The ORU Report | OEC News

OEC Foundation board grants over $60,000 to local organizations, families

In 2023, the OEC Foundation marks the addition of new board members and celebrates its remarkable contribution of over $5.7 million in grants. These grants have been instrumental in assisting rural fire departments, supporting Special Olympics clubs and individuals in need, and fostering community unity.

Among the notable developments of 2023, the OEC Foundation proudly introduces its new board members. Dr. Jacob Smith, D.O., now serves as the representative for Ward 5, while Brandy Everett, hailing from Blanchard, assumes the role of Ward 9 representative. Additionally, Donna McCrory represents Ward 3, adding fresh perspectives to the Foundation’s mission.

Since its establishment in 1993, the Operation Round Up® (ORU) program has stood as a steadfast pillar of support for organizations and individuals within the OEC territory. Over the years, ORU has disbursed more than $5.7 million in grants. In October, The foundation awarded over $60,000 to organizations and individuals. Amber Volunteer Fire Department received a $4,000 grant, elevating their total received grants to an impressive $47,000 since 1993.

“Helping out the rural fire departments is one of the most important things we do,” said District 7 OEC Foundation board member Pat Ragsdale. “They protect our lives and livelihoods, and they do it for free.”

Amber is just one among more than 35 rural fire departments eligible for annual grants from the OEC Foundation, providing critical funding for fire truck repairs, personal protection equipment (PPE) and communication equipment upgrades.

Adding to the tapestry of community support, the Blanchard Special Olympics club received a $1,500 grant. This funding aids in their training and travel to the Special Olympics of Oklahoma games. This collaboration has flourished over the years, with Blanchard receiving a total of $18,000 in support since their initial application in 2009.

What truly distinguishes the ORU program is its capacity to create a personal impact. The Foundation has offered assistance to five individuals for vision care, addressed dental needs for two, and provided three individuals with mattresses and essential furniture. Many of these applicants are individuals in the process of recovering from life’s adversities, be they natural disasters or personal challenges. In these moments of need, ORU extends a compassionate hand to help them rebuild their lives. 8231335902

Vickie Gray, President of the OEC Foundation, underlines the significance of their support, highlighting the transformative effect of even seemingly simple acts like dental care.

“Some applicants are graduating from recovery programs and need their teeth fixed,” said Vickie Gray, OEC Foundation President. “Dental care is expensive, but a good first impression at a job interview is priceless. I am proud we can help people move forward positively.”

The OEC Foundation remains dedicated to its mission of aiding nonprofit organizations, individuals and families residing within the OEC service territory. The Foundation extends its support across six crucial areas: medical, food, clothing/household, housing, education and youth, and community service. While utility bills, credit card debt, or individual Christmas requests are excluded from coverage, the Foundation actively collaborates with various organizations involved in Christmas giving.

For those seeking assistance or wishing to apply for ORU grants, the applications are readily available at For further inquiries, individuals can contact Tory Tedder-Loffland at or call (405) 217-6726. Applications received by November 20 will be reviewed at the December 7 meeting.

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