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Special Abilities

Kevin Durant, governor, teach youth value the of fitness

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
NBA superstar and MVP Kevin Durant joined Gov. Mary Fallin today on the steps of the Capitol to talk about fitness and show students from area schools a few dance and basketball moves. Read more →

Former Piedmont mayor recovering after car falls on him

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
Former Piedmont Mayor George Fina poses in front of his 1950 Oldsmobile 88 Friday afternoon, showing the torso brace he recently got to take off after his accident.

By Matt Montgomery

When the 1964 Chevrolet Impala fell off its 10-inch blocks, trapping former Piedmont Mayor George Fina under it, Fina, a confirmed and diligent Italian Catholic, said these words out loud, “My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy. Amen.”

Fina said the Act of Contrition out loud when the car fell on him, because he thought that moment was going to be his last moment alive. But, thanks to fast response times from the Piedmont fire department and EMSA responders, Fina is alive and recovering from his injuries. He is still rehabbing at Mercy Hospital and recovering from this traumatic event, but he was able to take his torso brace off recently.

When the Impala, which weighs about 3,500 pounds, fell on Fina, it crushed eight of his ribs and fractured a vertebra. He spent five days in the trauma ward at OU Medical Center, then subsequently went to Mercy Hospital for rehabbing. Fina spent seven days at Mercy. Read more →

Local woman gives birth to quadruplets

Jessie and Joel Lekites hold their newly-born quadruplets in Jessie’s parents’ home in Piedmont. She gave birth in April to three girls and one boy, all born one minute apart from each other. The babies (left to right) are Jaclyn, Jamison, June and Joseph Lekites. The Lekites were living in Houston, Texas, where Joel was working, but since the birth of their quadruplets, they have moved into Jessie’s parents’ home until they find a permanent home here in Piedmont. Joel designs homes and works from home now, while he and Jessie and their parents take care of their four newborns.

By Matt Montgomery

New Piedmont residents Jessie and Joel Lekites are now the proud parents of quadruplets. Lekites gave birth to three girls and one boy in April at Mercy Hospital.

But, due to some complications and health issues, the babies weren’t cleared to leave the hospital until just recently.

The babies were born one minute apart from each other. The new Lekites are June, Jaclyn, Jamison and Joseph. Joseph had a shunt in his head to release fluid built up around the brain and some of the other babies had some oxygen issues. The Lekites’ babies were spread out in different hospitals, from OU Medical Center to Mercy. From the time Lekites was admitted to the hospital in March, it was 142 days before all the babies were home.

The babies were born at exactly 27 weeks. The girls all weighed around 1 pound each–Jamison weighed 1 pound, 10 ounces; June weighed 1 pound, 12 ounces; Jaclyn weighed 1 pound, 14 ounces; Joseph weighed 2 pounds, 4 ounces.

The odds of having three girls and one boy in a quadruplet birth are very small, according to the specialist Lekites saw during her pregnancy. He told her that with the treatment she was on, there was only about a 2 to 3 percent chance they would end up with quadruplets.

Because the babies were born three months early, they had to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit at the hospital, on ventilators for some time.
“That in itself was unbelievable,” Jessie said. “You don’t realize the world of NIC U … and I’m a nurse, but I don’t do pediatrics or any of that. It’s hard because you don’t get to take your babies home.”

The babies were in the intensive care unit for 62 days. Joseph and Jaclyn were released from the hospital in June. June was released in July and Jaclyn just came home a few weeks ago.

Read more →

11-year-old Piedmont girl shows drag racing isn’t an all-boys club

Submitted by Rachel Schiller
Eleven-year-old Piedmont resident Madison Brown drives a Junior Dragster that can run an 1/8 mile in under 8 seconds.

By Alissa Olden
Local Development
Manager for Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy

Fast cars. Loud engines. And a need for speed. This is the life of 11-year-old Madison Brown, one of a growing percentage of girls picking up a helmet for junior drag racing.

Madison drives a Junior Dragster that can go as fast as 85 mph and travel an eighth-mile under 8 seconds. Madison sees almost as many girls as boys racing across the finish line with her.

Madison Brown

Despite traveling all over the country for multi-day races every week, Madison is still able to keep up with her studies thanks to Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy, an online school.

Rather than completing her schoolwork in a classroom, Madison can spend the long road trips to racing sites doing homework from the Junior Dragster trailer that her family has outfitted with an office for her studies.

“Online programs can provide a level of flexibility for families to enjoy,” said Patrick Lambert, a licensed specialist in school psychology for K-12 with 20 years of experience. “While some classes require students to log-in at a specific time, most of them are able to be completed as the student’s schedule allows. This works particularly well for students competing in an activity at this level.”

Piedmont family instrumental in N.M. Heart Camp’s formation

Submitted by David Pletcher
Justin Gordon, left, a Cavett Kid, and Tobi Gordon ride a chair lift in Angel Fire, N.M., during the Angel Fire Heart Camp, which the Pletcher family from Piedmont are instrumental components of.

By Matt Montgomery

The Pletcher family of Piedmont were instrumental in the formation of a camp for kids battling terminal illnesses.

The Angel Fire Heart Camp in Angel Fire, N.M. is a destination David and Mandy Pletcher and several of their family members take kids from the Cavett Kids Foundation to relax and enjoy some outdoor activities.

David, Mandy and their daughter Tobi Gordon volunteered at Mercy Hospital before the Heart Camp idea was conceived. His son, Shea Pletcher, worked as an intern for Cavett Kids while he was in college and came up with the basic idea for the Heart Camp.

The family decided if they were going to form a heart camp, they should use their place in the New Mexican mountains.

One of the thoughts behind having the camp in Angel Fire, is to give these kids who are all fighting terminal illnesses a place to go that they normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to go.

The foundation brings along medical personnel on the trip each year, to insure the kids’ safety.
Cavett Kids Foundation founder Danny Cavett said the foundation’s doctors do not want the kids to go much higher than 8,000 feet in elevation and not stay very long. The town of Angel Fire sits at 8,406 feet above sea level.
Read more →

The Plunging Po-Po’s dive into Polar Plunge frigid water

The Plunging Po-Po's

Submitted by David Annis
Piedmont Police officer Scott Gibbons and The Plunging Po-Po’s dived into the frigid cold water last Saturday, Feb. 16 at White Water Bay in Oklahoma City taking part in the Polar Plunge fundraiser.

By Matt Montgomery

Piedmont police officer and school resource officer Scott Gibbons bore the 40 degree water last Saturday at White Water Bay in Oklahoma City by diving into the Polar Plunge event.

Gibbons told The Gazette The Plunging Po-Po’s raised $5,000 representing the Piedmont Police Department. His team, The Plunging Po-Po’s is comprised of officers from several police departments including Oklahoma City and Piedmont.

“My personal goal was $1,000 and I beat that by about $700 so I was real pleased with that,” Gibbons said. “The money is what puts the (Special Olympics) winter and summer games on.”

Gibbons said the great thing about the Polar Plunge program is 10 percent of the funds that were raised are directly earmarked for the students in Piedmont. He said the money helps facilitate trips for students and student athletes to go on summer sports outings, and 10 percent of the assessed fees for a summer trip comes from the money generated from the Polar Plunge fundraiser.
“We are helping both the kids in our community and helping the (Oklahoma Special Olympics) games, too.

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