My roots in Lawton run quite deep. My grandparents were proud members of the Lawton community. One grandfather was in the military and once he retired he chose to make Lawton his home. After retirement, he was very involved in his community, and was honored by having a spray park named after him – the Clement Washington Sr. Spray Park in Ranch Oaks. My other grandfather served as a police officer with the Lawton Police Department. Both my parents were raised in Lawton and went to Lawton Public Schools. My siblings and I also attended those same schools. I received both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Cameron University and enjoyed the small class sizes and that the faculty and staff knew me by name. Lawton has and always will be home for me and my family. And this is a city and community that I can honestly say I am proud to call my own.
It’s important for me to live in a community that embraces and places an emphasis on the health and wellness of the overall community. For the third year in a row, the City of Lawton has been recognized as a Certified Healthy Community of Excellence. This shows the Lawton community has a commitment to promote wellness, encourage healthy behaviors and establish a safe and supportive environment for those that live here.
One of my favorite Lawton events is the biannual Open Streets event. This event allows us to transform the street space in Downtown Lawton to a place where children and their families can come play in the streets. Many community partners come together to promote active lifestyles and transportation, provide information on community resources and help to create a sense of community. This event showcases the greatness that Lawton has to offer especially when we work together toward a common goal.
I am proud to live in a community that recognizes how important it is to promote that overall health and wellness. The Fit Kids of Southwest Oklahoma Coalition does a wonderful job of bringing together community partners to promote trailways and other opportunities residents can utilize to improve their health. Another great asset to the Lawton community is the Lawton Farmers Market. The Lawton Farmers Market provides access to those in the community to purchase locally grown produce and meat. Community members also have the chance to grow their own fresh fruits and vegetables through the Community Garden at Cameron University – another Fit Kids of Southwest Oklahoma initiative. I can think of no better way to teach our youth about the importance of eating healthy other than being able to offer them hands on experiences.
The health, wellness and quality of life of the community positively correspond with economic development. I am proud that our leaders recognize this important factor. I am also proud that we are a community that supports and provides resources for those who may find themselves experiencing financial instability. A partnership through the Lawton Salvation Army and the Comanche County Health Department, among other community partners and agencies, has birthed the “Getting Ahead In a Just Getting by World Program.” That program is an 18-20 week course where those living in financial instability are able to meet weekly to investigate the causes of their instability and explore the opportunities available to them within the community. The program seeks to build resources and social capital for those who are participating. It is beautiful to see so many community partners who either provide dinner, childcare, facilities or other resources in an effort to make sure the program succeeds.
I could go on and on about what makes me Lawton Proud. Through my career and volunteer activities I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of amazing people who live in this community. This is a city that cares about one another and the health and success of the community as a whole. I am so proud to call Lawton my home and to have the chance to participate in numerous events that enhance the city. I am happy to represent the City of Lawton as Ms. Black Oklahoma USA 2019 and I will continue to be an active participant in my community. Lawton is the place I am proud to call home and that’s why I’m Lawton Proud.