The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Progress 2013

March 30, 2013

It's not magic, it's compassion

Local Salvation Army, its staff, are no illusion to down-on-his-luck performer, others in need

ENID, Okla. — Few people would expect a performer who had taken the stage in front of presidents and national television audiences to suddenly end up homeless and destitute.

“Magic Al” Ravine, a nationally recognized magician and illusionist, found himself in that position not long ago. His path to recovery, and even greater successes, began where it begins for many people facing hard times — at the Salvation Army.

“One thing I’ve learned is anybody can be knocked off their saddle, and a person’s life can be changed in the twinkling of an eye,” Ravine said. “I would not have believed it could happen to me, but it did. A series of events put me in the position where I was completely homeless.”

On top of the world

Ravine was at the top of a career in the entertainment industry. He had opened his act in Las Vegas, had appeared with David Letterman, made television appearances and toured nationally with entertainers such as Rick James and Fats Domino.

His husband-and-wife team show came to an abrupt end through divorce, leading to the loss of his show bookings. Illness followed, requiring a stay in the hospital and draining savings.

Ravine moved into a motel in Broken Arrow but wasn’t able to sustain the rent without work. A hit-and-run accident totaled his car, leaving him stranded with no work, no place to stay and no transportation.

In a short period of time he found himself on the street with his few belongings, and even fewer options.

“I had no money, no car ... I was completely destitute,” Ravine said. “There’s nothing worse than being out on the street, because you become tired and weary, and you look bad and feel bad.

“That experience was something you almost couldn’t convince me could happen to me, but it could happen to anyone. They could end up getting a divorce, they could get sick ... anything could happen.”

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Progress 2013
  • Progress cover page.jpg 2013 OUR HERITAGE, OUR FUTURE

    The News & Eagle puts out an annual Progress edition. This year's 2013 Our Heritage, Our Future focuses the Enid area's rich heritage and its current and future endeavors.

    Read individual stories on the enidnews.com site HERE

    Links to Full Edition pdf format: Economic Development | Health & Wellness | Education | Northwest Oklahoma | Faith | Family | Agriculture & Energy | Community Service

    Our Progress edition also is available as part of our digital newspaper. Learn more about the ENE e-edition HERE.

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    April 13, 2013 2 Photos 1 Link

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    April 13, 2013 3 Photos 1 Link

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    April 13, 2013 2 Photos 1 Link

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    April 13, 2013 1 Photo 1 Link

  • AmTryke_3_BV.jpg AMBUCS pride

    “Enid is known as the AMBUCS capital of the world because there’s more AMBUCS in Enid per capita than any other city in the country." — Kent Clingenpeel, National AMBUCS president and Enid AM AMBUCS member

    April 13, 2013 2 Photos 1 Link

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    “When we talk about developing professional airmen, our community involvement is a big part of it.” — Col. Darren James, commander of 71st Flying Training Wing

    April 13, 2013 4 Photos 1 Link

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    Stepping Stones and Van’s House are housed at the same facility and are there to provide help for those who are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.

    April 13, 2013 1 Photo 1 Link

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    From vocational rehabilitation and homeless shelter services to community arts programs, a significant portion of Enid’s non-profit causes benefit directly when people shop at or donate to local thrift stores.

    April 13, 2013 1 Photo 1 Link

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    Junior Welfare League bought adjoining buildings downtown and has been operating Return Engagement from one of the buildings but hopes to expand the store throughout both buildings.

    April 13, 2013 3 Photos 1 Link