Ken Pickard is a man of action.
He spent close to 40 years as a regular working man, and several years previous to that in the Army.
So when retirement came his way in 1995, it wasn’t going to keep him from slowing down.
“I just sat my first year after, but told myself ‘This ain’t gonna cut it,” Pickard recalled. “So I started doing this.”
By this, Pickard is referring to his full-time volunteer cause of donating clothing and other items to veterans in need. Whether they are hospitalized, without family or homeless, Pickard will do what he can to help his fellow brethren of the armed forces.
When he started this volunteer work, he was completely on his own. Pickard said he would pick up clothing as he found it, but his church offered to help and gave him a budget. He now has a section of the clothing closet at the Compassion Center where he sorts and organizes the clothing items he takes to disabled or homeless veterans across the state.
Pickard now even gets help from the AmVets in Duncan to help supply donated clothing items, and even some he has to purchase. Between his church and the AmVets, Pickard now has a large operation that spans into six different cities, including Duncan.
“I travel to Sulphur, Talihina, Ardmore, Lawton and Clinton,” Pickard said.
In each of those cities is a veterans care center, which offers help to disabled or homeless veterans.
“I bring them clothing if they need it, blankets, shoes, socks, underwear,” Pickard said. “Really, anything they need, I’ll bring them.
“I usually have a box at our church and ask for certain things for people to donate, and like say this week, I’m asking for toiletries.”
Other times, Pickard has asked for new socks, underwear, and anything else people are willing to donate to him.
He also said that people can bring their clothing to the Compassion Center and specifically leave it to his cause.
“I’ve been doing this now for 10 to 12 years, and people know what I’m doing here now,” Pickard said. “They can leave stuff specifically for me to use if they want.”
Pickard said he feels this is something he should be doing to help out those veterans in need, and said helping all of the people he does is like taking care of his children.
“It’s like having 175 kids who need shirts, britches and socks,” Pickard said. “But I enjoy doing it, and knowing they can use it and will use it is great.”
Pickard said he can use donations of just about any variety and any size. However, he said he’s pretty full up on suits, and asked more for day-to-day clothes and necessary items.
Pickard was happy to talk about some of the people he’s helped. He provides blankets for warmth, shoes and socks for protection and even the occasional entertainment item to keep their spirits high. He said he’s always willing to go the extra mile to stay busy and to continue helping Oklahoma’s veterans.
“Oklahoma leads the U.S. in shelters for veterans,” Pickard said. “And I’m happy I can be a part of that factor by helping those that need it.”
— Kevin Kerr is a reporter for The Duncan Banner. He can be reached at 580-255-5354 Ext. 147 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pickard brings aid to area veterans
Ken Pickard is a man of action.
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City tackles winter weather
Throughout the recent cold front and accompanying precipitation, the City of Duncan has worked to make streets driveable and to repair leaking water mains.
Scott Vaughn, Duncan Public Works director, said Street and Water departments have been busy throughout the city as a result of colder temperatures, and recent snowfall and freezing rain.
School board discusses DHS safe room project
Duncan Public Schools is considering a bond issue for as early as 2014, to construct a safe room/ art building on the Duncan High School campus.
During Tuesday’s regular meeting, members of the Duncan Board of Education approved hiring PBK Architect for design and development, and CMS Willowbrook as construction manager for the project, pending passage of a bond issue next year.
Reception honors Hospice patients
More than 100 spots on the Tree of Remembrance had been purchased by Tuesday night, when the annual reception for the fundraiser was held.
Proceeds go to help pay for care terminal patients and their families receive from Chisholm Trail Hospice.
Daddy Daughter Dance set for Friday
There are only a few days left to purchase tickets for the 3rd annual Daddy Daughter Dance.
Tickets are limited to only 100 couples and 25 additional daughters to avoid overcrowding for the event, which is sponsored by the Simmons Center. The dance is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Simmons Center.
“We’ve sold 75 couples and 16 additional daughters,” said Stephanie Sullivan, event coordinator, on Tuesday morning.
Schools return to session
Area students will be returning to classes this morning, following Tuesday’s roadway thaw.
Duncan, Marlow, Comanche, Empire, Velma-Alma, Central High and Bray-Doyle school districts will return to school, following several days without class because of inclement weather.
Council approves root cutter to aid sanitary sewer system
By spending $4,117.60 to purchase a root cutter, the City of Duncan hopes to have an easier time maintaining the sanitary sewer system.
Duncan City Council members discussed and approved the purchase of the root cutter from USA Blue Book during Tuesday’s regular meeting. The purchase reflected one of two bids received on the project, although four companies were approached to bid. The other bid received was from J&R Equipment in the amount of $4,836.
Babineaux sentenced in armed robberies
A Duncan teenager was sentenced Monday for his role in a series of armed robberies of convenience stores earlier this year.
Tre Demetrius Babineaux, 18, was one of four Duncan teens arrested in relation to three armed robberies that took place toward the end of March. The other teens included Dakota John Smith, 19; Quincy Sahtoren Barnes, 20; and Peyton Thad Graham, 20.
Babineaux was the only one charged as a youthful offender.
Tree, Wreath Auction has highest grossing year yet
The Tree and Wreath Auction had its best year even, garnering $3,335 for its grand total.
The auction, which is a collaborative effort between the Duncan Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Simmons Center, raises funds for area charities. This was the 12th year for the silent auction event.
Items, including decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, centerpieces and various other goodies, were donated and auctioned with the funds going toward selected charities. For instance, the Friends of the Stephens County Humane Society donated items with the Stephens County Humane Society as the benefactor.
Christmas Auction raises $30,000 to help local children
Though there are some pledges still out, the annual Christmas Auction was deemed successful after raising more than $32,000 last week.
All 400 plus donation items were sold during the five-night event, which was turned over the Duncan Rotary Club this year. It was previously run by the Duncan Jaycees Club.
“All of the items sold, most of them for retail value,” said Cindy Reynolds, auction chairperson. “We’re pleased with the outcome.”
Duncan school board to discuss possible bond issue
Another bond issue may be on the horizon for Duncan Public Schools.
Tuesday’s meeting will explore the possibility of adding a safe/art room at the Duncan High School. This would be contingent on the passage of a bond issue April 2014.
PBK Architect and CMS Willowbrook, both companies involved in the renovation process at the Duncan High School, will be giving a presentation about the DHS safe/art room project to the Duncan Board of Education.
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