A crowd of dignitaries, elected officials, citizens and business leaders were present at the Fairview Community Center Feb. 22, for the 2021 Fairview Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet.
Special guests included: US Senator James Lankford’s Field Representative Tanner Roberts, US Senator Jim Inhofe’s Field Representative Ryan Sproul and Congressman Frank Lucas’ Field Representative Grace Enmeier.
Greeting guests to the event was musical entertainment offered by Will Church. The evening began with a delicious catered meal by Calleen’s Catering and a prayer by Micky Flynn before events of the evening got underway.
Recognition was then given to outgoing Chamber of Commerce board members Julie Laverty, Rylie Sproul, Bobbie Robinson, Melinda Gould, Dana Baldwin, Micky Flynn was the 2020 President and will be staying on as Past President.
Members staying on for this year from last year include: Roger Knak, Mary Lee Jones, Jennifer Silcott, Roxanne Geddes and Nicole James.
New members for 2021 include: Chris Hoffman, Kim Icke, Robert Laverty, Kristi Sproul and Michell Eischen.
The event was then turned over to Guest Speaker Rena Striegel of Des Moines, Ia.
Striegel is an internationally recognized business coach and consultant with more than 20 years of experience working directly with farmers, ag leaders, senior executives and entrepreneurs to identify and implement strategies that create growth and profitability.
In her role as president of Transition Point Business Advisors, she leads client projects in the areas of strategic planning, business succession and continuity planning and employee/leadership development.
A majority of her current clients are large family owned farm operations located throughout the lower 48 states.
She explained the phases of a business lifecycle and explained why creating a plan for all phases of a business life is so important.
Among the Building Blocks of starting a business discussed by Striegel were:
• Business plan and management system
• Business Continuity Plan (What will happen when something “bad” happens to one of the owners
• Business Succession Plan – what you want to happen with management, ownership and governance
• Personal Financial Planning
• Estate Planning
• Annual Business Review
After the presentation by Striegel, the first honoree(s) of the evening were then introduced by Michell Eischen.
Eischen had the honor of introducing the 2021 Volunteers of the Year Bryan and Sue Burrell.
She spoke of the Burrell‘s long standing involvement with the community and described how the Burrells are always giving back to the community and helping with numerous community events throughout the year.
Eischen also spoke to the fact the Burrells are always involved with their church family as well.
Randi Lackey then had the honor of introducing her Dad, 2021 Citizen of the Year Don Boyer.
Lackey discussed how father was one of the founding members of Life Fitness Center in 1997, along with other community members.
She stated Boyer has put in thousands of hours since then to make it the place it is today! It has been a group effort with many people involved to allow it to become one of the nicest gyms in Oklahoma!
Since 1997 Boyer has overseen the gym’s two moves and donated 1000s of hours to ensure the fitness needs of the citizens of Fairview were always fulfilled.
Boyer then briefly addressed those present by saying how fortunate Life Fitness Center has been to have great support from the City of Fairview and Fairview Regional Medical Center over the years.
Boyer closed by thanking his wife, Terri, who he said has been his biggest supporter.
Final awards presenter of the evening was Phil Eitzen who had the privilege to present the 2021 Business of the Year award to Fairview Regional Medical Center.
During his presentation Eitzen talked about how 2020 was supposed to be a year of celebration for Fairview Regional Medical Center.
In 2020, FRMC was celebrating their 60th anniversary and had several community events planned, but that all changed in March when something called COVID-19 came to town.
He spoke how in early March the first directives were written at FRMS and in the coming weeks employees, staff and administration had to quickly adapt to ever changing set of protocol to meet the demands of the virus and the challenges it presented.
FRMC CEO Roger Knak then accepted the 2021 Business of the Year award on behalf of the entire staff of FRMC.
Knak then delivered a powerful speech that painted a picture of the heroic actions by all employees of FRMC during the nearly year long battle with the COVID-19 virus.
“Friday March 13th, Do you remember it? I know all of the managers at Fairview Regional Medical Center do. That was the date we had our first COVID huddle, That was the date we talked about how we were going to split our workforce, work from home, close departments and prepare for an enemy we had only seen depicted on TV with horrific details coming out of New York City and overseas.
“Saturday March 14th was a beautiful Saturday. My wife finally asked me ‘what is so important that your phone’s text messaging keeps going off.’ She wasn’t nearly as frustrated when I showed her it was the Physicians sharing what they had researched about best practices in treating COVID 19.
“This last year has been a blur of meetings, webinars, frustration, resilience and adaptation. I have never seen such teamwork and flexibility as I have witness over the past year exhibited by the employees of FRMC. As this was a new illness the treatment guidance and public health information changed frequently adding to the confusion.
“Amongst all of this I saw employees step up to be the commonsense treatment force and putting themselves and families at risk with the unknown enemy. PPE became unable to find causing us to reuse single use items.
“We set up a COVID unit and separated it from the rest of the patient population and we didn’t have a single instance of a hospital acquired COVID illness. Employees were going home and stripping off in the garage to prevent the potential of bringing the virus home to families.
“We spent two years working with our EHR vendor trying to get virtual visits going. After March 13th it took 48 hours to roll out our first virtual visit through ZOOM and many more followed.
“Staff had never heard of an Oxymizer or Vapotherm but very quickly they became something used daily. Medications we had never heard of, let alone be able to pronounce became a routine.
“Staff were the ones at the bedside providing comfort as families were prevented from visiting. I personally watched a staff member teach elderly family members how to use FaceTime and used her personal phone in the isolation unit on the other end so they could see and speak to their loved one during a short pause of being off BIPAP ventilatory support.
“I would see staff shed tears for a patient who was declining and likely to die without being in the presence of their loved ones, then wipe the tears away and go into the next room with the face of confidence to give hope to someone who was beginning to lose hope.
“We had daily huddles to review patient census and condition, supply shortages, oxygen levels, tests pending and percentage positive, infection control issues, workforce and workflow issues, and regional, state and neighboring state bed availability.
“It wasn’t unusual to have a patient on a waiting list for days seeking ICU level care while that level care was being provided in our little hospital. Never underestimate the creativity, dedication and quality of care provided in community hospitals across our country.
“Without them (community hospitals) the devastation seen in New York City would have been repeated over and over again in the rural part of this country.
“I also watched as our team came together to put together a plan to submit to the Oklahoma Department of Health to let us provide vaccinations to our community and the excitement as our plan was approved and we could begin to be part of the cure instead of the treatment
“I also saw a community that came together, meeting daily via ZOOM to talk about how we could care for our community. This was a broad scope of community leaders including City, County, EMS, Fire, Health Dept, Healthcare, Schools, Sr. Center, Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development and clergy.
“This group began and ended every meeting with a prayer, often the prayers expanded to cover the economic and other damage caused by this virus. The collapse of the oil industry, the isolation of our elderly, the crisis in our community business. We talked about closing parks, canceling community events, and many other things that were not fun but thought to be best to contain this unseen enemy.
“We also supported each other. There were many acts of kindness reflected to our employees from the community and they did not go unnoticed. Whether it was a meal, snack or a hand made card from one of the pre-schools they were felt and gave a boost to fight another day.
“Thank you for joining me in recognizing the best group of people I have had the privilege of knowing and working with. The employees and physicians of Fairview Regional Medical Center. I accept this recognition on their behalf.”
Final awards for the evening were then presented as front line workers were honored for their courageous actions during the past year.
Agencies being honored included: Fairview Fellowship Home, Fairview Fire Department, Major County EMS, Fairview Police Department, Major County Sheriff’s Department and Major County Health Department.
Each agency was presented with a special plaque that had been designed and made by the Fairview FFA members. Each plaque was then painted by Johnny Pendergraft.