Thumbs up to Enid resident Willard Patocka, who on Saturday will receive the Harold J. Wittrock Humanitarian Award during Center of Family Love’s sixth annual Gift of Love Gala.

Patocka is president of Knights of Columbus Foundation of Oklahoma. He has been a member of Knights of Columbus for 57 years.

He has been involved in the group’s annual Thanksgiving meal for those in need, as well as with Knights disaster assistance and charitable efforts.

Since 1971, Patocka has served as a lay minister for the Enid Catholic community, taking Holy Communion to 15-20 people in nursing homes and hospitals each week.

He also has been an active volunteer each year since 2000 with the Special Olympics Oklahoma state meet in Stillwater.

Patocka got involved with Center of Family Love in 1975, when a small group of Knights of Columbus undertook the task of building a home for adults with special needs.

Initial fundraising for the home in Okarche took until 1981, Patocka said, and the center opened its doors in 1985.

Congratulations on a well-deserved honor.


Congratulations also are in store for Lydia Kelley, new executive director of Loaves & Fishes of Northwest Oklahoma.

Kelley graduated from the University of Texas in 2005 and got her start in nonprofit management as a temporary office assistant at Meals on Wheels of Austin.

She then climbed through the ranks to serve 10 years as director of volunteer services for Meals on Wheels of Central Texas, then another two years as executive director of Meals on Wheels in Palo Pinto County, in northwest Texas.

When her husband’s job moved him to Enid, she was drawn to Loaves & Fishes’ mission of serving the food insecure in the area.

Last year, the food resource center distributed more than 700,000 pounds of food to more than 5,500 people in need in more than 2,100 households.

The work was done with the help of 386 volunteers who donated more than 8,100 hours of work, according to the organization’s annual report.

We expect to see more good work in the future.


Thumbs up to World Mission Builders for its work around the world.

The faith-based nonprofit has built more than 300 churches and ministry-related buildings since 1975 in 89 countries.

In Enid now, they are building a new home on West Randolph for Paul and Mary Wilson, who have returned to Enid after 13 years of missionary work in the Philippines.

Oakwood Christian Church and Lakewood Christian Church of McAlester provided funds to build the home, and World Mission Builders provided about 30 volunteers to build the home.

Through a fundraising match program, World Mission Builders will build two churches in the Philippines, in conjunction with the home under construction in Enid.

With World Mission Builders’ help, Paul Wilson was part of building more than 100 churches during his time in the Philippines.

We commend World Mission Builders for all the work its done through the years.

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