Editorial

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Amanda Taylor: Compassion on “The Road Less Traveled”

justin brotton - Tuesday, July 01, 2014

By Keith Eaton


“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

– Robert Frost


There is a sense of timing, Providence perhaps; when truth revealed becomes determinative in the choices a person makes … choices that make all the difference. And so it was that in early adulthood, Amanda Taylor’s father made her aware of his difficult, traumatic childhood. He was bandied about among foster homes until landing in one where he was maltreated to the point of isolation, thirst, hunger and solitary confinement in a bathroom. Yet, adulthood found him not just surviving but thriving, thanks to a singular act of kindness by the family that adopted him and gave to him the home, love and care that “made all the difference.”

“My father’s experience and his reaction to it came to me not in childhood, but young adulthood, when I was deciding the course my life would take. His example is a constant reminder of the power of one person’s intervention in another’s life or in society at large. That truth remains both a challenge and a guide to my actions,” Amanda confesses.

So it was that this midwestern lady found her way from Bloomfield, Indiana to the University of Florida. As with many young people, her initial career thoughts – she was attracted to microbiology – proved not to be her life’s work.

“My freshman chemistry class was dropped in short order,” Taylor laughingly relates.

Fortunately, Amanda was an active participant in the university’s debate club programs, where she quickly discovered her real talents to be research, writing, public speaking and people-to-people interaction. Reflecting on these early experiences resulted in a change of university major to broadcast journalism and a career path that has been both fulfilling and successful.

After graduation, Amanda began her career in television news reporting and journalism with station WUFT in Gainesville, Florida, and then to Wichita Falls, Texas with the management and staff of KAUZ.

“My first two work experiences permitted me, then a neophyte reporter and news anchor, to make my mistakes in relatively small markets where a career is not likely to be damaged beyond repair by rookie mistakes,” Amanda notes.

Next stop, KENS in San Antonio followed by her present home, Oklahoma’s KWTV News 9 evening news anchor and consumer affairs reporter. The diverse cultural experiences gained from her work in Florida, Texas and Oklahoma have broadened Taylor’s view of the people and events she is reporting to and about.

“Indianans are salt of the earth people, and I benefited from observing and experiencing their simple acts of kindness, loyalty to their own, and real caring attitudes. Each place I’ve worked has influenced me personally and professionally; the people have helped me grow as a person as well as a journalist and reporter, ” said Taylor.

Taylor has been in the role she enjoys at News 9 for eight years, with each year bringing increasing responsibility and opportunity for investigating issues of consumer fraud and safety. When asked to describe the stories that matter the most to her and keep her motivated in her role, there is no hesitation in her response.

“I keep a photograph in my office of me on the witness stand in a trial for a con artist who was cheating innocent people out of large sums by pretending to be an advocate for them against utility companies and supposed overcharging of customers. Working with the FBI and others, I set up a sting operation and caught the guy in the very act of fraudulent activity. He’s currently serving time in a federal facility. That success reminds me that what I do is important to ordinary people,” Amanda confirms.

A normal day in Taylor’s life brings cards, notes, emails, Tweets and a call or two from concerned and thankful citizens, everyday Oklahomans, appreciative of the work she performs to inform and protect all of us from those who would seek to harm us through a variety of schemes.

A multi-faceted and seeming tireless advocate for people of all ages and circumstances, Taylor is a champion for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, and in particular the Food for Kids initiatives. These include the backpack program that provides a weekend supply of nutritious food and snacks to deserving youngsters each Friday during the school year, Kids Café for at-risk kids during the summer break, summer feeding that attends the nutritional needs of kids ages 1-18, and the School Pantry that provides food for middle school and high school children for weekend consumption.

People working at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and News 9 know Amanda’s fundraising efforts have yielded extraordinary results and directly benefited hundreds of kids in need. Rodney Bivens, Executive Director of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, witnesses to the results of Amanda’s efforts.

“Amanda Taylor is a beacon of hope to the one in four children in Oklahoma who struggles with hunger every day,” said Bivens. “Not only has Amanda raised awareness about the issue of childhood hunger as a News 9 anchor, she has also donated countless volunteer hours to the cause. Her connection to the issue through her own father’s struggles with hunger as a child has given her a unique perspective and heightened compassion. Since 2010, News 9 and Amanda have raised more than $500,000 for the Regional Food Bank’s Food for Kids programs.”

Anyone wishing to partner with Amanda in her support and advocacy of the Food Bank can get complete information about the organization, including how to become a volunteer worker, a donor, an advocate and much more at their website at http://www.regionalfoodbank.org.

But Amanda has other important roles as an exceptional cook, a wife and mother. Our readers are invited to view her recipes (including the “Best Salmon Ever”) and read her informative and humorous Amada’s Baby Page, accessible from the News 9 website – www.news9.com.

“My family’s life, like that of other young professionals, was both blessed and made complex when our baby came into our lives. My hubby and I had to adjust our lifestyles for our little boy. That included sharing household duties, learning to let go of non-essentials (our living room can look in complete disarray, but the chalk figures drawn or scribbled on the driveway are much more important to the three of us); and making quality time more important than quantity” says Amanda.

Looking to the future, Amanda remains overwhelmed with her reception and acceptance by her News 9 colleagues and the watching public, and is truly amazed by how quickly the last eight years have passed.

“I love Oklahomans, my management and peers at the station, and can’t imagine doing anything else. This state has the friendliest and most supportive people I have encountered in my travels. I distinctly remember the line of people that was several blocks long bringing donations of needed items to our station’s collection facility in the days following the Moore tornado disaster. It was an impression I won’t forget any time soon,” states Amanda.

So although a transplanted Hoosier, Oklahomans consider Amanda to be one of their own. Adoption can be wonderful thing … in this case, a Distinctly Oklahoma thing.

Senator James (Jim) M. Inhofe: Securing the Blessings of Liberty

justin brotton - Sunday, June 01, 2014

By Keith A. Eaton

The preamble to our constitution spells out the core values of America. Upholding those values just happens to be the guiding principle that motivates Senator Jim Inhofe in his quest to be the best senator he can be, for Oklahoma and the nation.

Securing the blessings of liberty for our posterity and ourselves reflects Inhofe’s sense of urgency as he conducts his duties with an eye to directness, efficiency, clarity and pace while incorporating the long view in his legislative proposals. No quick fix, knee-jerk legislation is likely to gain his support.

“The constitution spells out only a limited number of duties that the central government is to perform, certainly not the myriad of actions currently undertaken, particularly by the current administration, that seeks to intervene in the lives of everyday citizens at great cost to their liberty,” states a concerned Inhofe.

The Senator performs his duties, not based on polls, but on information he personally gathers by visiting his Oklahoma constituency every weekend in direct face-to-face meetings with businessmen, civic leaders, blue-collar working people, farmers and ranchers.

Inhofe has served in Oklahoma’s state legislature, both house and senate, and served three mayoral terms in his home city of Tulsa, where he executed a successful business career and completed a B.S. degree from the University of Tulsa. This extensive résumé of life experience complemented with a tour in the U.S. Army has proven invaluable to his 20 years in the U.S. Senate. But those 20 years have not made him victim to Potomac Fever, as his schedule makes clear.

“The reason I’m not constantly seen on the Sunday television talk shows is that I’m either in Oklahoma, the Middle East or Africa assessing for myself the issues I need to address on behalf of the American people and Oklahoma in particular,” explains Inhofe.

As the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services committee, Inhofe is positioned to influence policy, budgetary and legislative actions that directly affect his primary interest – the defense of our country through a strong, well financed, trained and equipped military.

“The current administration had consistently sought to diminish our military readiness in every aspect through the cancellation of weapon systems, retrenchment of our offshore installations, and lowering morale among both enlisted personnel and our career leadership,” says Inhofe, who pulls no punches in his assessment.

An examination of the administration’s record supports his position considering the effort in the president’s first budget to kill the F-22 Raptor jet fighter, opposition to continued production of the C-17 military transport plane, and cancellation of the ground-based interceptor installation in Poland.

Intercepting such budgetary proposals designed to diminish our capability and capacity to defend our freedoms and protect our allies is not the first time Jim has acted decisively to thwart such attempts. First in 1995 and continuing periodically, the dovish members of congress, usually with administration support, attempt to act under the umbrella of the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission to accomplish their downsizing of our military. Inhofe led the successful fight against another round of closures in last year’s congressional session.

Inhofe’s efforts have resulted in creating 4,000 new military and civilian jobs based in Oklahoma installations, including a 3.8 million-square-foot hanger for the Tinker Aerospace Complex, KC 46A aircraft maintenance facility improvements and moving Boeing C-130 contract work from California to Tinker, resulting in the relocation of some 500 engineering and technical jobs. Additionally, Inhofe’s efforts have directly benefited Vance Air Force Base with funding for a $10 million-dollar traffic control tower. Ft. Sill benefited from funding for barracks, firing range infrastructure and modernization of the Paladin mobile artillery system.

The Senator’s second major focus is national infrastructure. Maintaining our national interstate highway complex, interchanges and bridges is another job that is a responsibility of the federal government in partnership with state authorities. Again, our Senator’s efforts achieved results benefiting Oklahoma and the nation’s economy.

As a major supporter of the TEA-21 legislation, Inhofe’s efforts rewarded Oklahoma by moving the state from a net tax donor to the National Highway Trust Fund to a net receiver. In concrete terms, Oklahoma went from a decade average receipt of $269 million to a six-year average of some $400 million, an increase of 56 percent. Similarly, as author of TEA-LU, the Senator’s work sent $3 billion in taxes back to Oklahoma for road and bridge improvements.

Not one to relax, Inhofe has continued his fight to make Oklahoma a net receiver of funds. As co-sponsor of MAP-21 legislation, Inhofe indeed accomplished that goal with Oklahoma’s receipt of $600 million annually for the period 2012-2014 to support the continued repair of our state’s roads and bridges.

Traveling the state on a regular schedule, visiting Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers has given the senator the information he needs to fight the EPA’s regulation overreach (attempting to regulate DUST in farm country). The input from constituents has focused Inhofe’s efforts to make water supply and distribution adequate to the demands of our state agricultural community. His persistence in the effort to reauthorize the Water Resources Development Act is evidence of his commitment to the Oklahoma agra community. In particular, he has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to reduce regulation and increase water supplies to critical areas of Oklahoma farming and ranching in Southwest Oklahoma.

Beyond domestic affairs, Inhofe keeps his finger on the pulse of the Middle East by traveling to the various hotspots of the region every fifth weekend to assess personally the morale of our troops, the state of unrest in the Iraqi and Afghan governments, and remain prepared to make knowledge-based decisions in his various committee roles.

Africa has occupied Inhofe from a geopolitical, economic and humanitarian perspective for the last decade. During one of his many trips to that continent, he encountered a small, malnourished child who was subsequently adopted by a compassionate and loving Arkansas family. The child, Zagita Marie Inhofe, is now 12 and has spoken at the senator’s annual Africa Dinner.

“There are hundreds of American families willing to adopt one of these African orphans and provide them a loving home. The political and bureaucratic red tape bordering on corruption and bribery stands in the path. It’s a human tragedy that I care deeply about,” relates Inhofe.

The senator has made clear his intention to seek another term to continue the work that he has dedicated a significant part of his life to accomplishing.

“I have more to do to restore America’s national defense, military and economy,” Inhofe affirms.

Inhofe has clearly and articulately stated his views on the current debate over climate change, previously known as global warming, on the floor of the senate and in his book, “The Greatest Hoax.”

“The EPA, White House and the environmental alarmists headed by Al Gore have proposed the most damaging tax and regulatory burden imaginable in the name of an unproven and highly contested scientific theory alternately called global warming or climate change. If cap and trade legislation were to be enacted, it would ultimately destroy our free market economy,” warns Inhofe.

The efforts of the current administration to curb development of our natural resources, particularly oil and natural gas, through the technological miracle of horizontal drilling combined with the 60 years of experience of fracturing denies America the opportunity to be energy independent. By opening up opportunities to develop fully these resources, we can achieve a lowered cost per btu of energy. In turn, we can retrieve lost manufacturing jobs from overseas and avoid paying billions of dollars to countries hostile to our way of life. Inhofe would likely say it’s a no-brainer. But for the extreme elements of environmentalism, even a no-brainer is a high bar to reach.

Oklahomans have historically supported traditional values, a strong military, limited government, and have cherished personal and economic freedom.

Their confidence in Jim Inhofe is well placed and Distinctly Oklahoman.

Answering the Call to Serve: Todd Lamb, Lt. Governor of Oklahoma

justin brotton - Thursday, May 01, 2014

By Keith A. Eaton


"Todd Lamb has been an active and engaged lieutenant governor, and he

takes his position as the state's official Small Business Advocate seriously.

As he travels the state, he has been a strong voice for pro-business policies

that create jobs and more opportunities for Oklahomans. 

I appreciate the experience and leadership Todd brings to my cabinet. He is a valuable

member of our team." – Gov. Mary Fallin


Whether one chooses to describe the varied roles Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb has assumed with words like butcher, baker, candlestick maker – or perhaps tinker, tailor, soldier … – a more robust and impressive résumé is not likely to be found, particularly among young politicians.

A native son of Oklahoma, Lamb comes by his dedication to service naturally. His dad, Norman Lamb, modeled the life of public service through his many roles including a distinguished military career, legal and law enforcement, schoolteacher, devotion to the wellbeing of our state’s veterans, and providing for his family.

“When I was 8, my dad hung a rope on a tree limb in your yard. I though he was building a swing. Turned out to be a strength exercise for me – hand-over-hand rope climbing,” explains Lamb about the roots of his personal discipline.

Intellectually armed with degrees from Oklahoma State University and the Oklahoma City University School of Law, Lamb served on Gov. Frank Keating’s campaign team and as an advisor in his administration from 1994 to 1998. During that period, he traveled extensively in Oklahoma and internationally promoting economic development in our state. This experience in hands-on, eye-to-eye retail politics cemented the value of enabling entrepreneurship and small business to flourish in Lamb’s psyche.

After 1998, Lamb entered the Secret Service, where he served as a special agent for security and was a member of the National Terrorism Task Force, formed after the 9/11 tragedies. Traveling the world, meeting with European and Israeli security experts, and attending top-secret briefings gave Lamb invaluable experience and knowledge on what is required to prevent another 9/11, and instilled a healthy respect for law enforcement.

In particular, Lamb has served as chairperson for the Oklahoma School Security Commission and worked with a broad spectrum of subject matter experts in developing reforms to prevent a tragedy like Newtown, Connecticut from occurring in Oklahoma.

Lamb followed the Secret Service opportunity with a return to politics, serving on the staff of Sen. Don Nichols, representing N.W. Oklahoma City and Edmond in the state senate, and along the way gaining valuable knowledge of the oil and gas industry in private practice as a land man.

But dedication to small business success remains Lamb’s central theme as he pursues a second term as Lt. Governor. His rifle-like focus on removing impediments to the start-up of a new business or the expansion of an existing firm, particularly those arising from misguided state or federal regulations or policies, is well known in the state house and throughout the 77 counties that he visits every year of his term in office.

“There is no substitute for meeting and speaking both formally and informally with a businessperson or a group of business leaders if you truly want to discover the keys to economic development, growth of the state’s GDP, lower unemployment, and greater per capita prosperity for all our citizens,” says Lamb.

Lamb has filed as a candidate for a second term as Lt. Governor, convinced that a second term is needed to continue the goals he has set for himself. He summarizes those as job creation, economic improvement and promoting Oklahoma.

“Job creation is being accomplished by promoting lower state tax rates, monitoring regulatory burdens, implementing workers comp reform, and insuring we remain a right-to-work state,” Lamb insists.

Improving the economy in Lamb’s mind means keeping a well-educated and trained workforce through incentives to achieve, recruiting, and in general developing an ever more business-friendly environment in our state.

“Our quality of life and our people are our greatest asset in all our relocation, recruiting and retention activities. No one can sell Oklahoma like its people and the lifestyle they exemplify,” says Lamb, his enthusiasm for his home state unbounded and evident.

When asked about Oklahoma’s rating of B+ on education reforms as documented in the most recent report on the state’s K-12 program by the respected non-partisan American Legislative Exchange Council and our state’s contrasting 38th place ranking on actual performance, Lamb displayed a convincing knowledge of the group’s approach, the parameters and how, in partnership with Governor Fallin and State Superintendent Janet Barresi, those are to be addressed and the gap reduced or eliminated.

“Standards as a parameter of measurement are being addressed by the adoption and support of the Common Core model, but equally or more important is the third grade reading test and the retention of students whose performance on the reading portion of the Core exam is at first-grade level or worse. If a student can’t read at the third-grade level, how could they hope to succeed in fourth-grade math and subsequent written problems, critical thinking, exposition of ideas and such,” Lamb asks.

Choice in education for parents and students is strongly supported by Lamb, Barresi and Fallin as evidenced by the creation of charter schools, home schooling regulations, private school acceptance and an experiment-friendly attitude among the three.

When asked about his views on teacher quality, Lamb is adamant in his praise of the Oklahoma teachers in general, and specifically spoke about the attitude of our teachers in caring for every student’s safety and achievement as evidenced by their personal sacrifices during and after the 2013 Moore tornado tragedy.

“My wife was a teacher for 20 years, and during that time I came to appreciate the dedication of those to whom teaching our kids is a calling as well as a profession,” Lamb insists.

Lamb believes putting a halt to the brain drain that has been flowing away from our state is a critical task of K-12 and higher education leaders, teachers and administrators. Moms, dads and grandparents testify to the migration of their sons, daughters and grandparents after high school, college or technical training away from their home state in order to find work and career path options that promise opportunity for success in their chosen field.

“The key to retaining our homegrown talent and acquiring the best and brightest is to offer a worker- and business-friendly environment and continue to adopt education reforms that will, over time, result in a superior pool of professional workers in the broadest spectrum of disciplines. Further, we must continue to lower our corporate and individual tax rates, offer financial incentives and complete the implementation of workers comp reforms to attract business relocation and insure Oklahoma is in the mix when a business is looking for a place to perform a start-up or relocate an existing business,” states Lamb.

The readership likely wants to know if Todd Lamb’s approach to economic development, education reform and ambassadorial activities is actually delivering results to Oklahoma.

Perhaps the best evidence comes from a brief period of searching the appropriate federal departmental websites that report the significant economic parameters.

The most recent annual data shows Oklahoma’s manufacturing growth rate at 6.7 percent.

Similarly, Oklahoma’s unemployment rate is among the lowest of the several surrounding states at 5.0 percent for the year 2013, ranking 14th.

Any state’s prosperity is tied to the exporting of their goods and services domestically and internationally. The most recent statistic for Oklahoma shows a growth rate of 5 percent for exports.

Todd Lamb insists that “Oklahoma’s best days are ahead of us.”

Justifiable optimism is surely Distinctly Oklahoman.

THE TALENTED MR. IBAKA

justin brotton - Tuesday, April 01, 2014

By Jason Black

 

Serge Ibaka“We are extremely blessed to have an amazing basketball player for the Thunder in Serge Ibaka,” said Bill Horn, co-founder of Pros for Africa. “But what he does off the court is unbelievable.”

Ibaka is one of the most amazing athletes in the NBA. His shooting has improved every year he has played for the Oklahoma City Thunder. He is a rebounding machine, and makes blocking shots look easy. The way he flies around the court, it’s no wonder one of his nicknames is “Air Congo.” He also speaks five languages.

He was born in the Republic of the Congo, the third youngest of 18 children.His parents were both basketball players – his father played for the Congolese national team for the Republic of Congo, while his mother played for the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Naturally, Ibaka started playing basketball early, using basketball as an escape from a tough childhood. Unfortunately, his mother passed away and his father was imprisoned as a political prisoner during the Second Congo War.

At 17, Ibaka moved to France to play basketball professionally, then eventually relocated to Spain. NBA scouts started to take notice when he won the MVP at the Reebok Eurocamp.

The Thunder selected him with the 24th overall pick in the 2008 draft, becoming the first player from the Republic of the Congo to be drafted into the NBA. He stayed in Europe to play professionally, eventually coming to the United States to play in Oklahoma City in 2009. It didn’t take long for Ibaka to become the starting power forward for the Thunder and one of the premier defensive players in the league.

He led all rookies in blocks his first year in the league, and is the youngest player to have seven blocks in a playoff game. He has participated in the Slam Dunk Contest and won a silver medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London playing for Spain.

Ibaka quickly emerged as a fan favorite, not just for his basketball ability, but because he works hard and is so good at blocking shots. Also, ask any lady what they think of him, and it won’t take long before they mention how handsome he is.

He is only 24 years old and has cemented himself as part of the young stars that anchor the Thunder. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are both only 25.

In 2010, Horn co-founded Pros for Africa, a non-profit organization based in Oklahoma that is full of professionals of all fields, not just athletes, that go to Africa and serve. He saw a natural fit for the charity with Ibaka.

“I knew obviously Serge is from the Congo,” Horn said. “I shared the vision, and he immediately said yes.”

“Pros for Africa provides a lot of help in Africa.” Ibaka said. “I’m from Africa, and I have some of the same ideas. They know better how to do it – I have a lot of ideas and want to help, but I don’t know how to go about it.”

Being African, more specifically Congolese, Ibaka always felt it was important to do everything he could to help his native country, even though he plays basketball in America.

“I thought it would be important to connect with Pros for Africa,” Ibaka said. “The fact that they already were doing these services in Africa for a long time, it made sense for me to get started with them. I have a big project with UNICEF right now that is very important to me. So since Pros for Africa knows what to do, that will make it easier.”

When Ibaka initially partnered with Pros for Africa, Horn thought it was important to understand what Ibaka’s vision was for the charity, so they went to the Congo together.

“When you see where Serge came from, you start to see that it doesn’t matter what people grew up with,” Horn said of the trip to the Congo. “Look at where he is today, and it’s nothing short of a miracle; we want that to be a positive message and continue to serve people.”

“Everything happening to me is a dream, so it means more for me to be involved with a charity that helps Africa,” Ibaka said. “I support going back to help people in the Congo, including a project fixing some things in the Congo for the kids, and it means a lot for me. That’s where we are going to start. It’s my dream, and I want to make sure my dream comes true.”

Pros for Africa supports several countries in Africa, and has many more people that are involved.

“One of the biggest beneficiaries is Sister Rosemary from St. Monica Girls School,” Horn said. Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe was the CNN Hero Award winner in 2007. “ She takes in girls who have been abducted by Joseph Kony and his rebel army, and that’s one of the schools we are committed to supporting in Uganda.”

Sister Rosemary currently has two schools – one in Gulu, Uganda and one in Atiak, Uganda, with a third under construction in Torit, South Sudan. She has a book and documentary, “Sewing Hope,” narrated by Forest Whitaker, which chronicles her work in restoring the lives of these women. The movie is going to film festivals this year. The book, also titled “Sewing Hope,” was written by Reggie Whitten and Nancy Henderson, and is available on Amazon.

“She’s a modern day Mother Theresa,” Horn said.

Just to name some of the things Pros for Africa has done for Africa – they have dug water wells, delivered food, built orphanages, provided cattle, and donated hearing aids for countries like Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and South Africa.

In February, the second annual Pros for Africa banquet was hosted by Ibaka at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. Sister Rosemary was in attendance, as well as Ibaka’s Thunder teammates Russell Westbrook, Derek Fisher and Thabo Sefolosha.

“Serge is doing a great thing for a great cause in different countries in Africa,” Sefolosha said at the banquet. “It’s great to show support and be here. It’s important to support my teammates in charity.”

Ibaka has dreams to help his country, and he feels that living in Oklahoma will help accomplish those dreams.

“I love Oklahoma; it’s a nice place and people really care about people in need,” Ibaka said. “That’s one of the big reasons I like to be in Oklahoma. People are so nice here and give me what I need to help others. I am a person who likes to dream, and I’m in a place where there are people that will help me do that. So it’s perfect timing for me.”

Ibaka isn’t alone in feeling the support from Oklahoma.

“That’s what’s so great about the city,” Sefolosha said. “They show great support for us; as well as having good teammates and being part of a good team.”

“Oklahomans are some of the most giving and charitable people. They are generous, and that’s why telling Serge’s story is important, and people are so supportive. There are things we have needed, throughout the bombing and the tornados, and we’ve received aid from others. Now it’s a chance for us to help others, whether it’s a tornado in Joplin or people in Africa – we have an opportunity to give back.”

More than 40 athletes have traveled to Africa to help, but as mentioned before, the charity is involved with professionals from all walks of life and industries. They want all different types of professionals to participate and bring their own expertise in providing for the children of Africa.

Ibaka and the charity are going to the Congo in June (don’t worry, Thunder fans – the trip is scheduled for after the NBA finals).

“We are committed to helping Serge with the orphanages and things that he wants to see happen,” Horn said.

They plan to take doctors with them to help with the mission work, as well as other Oklahomans so they can support the charity and support Serge by seeing firsthand what is needed in Ibaka’s native country.

“We are just getting started with Serge. We initially went to see what some of the needs are for the Congo,” Horn said of his first trip with Ibaka. “It is an absolute miracle where Serge is today. It’s a natural partnership, and a wonderful opportunity to take people here from Oklahoma to see where he came from and what he wants to do for the Congo. That’s what Pros for Africa is all about.”





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