Bush to honor Oklahoman with award Friday

Thursday, September 11th 2008, 7:03 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

Friday, President Bush will make his way to Oklahoma City. He'll attend a roundtable discussion and a fundraising reception for what he hopes will be his predecessor, John McCain.

The president will also honor an Oklahoman. The Oklahoman spends her time thanking the troops for their service, now she'll get big thanks from the commander in chief.

Most days you'll find Karen Stark with her team of volunteers, making cooling neckties, called Hugs, and shipping them, with other goodies, in care packages to the troops. Just a few days ago, she got a call from the White House.

"Stunned, silence, you know, she had to ask me if I was excited, before I really said anything," Stark said.

A woman told Karen when President Bush arrives he'll present her with the President's Volunteer Service Award.

"It's a great honor for, not myself, for the entire Hugs Project organization, I'm not the one who has made this happen, the workers are the ones who have made this happen," Stark said.

The honor is just one part of the President's quick trip to Oklahoma. Bush will also stop at the Presbyterian Health Foundation Conference Center for a roundtable discussion on heath care. Then, he'll head to a local home, for a John McCain victory reception and fundraiser.

"We were happy to help him get re-elected and we're happy to help elect his successor," Gary Jones, Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman, said.

The fundraiser lunch runs $1,000 per person. A picture with the President is $5,000 and for $25,000, you get a brief meeting with Bush.

Stark didn't pay anything; hard work bought her a meeting.

"The award says ‘Because every American troop serving in Harm's way deserves the thanks of a grateful nation, and so does their commander in chief'," Stark said.

Stark made the President an award of her own, and can't wait.

"I'm just really excited about getting to talk to him and tell him ‘thank you'," Stark said.

The Republican Party Chair said that John McCain will not accompany the President on this visit.

News9.com will live stream Bush's arrival and departure in Oklahoma Friday.