If you’ve followed my blog at all, I don’t think you’ll be surprised to hear that I’m a proud Okie, displaced in Minnesota.  While I like Minnesota okay, Oklahoma will always be home.  It’s the place I think of when the word “home” is mentioned.  It’s where most of my family still resides, and it’s where I placed the setting of my novel, The Edge of Nowhere.  I’m Sooner Born and Bred, and my blood runs the crimson and cream of my alma mater, The University of Oklahoma.

One of the best things ever for me is when the home of my heart intersects with the home of my physical being, and that’s just what happened this week when I was sent a link to an article that appeared on local news station, KAAL-TV.  The story was about the Gift of Life Transplant House in Rochester, MN.  Recently this home that welcomes Mayo Clinic patients and families received its most generous monetary donation in the organization’s history.  That donation was made by none other than a charitable foundation from Oklahoma:  The Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation.

The Gift of Life Transplant House - Rochester, MN
The Gift of Life Transplant House – Rochester, MN

Mr. and Mrs. Zarrow of Tulsa, Oklahoma were prolific philanthropists, giving money to a variety of worthy causes during their lifetimes.  While both are gone, their legacy of love and giving lives on through the foundation set up in their name.

I love this story for a variety of reasons.  First because it’s the “intersection” of the two pieces of my life.  But more than that, it’s a great example of the Oklahoma Spirit.  This is just the kind of thing that Oklahomans do if they can.  Oklahomans are known for extending a helping hand to those in need, whether it be simply stopping on the side of the road to help a stranded motorist or digging deep into their pockets to provide financial relief to another.  It’s just what we do.  It’s what we have always done.  From the earliest days of Oklahoma’s history and providing food and shelter to those suffering under the conditions of the dust bowl, to the ravages of storms brought by mother nature and fear brought by terrorists, Oklahomans do for others.

A huge thank you on behalf of all of Rochester, MN for the generous donation from the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, but also a personal thank you from myself.  Thank you for showing the other half of my world the love and generosity that defines the teachings of my formative years in Oklahoma.

And a huge thanks to Julie Kohman for sharing this article with me!