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Letter of the Month winner: Tommy J. Rutledge of Guthrie

BY YOUR NAME Staff Writer Published: April 8, 2012

Each month, The Oklahoman's editorial board recognizes a contributor to Your Views for a letter to the editor that exemplifies a timely, fair, accurate and cogent viewpoint. Tommy J. Rutledge of Guthrie is the honoree for letters that appeared in Your Views last month. His “Build lives, not buildings” letter was published March 16.

Meet the writer:

Tommy J. Rutledge is a retired petroleum title analyst. His March 16 letter was inspired by the discrepancy he sees in state priorities. We devote resources to aesthetic projects and new buildings, he says, yet we often forget about our fellow human beings in need. Rutledge was concerned when he heard about a friend of a friend who would never get the drug treatment he needed because the waiting list was too long. Rutledge, 65, has lived in Oklahoma since the age of 4. He and his wife, Amanda, live in the country near Guthrie. They have two sons and four grandsons. In addition to his career in the independent oil and gas business, Rutledge served in the military for six years.

The letter:

The essence of “Addiction costs Oklahoma an estimated $7.2B a year” (News, March 10) is that many mentally ill people and drug addicts in Oklahoma desperately need treatment they can't acquire. While we bask in the renaissance of downtown Oklahoma City and the many beautiful buildings being built, are our priorities askew when we continue to direct our money and energy to building structures instead of building lives?

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