myriad of services to our homeless veterans. Norma and her congregation plan, coordinate and set up the entire site. They open their hearts and their church to our community's homeless veterans. (Her) leadership has been instrumental to the success of the Stand Down and without it the event would not have been the success it has," Hankins said.

The Rev. Brandon Johnson, pastor of First Christian Church of Lawton, "where he 'calls for communities of faith to move beyond physical walls, engage young communities and practice deep spirituality.'" He and his congregation have stepped in to fill a critical need for the Stand Down. Previously, there were multiple collection points for donations, which made transportation an obstacle to be overcome the day of the event. First Christian Church is across the street from Centenary United Methodist, and it met this need by opening the church as a one-stop shop for all donations. The church accepted, organized, prepared and delivered all the donations to the Stand Down on the day of need. They not only stabilized the most chaotic part of the preparation but turned it into a strength of the event. Johnson also serves as an acting board member of Habitat for Humanity.

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