Two long time volunteers with the Safe Center have been selected by Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, the Office of the Attorney General, the Native Alliance Against Violence and the District Attorneys Council for awards for outstanding volunteers.
Duncan Police Detective and Safe Center board member Dustin Smith and hotline volunteer Kim McAllister both were selected.
Smith and McAllister had no idea they had been nominated and were shocked when they found out.
Smith has been involved with Safe Center for several years now.
“I’ve been on the board of directors since about 2014,” he said. “I currently serve as vice-president of the board.”
Smith said he was lucky to have been part of some of the great changes that have come in the last few years, especially the re-branding, the new location and more.
Also, due to his job, he has been part of the other side of the Safe Center.
“I worked with Women’s Haven and now Safe Center for the entirety of my career — I’ve been a police officer 16 years almost,” he said. “I’ve always been very impressed with the service they provide. It’s a very needed service but it’s not one people want to talk about.”
Smith said when he was first asked to the board he didn’t want to do it, he had never been on a non-profits’ board before.
“At that point in time there had not been a law enforcement person on that board for a number of years,” Smith said. “There’s a good relationship between the two disciplines but at the same time there is a lot of ways for that partnership to kind of sour if you don’t take care of it because our goals are different — the main goal is the same as far as the safety of the victims but at the same time how we get there often differs.”
McAllister said she is one of the voices on the end of the crisis hotline and helps with the other events also.
“How I got involved with it was our daughter was a victims advocate. She worked for them when it was still Women’s Haven and she told me ‘Mom, we need help’” she said. “My husband and I, we’ve always been ones to volunteer and to try and help people. Randell is really as much a winner of this award because we’re a team and we kind of come as a package deal. When I get calls at two o’clock in the morning he wakes up and he’s right there with me.”
There is a saying McAllister said her family lives by.
“I have a saying that we live by … and I think it can say it better than I can possibly say it,” she said. “‘We sometimes underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, a compliment, or the smallest act of caring, because you never know when one of these acts of kindness could be the very one thing that turns that person’s life around.’ In all of our years of volunteering we have really found that to be true.”
When down and worried they aren’t really helping people, the McAllister’s get “flutters” from the people they didn’t realize they helped and that renews their spirit.
“It’s more of a blessing for us and it’s very humbling when you know that you’ve helped somebody,” McAllister said. “We’ve always kind of lived by that some being a volunteer just kind of come natural to us.”
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and to mark the month Safe Center is hosting “Light up the Sky Purple” starting at 6 p.m, Oct. 1 in Fuqua Park. There will be bounce houses, games, music, free hot dogs and at 7 p.m they will light the sky purple.