The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

December 31, 2012

Martie Oyler nominated for 2012 Pillar of the Plains

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Martie Oyler has come a long way in her career with Oklahoma Natural Gas, but she never forgot about the community.

Oyler said her parents and grandparents were examples to her about being active in the community, and she has used their example while working in Enid.

Oyler has been involved in many activities and helped a number of Enid organizations in the 25 years she has lived here. She is regional manager of Oklahoma Natural Gas and moved to Enid after graduating from Oklahoma State University.

She is one of five finalists for the annual Pillar of the Plains, created by the Enid News & Eagle and its community partners to honor people who have taken on tasks and projects to better the quality of life in the community.

Other finalists are Gary Kirtley, Dr. David S. Russell and Larry and Rick Simpson. The recipient will be announced Jan. 10 at a ceremony at Convention Hall.

Oyler started as a consumer service representative for ONG, and her job was to go into schools and teach high school students about gas appliances.

Since then, she has played a role in a variety of community projects, many of which involve education.

One of her greatest accomplishments was being one of the leaders of Enid Public Schools’ successful $99 million bond issue, the largest approved in Enid history. The bond issue paid for construction of two new elementary schools and funded renovations at all other school sites. Oyler said the bond issue passed because it was time.

“I think it was time, and the community realized the need and it was well-presented, and the community understood what they were voting for,” Oyler said.

The bond issue in 2010 paved the way for improvements to Enid schools that had been needed for years, she said. Oyler said helping children is particularly rewarding for her: “What better way to support young people than giving them facilities?”

When Oyler moved to Enid early in her career, ONG encouraged its employees to be active in the community. She was a loaned executive to United Way of Enid and Northwest Oklahoma, and during that time, she met Dick Lambertz and Bert Mackie, who she said were good role models for serving a community.

Amber Fitzgerald, spokeswoman for Enid Public Schools, said Oyler has been a valuable supporter of education. As a member of the 2010 bond committee, Oyler helped develop the plan and was a public face for the campaign.

“As a mom with three children in the district who volunteered countless hours of her time, she really understood why the improvements and additional classrooms were needed,” Fitzgerald said. “Her voice was very meaningful to the process, and we greatly valued her input.”

Fitzgerald said Oyler and other parents saw the potential of Enid students and knew they could make a difference in the community in helping create the Platinum E Community Service Club at Enid High School.

“The Platinum E organization allows students to channel their energy into something positive that impacts the lives of others,” Fitzgerald said. “To me, it is Martie and the other parents modeling to the next generation something very near and dear to their hearts: the act of volunteerism and helping others.”

Mike Fields, president of Enid Rotary Club, said Oyler has been one of the primary organizers of the club’s Festival of Flavor. Proceeds go to Emerson Middle School for technology needs. The club also adopted Lincoln Alternative School and — with Oyler as the primary organizer — completed a project that provided Lincoln with the means to serve breakfast to students who need it.

As Rotary service coordinator, Oyler is in charge of making sure all Rotary projects are completed. Fields said she is responsible for writing grants to the national Rotary Club that provide funds for local programs.

“Just recently, she wrote a grant to fund Loaves and Fishes program, about $5,000 from Rotary,” Fields said. “She always has a positive outlook and is looking for ways to make the community better and give students the best chance possible to succeed.”

Over the years, Oyler has been a United Way board president and annual fundraising campaign chairwoman. She has been active with Enid Public Schools as a volunteer in PTA, booster clubs and promotions. She also has been named Enid YWCA Woman of the Year, and  called the YWCA board “a neat group of women.”

“They work with things nobody likes to talk about — child abuse and domestic violence — and they do a lot of good work,” Oyler said.

Friends have called Oyler community-minded.

When Janet Cordell, a previous Pillar of the Plains recipient, heard Oyler was a finalist, her reaction was, “about time.”

Oyler, her husband, Troy Enmeier, and their children established a tradition of adopting a family and purchasing presents for them at Christmas.

She also has been elected to Autry Technology Center board, is a CDSA Smart Start volunteer, and was a Gateway Enid Advisory Committee member and founding member of the Juliette Low Leadership Society to assist Girl Scouts. She was a community member on the EPS search committee that hired Superintendent Shawn Hime, and is a member of Denny Price Family YMCA board .

Oyler has been in at the start of a number of community organizations.

“It’s nice to start those and hand them off to see where other people have taken them,” Oyler said.

In 1996, she became the first female chair of the Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce.

Oyler said she believes in the saying, “It is more blessed to give than receive.” She got that example from her parents and grandparents, and said her husband believes the same thing.

“We’re blessed to be able to serve the community,” Oyler said. “In college, I delivered mobile meals. It’s something my parents and grandparents did.”

She said she hopes to expose her children to the same type of service.

“Martie is one of the most giving people that I know. She finds the most creative ways — big and small — to make others feel special and happy,” Fitzgerald said. “When she sees someone in need, she finds a way to help. More often than not, they don’t even know it was her. She doesn’t do it for the credit, she does it to make life better for someone else.”

One of the most rewarding things Oyler said she has done is to work with high school seniors, along with AT&T’s Sandra Robinette, to promote a campaign against texting and driving. They worked with members of the Enid High senior class. She said it is rewarding to see those students grow as they talked to community and state leaders and to become passionate about the issue.

Oyler said ONG is growing and changing, and there are many opportunities with the company, but she hopes to be able to stay in Enid.

“I want to stay. It’s home to my children, and it’s been nice for our kids to attend Enid Public Schools,” she said.