COMANCHE — During the City Manager comments during the city’s council meeting, Chuck Ralls was finally able to tell a secret he has kept for about two weeks now.
“I am very excited to announce, and today I can make it public, I’ve known for two weeks, “ he said. ”The city of Comanche is receiving an award and recognition from Blue Cross and Blue Shield. We have been identified as a champion of health for seniors living in our community.”
The Comanche Nutrition Center was named the 2019 “Champion of Senior Health” as part of the annual Champions of Health awards by Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) of Oklahoma.
“This is across the entire state — they looked at cities, non-profits, just about any and everybody that takes care of seniors citizens,” Ralls said. “They have recognized the efforts that we’ve made so they will be presenting us with an award.”
The award will be at the Champions of Health Gala on Sept. 26 at the Cox Business Center in Tulsa, but before the gala, BCBS will be visiting on July 18.
“They will be attending the Nutrition Center with a full film crew and they will be videoing the daily operations, what’s going on there,” Ralls said. “This film will be going nation-wide, they will be showing it at all their corporate events on what we are doing to take care of our seniors.”
The Champions of Health awards program started in 2004 and the gala is a benefit for The Oklahoma Caring Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization that provides Oklahoma children with immunizations at no charge.
“This is a very prestigious honor and it says a lot to you guys for your efforts as a council. I’ve already thanked the staff and the seniors for their participation and coming out and supporting us as a community as a whole,” he said. “I just can’t say enough — and it also comes with money, so we will be getting a grant for $5,000 for the Nutrition Center to use any way that we choose.”
Ralls said he was surprised they had won and it was all thanks to a nomination.
“We were nominated as a city that met the needs of seniors,” he said “They did a follow up and asked some questions. We try to meet all the needs of our seniors through meeting their medical needs. We do periodic health checks and things like that; we have exercises daily — we have games.”
In 2016 the city took over the site from the Association of South Central Oklahoma Governments (ASCOG) which was going to have to close the site due to Oklahoma’s revenue failure.
The city saved it by going independent, which means it does not receive some of the funding through ASCOG but has funding through the County Sales Tax and Community Expansion for Nutrition Assistance (CENA) grant program, and other grants and fundraisers when needed.