Legislator honored for child advocacy
State Rep. Harold Wright of Weatherford was honored March 4 at the State Capitol by a coalition of child welfare agencies for his long history of child advocacy.
The coalition, Oklahoma Care, named Rep. Wright as the recipient of its Terry Hyman Legislator of the Year Award. The award is named for the late Rep. Hyman, who died in 2008. Since joining the legislature in 2009, Wright has stepped forward in support of legislative proposals to protect children and youth and to strengthen families in Oklahoma, the coalition noted.
"We see over 2,000 bills in the House alone each year. If I can help with legislation at this point that deals with kids, that’s a good deal," Wright said.
Wright, a grandparent, is a member of Weatherford-First UMC and former chairman of the Oklahoma United Methodist Circle of Care. He has taught Sunday school classes for fourth- and fifth-graders at his home church. He also has been a Boy Scout volunteer. For the Oklahoma Conference, he has been a General and Jurisdictional Conference delegate.
Prior to his election to the Legislature, Wright devoted countless hours and energy to the Board of Directors of the Circle of Care, reported officials of the agency. Wright served eight years as board chairman.
He oversaw the almost complete rebuilding of Children’s Home in Tahlequah and Boy’s Ranch in Gore. He was instrumental in development of Holsinger Home in Enid, a professional foster home for sibling groups or other children with special needs, and in development of the Child SHARE foster care support program.
His pastor initially asked Wright to consider Circle of Care for volunteer service beyond his home church. "In the radio business, I dealt mostly with sales and management. Working with kids through Circle of Care gave me a great deal of satisfaction to do more to help in another way," Wright said.
He saw confidence and good communication skills grow within the young people he met at Boy’s Ranch and Children’s Home.
"Circle of Care gave them lots of tools to help them get along in life," Wright said. "Some kids may not have that kind of leadership at home. Sometimes it is necessary to be able to have a young person in an institution, like Boy’s Ranch, where they can get outside of their environment and start a new life.
"Circle of Care is an outstanding ministry. I challenge the members of our Conference to realize there are always kids out there who need help. This ministry is only limited by dollars."
Oklahoma Care is a nonprofit network of public and private agencies, such as Circle of Care, that work together to provide quality care to troubled children and their families.