Welcome back. From riding on the Santa Fe Trail in New Mexico to Governor George Nigh’s Northwest Passage highway and back through the panhandle of Oklahoma through the great salt plains and into Pawhuska, home of the Tallgrass Prairie and then finally Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Once upon a time this trip would have taken me a solid two weeks on horseback but fortunately in my car it’s a straight twelve hour drive. Friends the terrain makes it seems like a different world out there and there is an abundance of things for me to write about including the history of the old west, the Spaniards, meteorites, UFOs and cattle mutilations.
Of course here in Bartlesville we have a lot of interesting history as well and this week I thought I’d bring you some background on an important local organization many of us have had contact with. Washington County Elder Care started in 1983 in a small house on Douglas Lane with a staff of just two people with the mission to “help mature adults live happy healthy independent lives.” Over time as the population of older adults in our area grew so did the need for services and Elder Care expanded into the old Jane Phillips Memorial Hospital building. Then in 2005 after a highly successful building campaign that drew support from throughout the community, the organization completed a new state of the art facility on Swan Drive. Today Elder Care provides a wide range of services to seniors and caregivers including adult day health, social networking, specialized physical therapy, a health care clinic and care management. They serve over 850 people each month, one of them being me, and their client base keeps growing because we’re all getting older.
One person among the thousands whose lives have been touched by Elder Care was Kathleen Boren Mullendore and that turned out to be a great thing for them. Twenty years ago Mrs. Mullendore invited Elder Care to use her historic Cross Bell Ranch for a fund raising event and the rest as they say is history. With the dedication and hard work of a committee which initially included Betty Kane, Donna Allison and Joann Gallery The Good, The Bad & The Barbeque was an immediate success and has become one the largest and most popular events of the year.
After Kathleen Mullendore died her daughter Katsy continued to host the Barbeque which is held every Mother’s Day in honor of her mother. Now that Katsy is gone her children are carrying on the tradition in support of Elder Care and in honor of both their mother and grandmother.
This year committee Chairperson Virginia Sawyer tells me that her great team of volunteers is planning another wonderful event with many special surprises for the 20th anniversary celebration. In addition to the usual great music, wonderful barbeque and exciting auctions there will be a raffle, souvenirs and much more. Best of all guests will be able to experience the beauty of the historic Cross Bell Ranch which provides a unique setting for the evening.
The proceeds from the Barbeque are used to support Elder Care’s services which we will all need sooner or later so I hope to see you out at the ranch.
Till next time, I’ll see ya down the road…..