Mark Williams, director of external affairs with AT&T Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, has been selected the winner in the annual Leadership Oklahoma City Helping Oklahoma contest.
Williams, a seven-year volunteer board member and current board chair for the Central and Western Oklahoma American Red Cross, was recognized for exceptional service to a nonprofit organization. The recognition comes with a $2,500 award for the organization to further the work of the volunteer.
When tornadoes ripped through central Oklahoma last May, Williams put service above all else and made the Red Cross his new office. He continued helping for nearly three weeks. Previous experience led him to know the Red Cross would soon be faced with hundreds of survivors clamoring to find help, hope and something as simple as a way to charge their cellphone.
Williams organized an Internet cafe and IT setup at local community centers so clients had access to charging stations for their cellphones while they waited for a case manager to assist them. They could get on the Internet and connect with family, check emails, get on Facebook and pay bills. Also, Williams quietly facilitated a call with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health to coordinate the training of 200 mental health personnel in Red Cross procedures within 48 hours of the disaster.
“Mark didn't just talk the talk of volunteerism, he walked it,” said Janienne Bella, regional CEO for Central and Western Oklahoma American Red Cross. “He inspired and led his board through emergency meetings to stretch them and continues to do so. He's already planning for the next event, convening IT partners to be better prepared in the future and to ensure Oklahoma citizens continue to get the best the Red Cross has to offer when disaster strikes again.”
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For more information about Helping Oklahoma, go to www.