An Oklahoma City business owner and literacy advocate took his passion for reading on a statewide run. Tom Pace, CEO of PaceButler Corp., made a 236-mile run across Oklahoma in March, giving 5,000 books to residents along the way. Pace said he ran from the Oklahoma/Kansas line to the Oklahoma/Texas state line to promote the importance of reading, exercise and mentoring. “It was absolutely one of the greatest weeks of my life,” Pace, 55, said recently. The businessman said his trek fits within the mission of his PaceButler Books Program. PaceButler buys used cellphones from companies and individuals throughout the United States. As part of the books program, the company will give away one educational book for every cellphone it receives. Pace said he set out to give away 5,000 copies of “The Purpose Driven Life” by evangelist Rick Warren during the run and he accomplished his goal. “So many people were just excited about getting the book. They had heard about it and were excited to get one,” he said. Pace, author of the book “Mentor: The Kid & The CEO,” said he developed a passion for reading at age 26. He said at that time in his life, he read at only a fourth-grade level, with his reading ability hampered by dyslexia and attention deficit disorder. Pace said a mentor gave him a copy of “The Purpose Driven Life” and he ended up reading it about 68 times.
Running for literacyHe said he went on to read other books, including the Bible, and his quality of life improved. “I realized that by reading, I could gain knowledge to have a quality of life. It gave me hope,” Pace said. Pace, who attends United Methodist Church of the Servant, said reading the right books can change a person’s life. “I have a passion to make a difference in someone’s life,” he said. Pace said during his run, which began March 1, he got cold and wet and hot and dry over the eight days it took him to complete his journey. Pace said he ran about 30 miles each day, resting for the night in a mobile home driven by his PaceButler assistant, Gunnar Jones. Pace said when he turned 55 during the week of the run, Jones brought him a birthday cake and set it out beside the highway so he would come upon it. Pace said he did not train for the run but he runs about 25 miles each week so he deemed himself pretty fit. Nevertheless, he said by the last two days of the run, his ankles were swollen and his Achilles tendons were so sore that all he could do was speed walk to his finish. Pace said he walked from an area about 15 miles north of Blackwell to the other side of the Red River. He said he stopped in cities like Perry, Guthrie, Oklahoma City, Purcell, Pauls Valley and Ardmore. In January, the entrepreneur held a reading event at State Fair Park in which participants were invited to read or listen to others read and have the opportunity to win cash prizes. An avid runner, Pace said he often runs at Lake Hefner and has encouraged people to run with him.
FOLLOW HIS JOURNEY ONLINETom Pace said he is encouraging people to see what he has accomplished by visiting his website at www.pacebutler.com/PurposeDrivenRun.cfm.