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2007 - Lifetime Achievement Award - Morton Payne, Oklahoma City

Morton Payne (right) accepts the prestigious crystal trophy as the 2007 Keep Oklahoma Beautiful Lifetime Achievement Award recpient from Howard Ground (left), KOB board president-elect
Anyone who has visited Kansas City knows that among its special charms are the plentiful parks, gardens and fountains.  This is the environment our Lifetime Achievement Award honoree called his boyhood home and its positive
impact has reverberated across the years to all of central Oklahoma.

Morton Payne discovered at an early age the link between thoughtful landscaping and economic success.  He also knew that landscaping would never top a city's budget agenda, so he has spent much of his life leading by example and encouraging others to be advocates for neighborhood parks and gardens.

Today he's recognized as a respected businessman, a premier volunteer, a community leader, an environmental advocate, a friend of the Oklahoma City Zoo, a brilliant negotiator and a champion of trees.

He raised more than one million dollars for the Myriad Botanical Gardens, the largest gift ever for community
beautification in the capitol city.  For this and an amazing array of services to other city parks projects, he has received the Crystal Orchid Award from the Myriad Botanical Gardens Foundation, the Friends of Our Parks Award, and the Mayor's Award for Beautification.

He also led the volunteers – personally spending thousands of hours -- in one of the most complex real estate
development partnerships ever in Oklahoma between the public and private sectors, the Remington Park Racetrack lease.  By linking this deal to the Oklahoma City Zoo, the funding significantly benefitted the zoo, the city and the entire state.

His service has extended to the Oklahoma City Community Foundation as a member of its grants review board,
affecting beautification projects throughout central Oklahoma, and he arranged for the planting of 168 donated crape myrtles at the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

During an eight-year term as chairman and president of the Tree Bank Foundation, he led countless
beautification, landscaping and tree planting projects.  He has overseen the Tornado ReLeaf project and providing the Tree Bank's educational guidebook to the Gulf states damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

The sum of his contributions truly is awe-inspiring.  If it's in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area and it!s beautiful, green and growing, Morton probably had a hand in it.  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Keep Oklahoma Beautiful's 2007 Lifetime Achievement award winner – the inspiring Morton Payne!