Sherry Poage may have graduated from Bethany High School, but she is all about Yukon.
Poage serves on the boards for the Canadian County United Way, Yukon 66 Main Street, Compassionate Hands and several other agencies. Friday, she was honored for her dedication by being named the H.B. Frank Citizen of the Year.
Poage, who was seated just to the right of the stage, said she was stunned to hear her name called.
The name of the citizen of the year is kept a closely held secret. And while Poage has been on the committee that selected the award recipient in the past, this year she listened as details of her own life were read.
“I thought ‘that’s me,’” Poage said.
Still, she wasn’t quite a believer until they actually called her name.
“I knew I had been nominated before, but you assume you are not going to get it,” she said. “I recognized what he was saying and thought ‘He’s talking about me.’ I was in shock.”
Poage said she enjoys volunteering in an effort to make Yukon a better community.
“You do it because you want to. You do it because you love Yukon and you really don’t expect anything for it, but to be recognized … ,” she said.
Poage has lived in Yukon since 1981, though she did leave for a while to work in Oklahoma City.
However, when she moved back 18 years ago, she said it was important to get involved in community organizations.
“All I could think of what that I wanted to get involved in the community. That’s the one thing I wanted do. I was involved in Oklahoma City, but this is more. This is where I raised my family,” she said.
So, she got involved and plans to remain so.
“I will keep doing the same things I do. I have no intention of changing anything. I still want to do anything I can to help Yukon. If people need me, I’m always willing to help. That’s what I do,” she said.
Poage said receiving the award is even more special because she knew H.B. Franks, who was very personable.
“He was the sweetest man. I loved him to death, but I had no idea at the time what all he had done for Yukon. … I had no idea about his background,” she said.
“After I learned it, I was always so pleased that I had known him,” she said.
Poage also said that receiving the award means that the people of Yukon appreciate your work.
“You know now that you are appreciated without expecting to be appreciated. I have always done things because I love Yukon,” she said.
Also honored during the ceremony was Dr. Gregory Root, who was the recipient of the T.J. Lowery Humanitarian Award.
Root, who is an obstetrician at Integris Canadian Valley Hospital, was behind an effort to provide a service of remembrance to honor and remember all who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy, infant or child.
The first service was in December 2017.
The candlelit ceremony provides a comforting atmosphere that allows others to share their experiences, honor the brief life of the child and allow for social recognition to the depth of the loss of the parents.
In addition, each of those attending had an opportunity to make a specialized Christmas ornament in remembrance of their lost child and to hang them on a tree during a moment of silence.
Jim Poe, who leads Santa’s Toy Shoppe, was named the 2018 volunteer of the year.
Poe was honored for the many hours he spends soliciting sponsors and toys for Santa’s Toy Shoppe.
The annual event provides toys to thousands of children in eastern Canadian County each Christmas.
Poe has been involved with the program since 2001 when it began as part of the Salvation Army’s annual toy drive.
Last year, more than 300 families were helped.
Poe, who had recent surgery, was unable to attend the gala.
Meanwhile, Lynn North was honored as the Chamber Ambassador of the Year.
Christian Brothers’ Automotive received the Large Business of the Year award, while Archery Traditions was named Small Business of the Year.