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Former Governors Recognized by Keep Oklahoma Beautiful

FORMER GOVERNORS RECOGNIZED BY KEEP OKLAHOMA BEAUTIFUL
Keep Oklahoma Beautiful Presented the Pendleton Woods Award

Keep Oklahoma Beautiful (KOB) held its 50th Anniversary Celebration on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City.

During the event, KOB honored former governors of Oklahoma, who were instrumental in the organization’s founding and continued success. With many prestigious honorees and guests in attendance this event was an unforgettable evening.


*(Left to right): Governor Brad Henry, Kim Henry, Donna Nigh,
Governor George Nigh, Joyce Sherrer and former Sec. of Environment, Gary Sherrer*

In recognition of this historical milestone and all that they have contributed to the success and longevity of Keep Oklahoma Beautiful, KOB presented the Pendleton Woods Award to Governor and Mrs. George & Donna Nigh who were present to receive their award and posthumously to Governor and Mrs. Henry & Shirley Bellmon, whose daughters Ann and Pat were present to accept their parents award.

Named in memory of a longtime supporter and advocate for Keep Oklahoma Beautiful, this award recognizes those individuals whose vision, dedication, and support nurtured this organization in its early years and ensured that it would succeed and serve the citizens of our state.

The first of the two awards went to Governor & Mrs. Henry & Shirley Bellmon. During Governor Henry Bellman’s first term in office, First Lady Shirley took on a roadside beautification project. Her goal was not just to clean roadsides of trash and debris, but also to go a step further and plant wildflowers in roadsides throughout our state. That mission found its home in the Highway Department and, in April 1965, Articles of Incorporation were officially filed to create Keep Oklahoma Beautiful. Mrs. Bellmon’s roadside wildflower project continues today at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.


*(Left to right): KOB Executive Director, Jeanette Nance,
Governor Henry Bellmon's daughters, Pat Hoerth and Ann Denney*

The second award went to Governor & Mrs. George & Donna Nigh who understood the importance of our mission. A program that could have easily been cut for lack of funding or loss of interest instead found itself moved across Lincoln Boulevard from the Highway Department into the Governor’s Office. During this crucial time in our history, Governor Nigh’s staff administered Keep Oklahoma Beautiful until the organization could stand on its own. In fact, state archives have no fewer than 10 boxes of documents from his administration concerning KOB. That is 10 boxes of meeting minutes, correspondence, literature, artwork, budgets and more. This was more than a part-time job for a staffer. This was a commitment to bringing together stakeholders, building a volunteer base, and creating a viable organization to enhance the beauty of our towns and cities, our neighborhoods and our state. His encouragement that began state agency support to keep us growing continues today.


*(Left to right): KOB Executive Director, Jeanette Nance,
Mrs. Donna Nigh and Governor George Nigh* 

KOB also recognized former governor, Brad Henry and First Lady Kim Henry for their support of the organization during their time in office.

KOB’s Executive Director, Jeanette Nance expanded on the importance of recognizing where the organization began.

“We are not celebrating 50 years of an organization’s success. We are celebrating 50 years of the success of those people who have dedicated their time, energy, and in some cases their careers to this state that we all love, “ said Nance. “We also take this time to celebrate the success of all those who have worked to make Keep Oklahoma Beautiful what it is today.”

KOB is celebrating this milestone throughout the year in many different ways. If you would like to help KOB continue to do the great works throughout the state please consider contributing to their organization.

This campaign is called 50k in 50 Days in celebration of their 50th anniversary and will run until May 30th. Funds raised through this campaign will assist Keep Oklahoma Beautiful in furthering their programs.

Keep Oklahoma Beautiful’s mission is to empower Oklahoma citizens to preserve and enhance the state's natural beauty and ensure a healthy, sustainable environment.

For more information regarding the event or 50k in 50 Days please visit our website. Event photos may be found on KOB's Flickr.

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