Sondra Reid received recognition as Champion of Character for Availability at a drive-by-presentation on Thursday. Character Council President, Jim Hulsey presented the certificate to her at Silver Leaf Gems, a business Sondra co-owns with her sister, Stephanie Carel and mother, Diana Pate.
Stephanie nominated Sondra for the honor. She described Sondra’s commitment to her family, which includes a 24/7 commitment to care for her elderly mother-in-law, Jeanette Nelson, as well as helping out at Silver Leaf Gems.
Despite her busy lifestyle, Sondra helps with the Downtown Edmond Arts Festival, the Edmond Preservation Trust, the Fine Arts Institute, clearing litter at schoolyards, cleaning and landscaping the Gower Cemetery, and placing Christmas and other holiday décor in Downtown Edmond. Due to the Oklahoma wind, Sondra may end up repairing them multiple times when they fall down.
Stephanie said, Sondra volunteers for community organizations whether she is associated or not. If she knows there’s a need she will jump in, even last minute.
Sondra said, “Helping others energizes me. It doesn’t have to be volunteering time, like with the Arts Festival. I can just be there for someone, checking out to make sure that they are okay.”
Sondra’s attitude about serving may be surprising to some. When asked if there are times she should say, “No,” Sondra responded, “I should, but no, I make it work.” She welcomes the opportunity to assist others and doesn’t find it a burden. Sondra said, “I don’t care if it takes time. You do what you would want others to do for you.”
During Sondra’s formulative years, her whole family modeled availability to her and still do. Her mother worked hard, but made it a priority to spend time with Sondra when she needed it. It was the same for Stephanie and their other sister, Jackie Allen, as well. Sondra said, “You can have the worse day and my family just knows and they’re there for you. They’ve always been like that. It’s a great family.”
When she has the opportunity to help someone out, her husband, Michael, and twenty-year old daughter, Dharma, give their full support and enable her to free up the time.
Sondra described the thrill it gives her when her efforts make a difference to the lives of others. As an example, Sondra said, “When Jeanette is having a hard day and I can make her smile, it fills my heart up.” In preparation for teaching her pre-K class at the Fine Arts Institute, she may stay up until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. The joy she sees on those little ones’ faces makes it all worth it. Sondra said, "The opportunity to create a child's dream artistically helps foster their imagination and boosts their self-esteem. If I can help in finding that inspiration, it is no problem to stay up that late."
Sondra, her mom and Stephanie all help with the Downtown Edmond Arts Festival. Sondra said “There is a lot to do and little sleep, but when it’s over, it’s like that was so much fun, can’t wait for next year.” Stephanie said, “Sondra is very valuable to her family and friends and makes a big impact on our city with all of her volunteer projects.”
Sondra was born at Edmond Memorial Hospital and grew up in Edmond. She moved to Colorado after graduation, where she met her husband, Michael Reid. They married and had their daughter Dharma, before moving back to Edmond in 2001. Michael works as a radiation specialist for the Department of Environmental Quality and Dharma is preparing to move out and embrace the next phase of her life.
Pictured: Sondra Reid
Please complete the form located on our website to recognize an Edmond citizen for a specific character trait. Forms may be submitted from the website or mailed to the
Character Council of Edmond
Champions of Character
PO Box 392
Edmond, OK 73083-0392.
Champions of Character Honorees
2010 to Present