Mark Harmon's famous half-smile expanded into a wide grin Friday as he watched a group of Oklahoma schoolchildren hustle to pull whimsical woodland creature costumes over their traditional American Indian garb.
When the Kenwood School Cherokee Singers and teacher Jan Ballou coaxed Harmon's teammates into providing wolf howls, bear growls and opossum giggles for “The Animal Song,” the TV and film actor's grin turned into full-blown laughs.
The “NCIS” star and his Bombers baseball team launched the 12th Annual Mark Harmon Celebrity Weekend on Friday with a tour of the future Oklahoma City Indian Clinic Harmon-y Pediatric Facility. The tour ended with a three-song performance by the Kenwood students, who traveled from their community 40 miles north of Tahlequah to welcome Harmon and his teammates, including former Major League Baseball players Wally Joyner and Rick Sutcliffe.
“It's inordinately special to come back and put your hands on a wall that wasn't there last year. Then you can actually see the effect of the time you've put in and the effort you've made to try to direct funds to the right place,” said Harmon, who received the gift of a Cherokee woven basket and a golden pin with “Hello” written in Cherokee from the Kenwood children. “It's our pleasure to come and take part ... and we couldn't be more pleased with the way this is being done.”
Along with Friday night's charity bowling and auction event, the Celebrity Weekend includes the annual baseball matchup between Harmon's Bombers and the Oklahoma Sports Science and Orthopaedics Outlaws. The game begins at 3 p.m. Saturday at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.
“It's not really baseball. We think we're playing baseball, but the focus for all of it is really about the kids,” Harmon said with a laugh. “It's really not who wins with the score, 'cause it's all a win.”
Proceeds from this year's festivities benefit the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic and the Anna's House Foundation.
“Without their philanthropic help, we certainly wouldn't be where we are today,” said Robyn Sunday-
In the past three years, the clinic has received about $250,000 from the charity event, she said. The funds have been earmarked for its pediatrics program; about 25 percent of the 17,000 patients the clinic treats are 18 or younger.
if you go
Celebrity baseball game