Dempsey Selected State Pioneer Volunteer

Gracy Dempsey, left, of Altus, receives the Pioneer Volunteer of the Year Award from Oklahoma Retired Educators Association Executive Director Sabra Tucker on Oct. 2.

Grace Dempsey, longtime volunteer and mentor in the Altus area, was presented with a certificate and a jeweled pin as recipient the State Pioneer Volunteer Award from Sabra Tucker from the Oklahoma State Retired Educators Association.

The presentation was Oct. 2, following the Coffee Cup program at the Altus Public Library. The presentation was videotaped by Sharon Cox, OREA Assistant to Executive Director, and will be shown at the state convention on Nov. 12 in Tulsa.

The Jackson County Retired Educators Association nominated Dempsey for the award, which is open to nominees age 85 and older. Dempsey turned 100 in May.

Since she retired from school teaching in 1984, Dempsey has been a member of the Oklahoma Retired Educators Association. Dempsey had continued her love for learning and education by serving as an adult literacy tutor for the Great Plains Literacy Council since 2005.

Since she has lived at the Tamarack Assisted Living Center in Altus, Dempsey has tutored an ESL (English as Second Language) adult learner at the retirement center. From September 2018 to April 2019, she taught for 111.5 hours. Most active volunteer tutors donate less than a total of 40 hours teaching during that period.

The Independent Sector has placed a value of $22.95/hour on her volunteer hours, totaling a savings of about $2,560 for her services with the Great Plains Literacy Council. This volunteer offered encouragement and support to her learner, who increased his English skills based on testing scores.

In the past year, Dempsey also has paid, for other retirees, the OREA state dues, county dues, and donations to the Retired Educators Scholarship Fund at the WOSC Foundation.

Dempsey loves hosting visitors and enjoys participating in activities and events at Tamarack Assisted Living. She is a member of Tamarack Road Church of Christ. She has also enjoyed attending the Friends of the Library monthly community programs called “Coffee Cup” about books, authors or musicals and helped provide refreshments last December.

In May, Dempsey was inducted into the Centenarians of Oklahoma Honor Roll. She was also featured at the Museum of Western Prairie as one of the county Living History Vignettes. She shared stories about her Dust Bowl experiences, as told by Glyna Olson of Altus, at two events sponsored by the Western Trail Historical Society.

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