I have written several columns about work related stress. I am addressing it again because it is not declining. It seems like a hamster in the wheel dynamic, but this dynamic is literally killing people. So lets talk about it again.

Nicole writes: “Someone was always on top of me, “ says the 42 year old. “I had regular panic attacks, felt like I would faint at any moment and was always on the verge of tears. The job literally made me sick – my health had gotten to a point that was unlivable, unworkable and a mess.”
So she quit her job to save her life.
It may sound a bit dramatic, but Jeffery Pfeffer, a Stanford professor and author of “Dying for a Paycheck” says that toxic workplace practices – micromanagement, fear of layoffs, pressure to work more hours, and making people feel they are not good enough — is the fifth leading cause of death, in front of Alzheimer’s and kidney disease.
“People stay in jobs that are unhealthy for them, which cause stress,” he says. “That often leads to smoking, drinking, overeating, not sleeping AND dying.” Pfeffer’s book is a call to action that companies need to change and the individuals, when they are in workplaces that are overridden with stress, need to quit.
What is unfortunate is that companies will probably NOT read his book. The hamster in the wheel dynamic looks like the following: 1. The employee goes to work for a company/business. 2. No big issues at first. 3. As time goes on, the micromanagement becomes more annoying. 4. The workload increases (you notice you are doing the job of 2, not what your job description defines). 5. You notice you have more headaches than usual, you sleep less due to dread of another day at the job, that second glass of wine helped to unwind. 6. Management seems more punitive and totally lacking in appreciation, job pressures increase. 7. You need the benefits and paycheck…..what do you do?
The work place movie, “The Death of the Employee” plays on. Here are some things we can do:
1. Take action before your cardiologist tells you your heart cannot continue with intense stress.
2. Take care of yourself — Don’t work an unsustainable schedule, skip vacation or miss spending time with family and friends. These things buffer the effects of stress.
3. Its not just about you — job-related stress kills families, marriages and friendships.
4. Work for an employer who values health and well-being – work is more than money, and money cannot completely undo damage to relationships or physical or mental health.

Salvation Army Red Kettle bell ringers are helping fund vital programs for seniors this holiday season.

by Bobby Anderson, RNby Bobby Anderson, RN Staff Writer

For Lois DeBerry, the sound of bells ringing next to the Salvation Army Red Kettle during the holidays always meant a time of joy.
It was only when she got older did she learn those bells also symbolized mercy, generosity and the goodness of mankind.
Now the Canadian County Service Director for the Salvation Army, DeBerry counts on those bells to ring throughout the season so seniors won’t be forgotten.
DeBerry’s job description is whatever hat she needs to wear she puts on.
“It depends on what role needs to be played whether it’s a janitor or taking clients to appointments,” DeBerry said. “My goal here is to serve the needs as it comes available and it’s not just the low-income family.”
“Seniors became my heart out there. We have so many programs that focus on family and children. Nothing pulls at the heart strings like a child being hungry. A senior being hungry or not having a coat pulls on my heart strings.”
And while so many focus this season on families and children, DeBerry makes sure seniors aren’t forgotten.
“Seniors are not taken care of as well as a family is (this time of year),” she said. “As we get older we need more attention. The seniors are more proud and do not always ask for help.”
That’s why most of DeBerry’s clients come from referrals. Maybe a neighbor or friend has noticed something and passed the need along.
Under DeBerry’s watch, the Salvation Army will provide a gift to the 600 seniors living in assisted living, nursing homes or low-income housing in Canadian County.
“Just a way to say ‘you’re being thought of,’” DeBerry says.
There’s also a senior Silver Bell Tree. This invitation-only program focuses on those with the greatest need.
“We don’t have a vast place we can go and put up an angel tree or silver bell tree and get people adopted like they do in OKC in the mall,” DeBerry said. “We provide them with a clothing outfit through that program as well as a household need and a want.”
Sometimes its as simple as a new quilt for their bed or a can opener or a coffee pot.
“It’s always basic necessities they request,” DeBerry said, noting 21 seniors will be among the recipients this year.
DeBerry is on her 35th year with the Salvation Army. She’s worked in all different avenues in five different states.
Wherever she goes, the need never ends.
“Those that come in that want to change,” DeBerry said of her favorites. “By that I mean they come in and request assistance but they’re not here for a handout, they’re here for a hand up and wanting to know what they can do to change.”
Some clients come in for the first time after an emergency – a death out of state that required funds to travel, a big electric bill or unexpected medical bill.
“When something like that happens you don’t want them to do without or lose their lights because they choose to go respect a loved one,” DeBerry said.
“It’s such a wonderful feeling to be a part of the relief process and helping them.”
For Canadian County, the main need right now is people. Every penny raised in the Red Kettle program goes back into the community.
Bell ringers are not paid and if bells aren’t ringing money isn’t coming in.
DeBerry said there is a severe shortage of bell ringers in both Yukon and El Reno during weekday evenings as well as Saturdays.
To help out or find out more about ringing the bell you can go online to register at You can also call DeBerry at 405-323-8846 or 405-295-2343. Her email is
Those bells will always be near and dear to her.
“The bells ringing – I started that when I was a little girl and didn’t really understand. I’ve worked for the Salvation Army for 35 years but I started as a character building program and rang bells,” DeBerry said. “As a girl I didn’t understand, I just knew it was a time to go out sing and dance and have fun at the kettle. Now it’s about the Lord instilling in you. Sometimes ringing the bell is all I can do.”
“Ringing the bells goes back to the grace of God and the mercy He provides us. It reminds us of his coming and that was all about being there to impact peoples’ lives.”

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation Vice President of Development Penny Voss with memorabilia from 'Oklahoma!'. Through a generous gift, OMRF has received more than ,000 for medical research through ticket sales for the musical.

The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation has received its share of interesting donations over the years. Along with the typical gifts made by check and credit card, there have also been cars, houses, jars of change collected at a lemonade stand, and even a toy soldier collection.
But none quite rival the estate gift that Claremore’s William Edgar Riggs left to the Oklahoma City nonprofit.

Riggs’ brother Lynn penned “Green Grow the Lilacs,” the 1931 play that Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II used as the basis for the musical “Oklahoma!” When Lynn died, he willed equal shares of his 1-percent royalty on the musical to William Edgar and his three other siblings.
William Edgar lost his wife to heart disease and his daughter to cancer. So, when he passed away in 1977, he left his royalty share to OMRF to benefit research for those two diseases.
“It was a really generous and foresighted thing to do,” said OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D.
With the gift, OMRF receives one-quarter of 1 percent of the musical’s box office share each year.
The show enjoyed a series of revivals from 1979 through 2002, including two on Broadway and one in London’s West End starring Hugh Jackman, and is still performed approximately 700 times a year. As a result, William Riggs’ gift has now provided OMRF researchers with more than $700,000.
“I’ve worked in the nonprofit sector my whole life, but I’d never heard of a donation like this until I joined OMRF,” said Penny Voss, OMRF’s vice president of development. “It truly is a gift that keeps on giving.”
Indeed, the donations will continue as long as “Green Grow the Lilacs” remains under copyright. In 2017, OMRF received just over $10,000 in “Oklahoma!” royalties.
With “Oklahoma!” celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2018, the musical saw a surge in the number of productions. That should mean a corresponding boost in revenues for OMRF.
Even though OMRF didn’t yet exist when Lynn Riggs wrote his play, I hope he’d find it fitting that his work benefits Oklahoma’s homegrown research institute,” said Voss.
Grassroots support from Oklahomans in all 77 counties helped make OMRF a reality in 1950. “Those are the same kind of people portrayed in the musical—strong, caring, forward-looking,” she said. “We still see that spirit in our donors today.”

Kathleen Dwyer, PhD, RN was recently named one of the 2018 Angel Award recipients.

Kathleen Dwyer, PhD, RN, was one of the 2018 Angel Award recipients at the annual Dr. Ruth Joyce Colbert Barnes Foundation, Inc. and the Oklahoma Sovereign Arts Foundation reception on November 3, 2018. The Angel Award acknowledges individuals who are unsung heroes and have given of themselves to affect positive changes in the lives of others. Dwyer was nominated and honored for her work to improve health outcomes in communities facing disparities.
“I’m pleased that Dr. Dwyer has received this well-deserved recognition. She’s widely recognized as an expert in community-based participatory research designed to improve the health of communities,” said Gary L. Loving, interim dean for the OU College of Nursing. Dr. Dwyer’s recent research work included an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) funded study to improve health and eliminate urban health disparities in the state. The project partnered with multiple churches and a small urban school district to implement an individualized telephone-based health coaching program. Additionally, Dr. Dwyer has received a research grant as a part of the 2018 Stephenson Cancer Center pilot grants program for Care Coordination for Cherokee Nation Cancer Patients.

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