By Darla Shelden, City Sentinel reporter –
THE CITY OF OKLAHOMA – The 2021 John F. Kennedy Community Service Awards Gala will honor Gene Rainbolt, Polly Nichols and Kris Steele on Tuesday, September 14. The event will take place at 6 p.m. at the Omni Hotel in Oklahoma City.
Proceeds from the awards dinner support the Santa Fe Family Life Center in its mission to provide recreation and athletic programs to underprivileged, physically or mentally challenged children and children with mental disabilities.
âThis year’s award winners are used to putting service above themselves,â said James Timberlake, executive director and CEO of the Santa Fe Family Life Center.
âEach of them has worked to give voice and opportunity to underserved populations in our state,â added Timberlake. âThese award winners don’t just talk – they walk the path of generosity every day. “
The John F. Kennedy Award honors individuals who make significant contributions to Oklahoma, its communities and its people, while honoring the memory of John F. Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the United States and a proud member of the Knights of Columbus.
At this year’s event, Gene Rainbolt will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in improving access to healthcare and education and healthcare outcomes for all Oklahoma residents. He has served numerous civic and charitable organizations, including the Stephenson Cancer Center, Calm Waters, the MD Anderson Foundation, and the Oklahoma Bankers Association.
Also honored that evening will be community volunteer and philanthropist Polly Nichols and former lawmaker and current nonprofit CEO Kris Steele.
Nichols has been involved in over 20 nonprofit organizations. A survivor of the Oklahoma City bombing, she co-chaired the $ 29 million fundraising campaign for the construction of the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. Nichols previously served as the Executive Director of the Oklahoma City Foundation for Excellence and worked for nonprofits including Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma, the Junior League, the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits and Allied Arts.
Steele is the executive director of TEEM, the Department of Employment and Education, a nonprofit organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty and incarceration in Oklahoma. A former lawmaker, having served as speaker of the House of Representatives, Steele has led efforts to reform health care, criminal justice and social services. Steele is currently a director of the Sarkeys Foundation.
This year will mark the tenth time that the John F. Kennedy Awards have been celebrated.
Previous winners include Vince Gill, Chickasaw Governor Bill Anoatubby, Mark Ruffin, Tricia Everest, Jenny Love Meyer, Frank and Cathy Keating, Brad and Kim Henry, Mick Cornett, Drew Edmondson, Toby Keith, Jack Mildren, Donna Nigh, George Nigh, Barry Switzer, Wayman Tisdale, Mike and Susan Turpen and David and Rhonda Walters. .
The Santa Fe Family Life Center is owned and operated by Columbus Corporation, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit faith-based organization. Columbus Corporation’s volunteer leadership seeks to provide individuals and organizations with access to athletic and physical improvement opportunities that result in healthier and happier citizens.
The SFFLC provides and promotes programs designed to empower disadvantaged youth and people with disabilities to improve their physical condition and well-being. In addition to its charitable programs, the Santa Fe Family Life Center is a full-service health club offering tennis, basketball, fitness, swimming, group exercise, personal training, and pickleball.
Ticket and sponsorship information for the John F. Kennedy Awards event is available by contacting James Timberlake or Kristi Birk Steinberg at 405-840-1817 or [emailÂ protected]. For more information on the event and past award winners, visit jfkaward.com