Path Home Shows 2017 Show Archive May 2017 Show 1721 Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1721

Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1721

This week on “Oklahoma Horizon,” we travel the state and see how some Oklahomans are changing lives with a helping hand.
Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1721

Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1721

For more information visit these links:

ROC – Reaching Our City

Francis Tuttle Technology Center

CareerTech – TANF Program

ROC video 2015

Infant Crisis Services Inc.

Oklahoma DECA

DECA

CareerTech

Vietnam War

Show Details

Show 1721: Oklahoma Horizon TV
Air Date: May 21, 2017

 

Transcript

Rob McClendon: Here’s what’s coming up on your “Horizon.” Well, today, our focus is on how a helping hand or a simple act of kindness can have a positive impact on generations. We’ll start in northwest Oklahoma City at a resale shop that is giving more than just old clothes a new life.

All the things that they’re trying to do are worthy of acknowledgement.

Rob: Infant Crisis Services can help bridge the gap when a baby’s family is struggling financially. We’ll look at how some students are helping the charity with a touch of flair.

We see on average 1,500 babies or toddlers a month. And we just want to reach every single one of them.

Rob: And we remember a respected jurist who brought a fellow Marine’s family together for his final mission. Stay with us for “Oklahoma Horizon.”

Female Announcer: “Oklahoma Horizon” is made possible by CareerTech – a job for every Oklahoman and a workforce for every company -- with additional support from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

Rob McClendon: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us here on “Horizon.” I’m Rob McClendon. Well, it’s often said that charity starts at home, but for many students it begins in the classroom. Our focus today is how seemingly simple acts of kindness can change generations of lives. And we begin in northwest Oklahoma City with a group working to help people strengthen themselves, their families and their community.

Blane Singletary: At the ROC resale shop and other thrift shops like it, spring cleaning season is one of the busiest times of the year.

Lori Smith: Spring’s always a great time. We paint our windows. We get things kinda moving, and we get out all our spring donations. And we have great spring clothes.

Blane: That’s Lori Smith, director of the ROC Resale Shop.

Lori Smith: I always say those first few months of turning over our merchandise, those are the best things we’ll have all season.

Blane: But unlike most other thrift shops, this one is all about charity and volunteering, which is what drove Lori to this place.

Lori Smith: I actually have a college degree in retail management. And so I was always looking for a way to get back into that, but not in the retail world where it takes up your whole life. But something more like this where there’s autonomy and good deeds going along with the process of actually a retail store.

Blane: The ROC, short for Reaching Our City, is a non-profit ministry. For nearly two decades, they’ve been serving some of the poorest people in Oklahoma City, and this resale shop is just one of the ways they do that. They also maintain a food pantry, a church, and provide social and community programs. But as Executive Director and Lead Pastor Richard Schneberger tells us, everything they do goes far beyond merely giving aid to these needy families.

Richard Schneberger: At the heart of what we do and why we do it is to restore dignity and value to people. Poverty is a lack of resources, but there’s a stigma that comes along with it. And many of our people are struggling, not just with a lack of resources, but a sense of value and a sense of dignity in their life. A bigger part of what we’re doing is trying to say, “You matter, you’re valuable, you’re important, you can do something with your life.”

Blane: And that plays into what the resale shop is all about. They could give these clothes away, and they sometimes do, when the situation demands it. But Lori Smith finds that even the poorest people would rather shop for them.

Lori Smith: For people who where this is the only place they can shop, we want it to be something that’s dignified and adds value to their life and is a price point that they can afford.

Blane: And treating them like customers, keeps them coming back in a big way.

Lori Smith: About 80 percent of our customers that walk in the door have been in the door, maybe even yesterday. And we know a lot about them. It’s not just that we know their names, but we know them, we know what’s going on, and we miss them when they’re not coming by. If for some reason we don’t see you for a month or so, we may give you a call and find out what’s going on, or if you’re well, or what might be happening in your situation.

Blane: That focus on not just helping people, but their situations, has helped them form a relationship with CareerTech. Tech centers, especially Francis Tuttle, serve this impoverished area, giving needy students financial assistance to learn the skills they need to break the cycle of poverty. As part of the TOP and TANF programs, students are required to volunteer at places like the resale shop. And in the process, they learn valuable skills you can’t learn in a classroom.

Lori Smith: They are on the floor while they’re here. They’re learning, you know, how to interact with the customers. And again, we’re able to offer them love and affection and acceptance and, you know, maybe even just some support while they’re going through their schooling and the situation that they’re in.

Blane: Students who may not fit the traditional student mold, like Binita Turner. She’s a graduate of Francis Tuttle, and even though it’s no longer required of her, she still helps out at the ROC in any way she can.

Binita Turner: I tell them all the time if they ever need help that I can come and help. Anytime Mrs. Lori calls me, I’m there. I’ll be there.

Blane: Before her time at Francis Tuttle, Binita was a single mom, making ends meet by cleaning houses. Thanks to support from the ROC and others, she’s now in the hunt for a more substantial job as an administrative office assistant. She says the ROC is a great work environment, and she’s come a long way with them.

Binita Turner: You can be yourself in here. I just like coming to hang clothes, wherever she put me. I love it. I’m not that type of person to complain about a lot. Complaining don’t get you nowhere.

Blane: Lori Smith says making it work for these nontraditional students is what the ROC is all about.

Lori Smith: They’re trying so hard to increase their skills and to increase their pay, and all the things that they’re trying to do are worthy of acknowledgement. And so I feel like it’s a really nice reciprocal relationship and to see that it can all come together if they stick to it and give it their all.

Rob: Now, the work underway at the ROC was recognized at the state Capitol at Oklahoma CareerTech’s Making It Work Day. The group was honored for helping students improve their community one individual at a time. And if you would like to learn more about the ROC, we do have a link to their website under this story. Now, when we return, helping the smallest Oklahomans with a little flair.

Female Announcer: You’re watching “Oklahoma Horizon” with Rob McClendon – weekly insight into your changing world.

Rob McClendon: One in four babies in Oklahoma live in poverty, putting them at a moderate to high risk for developmental delay. And according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 85 percent of brain development occurs during the first three years of life. That is why Oklahoma City’s Infant Crisis Services provides formula, food and diapers to more than 1,500 babies and toddlers a month, all without any taxpayer dollars. Our Austin Moore has a story, not just about charity, but lessons in life.

Austin Moore: A few blocks north of the state Capitol, Infant Crisis Services with its playful statues but otherwise unassuming exterior, is working to change the lives of Oklahoma’s most vulnerable.

Courtney Thomas: We provide formula, food and diapers to needy babies and toddlers in our community. So any baby or toddler up to 48 months can come for our services and receive a week’s worth of those essential items that they need to grow and thrive.

Austin: Courtney Thomas is the community relations coordinator for this charity that since 1984 has been sustaining families in need.

Thomas: So last year we served a little over 18,000 babies and toddlers. This year we are on track to service over 21,000. So we see a little, on average 1,500 babies or toddlers a month. And we just want to reach every single one of them.

Austin: The amazing thing? They do all of this off private funding. Nothing federal. Nothing state. Not even United Way dollars.

Thomas: We solely are able to do what we do with our community’s help and support. They bring in donations of in-kind and monetary all year long so we can continue to help feed and provide for the littlest in our community.

Austin: Enter juniors and seniors from Edmond Memorial High School and their class project.

Kim Walters: So this is 89 students, of first-years, and I have 145 students in marketing and DECA this year.

Austin: Kim Walters teaches marketing at Edmond Memorial High School and leads the school’s CareerTech student organization, DECA.

Walters: DECA is the student organization that is associated with the marketing programs. So marketing education has a number of different courses and career pathways that a student can take on, but DECA is that integral piece of the community service and competition and putting themselves out there in the real world that connects and links the classroom to the real world.

Austin: In this example, the project is linking these students to families who often need more than just supplies, who often need a bit of joy in their lives as well.

Mackenzie Golden: We have all of our first-years create a basket based on whatever they think. They can Pinterest it. They can come up with their own. We just have to have diapers or some kind of baby products in there.

Austin: Mackenzie Golden is a senior marketing student at Edmond Memorial.

Golden: See, with DECA it is all about marketing and showing stuff differently. So we just kind of take just a normal project and just kind of amp it up a little bit. Just to give it our Edmond Memorial, like, spin on everything.

Walters: There is a unit that I teach on promotion. And one of the elements in promotion is packaging. And we talk about the value of packaging, color, its importance to advertising. And they decided a theme for their baskets, and the common element had to be a package of diapers.

Austin: Because that is the need at Infant Crisis Services now. In years when they are running low on formula, that becomes the focus because at the end of the day, this lesson is still about helping. Edmond Memorial student Emma Perkins.

Emma Perkins: Our main goal was just to get as much baby stuff as possible, you know. And then, even though we had, like, a presentation, like, competition, it was mainly just bringing a lot of stuff that we can give the Infant Crisis Center.

Golden: It’s a good feeling to come here and see people picking out stuff, not knowing what if you helped someone or anything like that.

Walters: And so the students see that there is an opportunity for them to be on a teen board here, that they can come down here and volunteer. So once again it is connecting something that they learn in the classroom, they have been taught, and they are building a resume at the same time.

Austin: Fundamental stuff for students entering a competitive world.

Walters: Students have always wanted to put the pieces together. And what the real-world is now coming back and telling public education is it is vital that they have these real-world life skills. And it is important that they have the core subject areas. So we have got to find a way. We have got to make sure that these students are ready and willing and able to function in the world. And that is what CareerTech is all about. We bring in the real-world environment into the classroom.

Rob: Now, you can find out more about Infant Crisis Services on their website which we do have a link to at OKHorizon.com. Now, when we return, remembering a man of service.

Female Announcer: “Horizon” is at your fingertips. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to catch the segments you may have missed and our latest new content as it happens.

Rob McClendon: When Charles Migliorino died of cancer this month, Oklahoma lost a respected jurist and a distinguished judge. But more than anything, he lived a life of service, volunteering for Vietnam, teaching in the Ardmore Public Schools while also attending law school at night, then a legal career as a prosecutor and a defense attorney before becoming the associate district judge for Johnston County. But Migliorino, never one to brag, would tell you in private that one of his proudest moments was an act of kindness that brought together a family with their long lost brother. Today, we remember his life and his service in a piece we call “A Marine’s Love Story.”

Alice Migliorino: I got this steak for our anniversary tonight.

Rob: It’s dinnertime for Alice and Charles Migliorino.

Charlies Migliorino: With a lot of butter.

Rob: Nothing fancy, even if tonight is their 43rd anniversary. Inseparable through the years, they met in college, Alice a homecoming queen and Charles the big man on campus and on the court.

Charles Migliorino: And I did real well at Murray. I, you know, I was the sixth highest scorer in the nation in junior college.

Alice: And I thought, oh, what a nice lookin’ young man.

Rob: A budding relationship, yet Charles knew there was something else he needed to do.

Charles: I was in the dormitory, and uh, there was LIFE magazine and it was, there was a story about some soldiers. They weren’t Marines. They were soldiers. And the officer, who was a 22-year-old officer, had called artillery in on them because they were basically being surrounded and engulfed by North Vietnamese. The story mentioned, you know, 18-, 19-year-olds. And, here I am 17 years old, almost 18 years old, and I’m just sitting in a dormitory.

Rob: So Charles joins the Marines, off to boot camp at Parris Island, with his love back in Oklahoma.

Alice: After he joined, he wrote me a letter and he asked me if I would marry him; I said sure. And he went and bought me ring, and [laughs] that was that.

Charles: Had it delivered.

[laughing].

Alice: Had it delivered; it came in the mail.

Rob: Little time for romance, when you are heading off to Vietnam. Shipped to the front lines, Charles found himself along the infamous DMZ.

Charles: We were surrounded by North Vietnamese, everywhere!

Rob: And it was here he became friends with the old man of the platoon, Mike Feraro.

Charles: Mike and I were good friends. Mike was, in January of 1968 he turned 21. And I was just fixing to turn 19; I would be 19 in February. He was an older guy. And he had been over there a little longer than me. But he had a fantastic sense of humor. He’d make fun of everything or, sort of. He was the kind of guy that was always joking around and always the lighter side of stuff. And you could, he was kind of a, a clown. But then you could learn a lot from him. And, uh, I knew enough to know that, and we hung out a lot, we talked a lot.

Rob: About life and survival in a land so far away from home.

Charles: Letters were very important things. Letters are the things that you wanted a lot of. You wanted to hear from somebody. You wanted to hear from somebody, you know, that you loved.

Alice: It’s like going back home too.

Charles: Yeah, it's like going back home; it's like being at home.

Rob: But not all the boys’ letters were welcome ones.

Charles: You’re around a bunch of guys who are writing their girlfriends back home; they’re getting Dear John letters and stuff like that. You’re just trying to keep your girlfriend [laughs]. That’s one thing; that’s just the reality of it.

Rob: So Charles had another idea. Rather than write, he taped his love letters on an old reel-to-reel tape player.

[taped recording--Charles: Damn, I hope nobody else is listening because I’d feel sort of embarrassed if they heard the lousy tape I’m making up. And if you let anybody hear it, I’ll go nuts. And, please don’t tell me if you let anybody hear it – recording ends.]

Charles: There was a lot of I love yous in there.

[taped recording -- Charles: Well, I say, I say it all the time; I love you a whole lot, and I wish I was there – recording ends.]

Charles: And, uh, that kind of stuff; and every time I taped, there were a bunch of guys there.

Rob: So when Mike walked in without knowing Charles was talking to Alice, you could hear the apologies.

[taped recording -- Charles: And here comes Mike Feraro.

Mike Feraro: What’s everybody coming here for? Hey, man, what’s going on? What is this, a love letter or what? Is that on now?

Charles: Yeah, it’s on now, why don’t you say a few words.

Mike: Is that your girl?

Charles: Yeah, my girl -- laughs.

Mike: I’m sorry man – recording ends].

Rob: Now, while Mike liked to kid around, their job was often deadly serious.

Charles: And four of us, a fire team --and Mike was in our fire team, four men in the fire team -- would go out at night, way out by ourselves, beyond the wire, and basically it’s a listening post, basically what it is, if anything comes in at night, you get hit first.

Rob: Developing a bond that went beyond their years; yet boys will be boys.

Charles: And it was raining, and all the time it seemed like. We were mostly eating C-rations, but at one point they sent out a field kitchen, and we went out and they put things on these little flimsy paper plates. And Mike was with me, and we were just trying to see where we were going. We had flak jackets on, we had, you had to wear helmets and flak jackets. We were, you know, we had our rifles with us, and we’re walking along and it’s like this, and the ravines, there’s not very many good paths, or anything like that. And it's dark! And we both slip at the same time, and the stuff falls down in this red dirt, and Mike looks at me and says, expletive, expletive, expletive, expletive! [laughs] Let’s eat this shit. So, uh, and we got that stuff, and we cleaned it off, and we just sat there in the mud, and we just sat, we didn't even go back to the hole in the ground that we were living in, and we just sat there and ate it. And, you know, he was joking and said, you know, damn if we had some damn candles, I could fall in love with you! You know [laughs], you know, stupid stuff.

Rob: Two friends, a half a world away from home, living in the harshest of conditions that in a blink of an eye, can turn deadly.

Charles: You know, we went through all this training and jungle warfare, you know, all this stuff, and yet we were moving in the same kinds of groups that they moved in the second world war, carrying tons of stuff. You could hear us coming for miles. They set an ambush, these are North Vietnamese, and uh, on March 6 of 1968, my company took 38 killed in one ambush, and Mike was one of them.

Rob: Charles survived that attack, but lost a buddy. After his tour, Charles came home to Alice. They marry. Start a family. Teach school. Charles becomes an attorney and now, a judge.

Alice: We pretty much just get on like nothing had ever happened. You know, we had like a short little honeymoon phase. I took this purse out and --

Rob: And memories of Vietnam began to fade, until Alice found an old purse, and inside, the reel-to-reel tapes Charles had made for her so long ago. And on these tapes, the voice of his friend Mike.

Charles: And that’s the red dirt.

[taped recording – Mike: Of course I was the only one who was squared away. Of course, I rally trying to tell your boyfriend here to put his bolt back right. So I had to just fight ‘em off all by myself – recording ends.]

Charles: You know, when I heard his voice and I heard what he was saying, uh, I knew he had sisters, and, you know, I knew he lived in Massapequa, and I said, you know, they haven’t seen or heard of him, you know, heard from him, since 1968.

Rob: So Charles has one last mission to bring his buddy home.

Charles: They just need to hear this.

[taped recording -- Charles: OK, we’re ready for a couple interviews, well, one interview anyway, is Mike Feraro. He’s gonna give us our opinion, his opinion, excuse me, on Vietnam, for what it’s worth.

Mike: It ain’t worth nothin’. Let me tell ‘em about the time I won the medal of honor.

Charles: Oh, yeah, tell ‘em about the time you won the medal of honor, Feraro – recording ends.]

[phone ringing]

Rob: Charles found Mike’s sister and sent her the recordings.

[phone conversation -- Charles: Pat?

Pat Petrone: Yes.

Charles: This is Charles, Pat. Charlie!

Pat: Awesome, yeah!]

Rob: Recordings made with love that gave a sister a final reunion with a beloved brother.

[phone conversation -- Pat: A gift I never expected to get; and yet to hear his voice after all these years and also hear it over there in such a dark place, but how they could still joke, my brother could still be joking and talking with all that was going on. It just really, I almost felt like -- oh, I’m getting’ a little emotional -- that I was there. And just to hear his voice, but also know that he was with friends.

Charles: Yeah, uh, Pat, you know, Mike’s sense of humor and all that, did something for me. And uh, you know, the songs he’d make up about people, and you know, the little, the little songs he’d make up about, and, you know, about Riley. And, uh, those, those are things that made, that were wonderful things for me. And, uh, like I told you, my, my grandkids and my son, my daughter and everybody will know about, you know, they know about Mike. And they’ve heard the tapes, and so, you know, without sounding corny, he’s gonna live with them. And then the other things is, you know, he’s part of my life, and I’m not gonna forget him. You know, I forgot a lot of things, and I tried to forget a lot of things; and uh, but uh, uh, OK?

Pat, crying: Sorry if I’m a little emotional.

Charles: Well, I am.

Pat: I mean, after all these years, it still comes back, but those things touch me, just what you’re telling me, cause I think that’s just so great. And not to sound corny too, but I really loved my brother. It’s just so nice that somebody else cared about him and just wants to keep his memory alive. And I really, I think that’s wonderful -- phone conversation ends].

Charles: Myself now, the adult, I’m looking back at kids; that’s what you, and you’re listening to kids talk, teenagers talk about stuff and trying to be as grown up as the situation warranted, but still kids. And that’s what I hear when I listen to that. And, you know, I can't help but think, you know, it’s a damn shame, you know, that, uh, because they were all good people.

Rob McClendon: Well that is gonna wrap us up for today, but you can see more of any of our stories on our website at okhorizon.com. Follow us throughout the week on Twitter at OKHorizonTV or like us on Facebook, where we do post our weekly stories. Thanks for including us as part of your day. I’m Rob McClendon. Hope to see you back here next week.