This is the good side of a Hollywood actor and from my limited experience over the years, there are many like Mark Harmon that give not only their money but their time to charity events. What a weekend for Oklahoma City. To the north of the city is the Women's Softball College World Series, downtown tonight is the NBA playoff between the OKC Thunder and the Spurs at Chesapeake Arena, and today there was a charity walk in several areas for Lupus and Crohns diseases, plus the Harmon Charity Weekend.
Mark Harmon returns to Oklahoma City for 12th charity weekend
Kenwood School Cherokee Singers and teacher Jan Ballou coaxed Harmon's teammates into providing wolf howls, bear growls and opossum giggles for “The Animal Song,” the TV and film actor's grin turned into full-blown laughs.
The “NCIS” star and his Bombers baseball team launched the 12th Annual Mark Harmon Celebrity Weekend on Friday with a tour of the future Oklahoma City Indian Clinic Harmon-y Pediatric Facility. The tour ended with a three-song performance by the Kenwood students, who traveled from their community 40 miles north of Tahlequah to welcome Harmon and his teammates, including former Major League Baseball players Wally Joyner and Rick Sutcliffe.
“It's inordinately special to come back and put your hands on a wall that wasn't there last year. Then you can actually see the effect of the time you've put in and the effort you've made to try to direct funds to the right place,” said Harmon, who received the gift of a Cherokee woven basket and a golden pin with “Hello” written in Cherokee from the Kenwood children. “It's our pleasure to come and take part ... and we couldn't be more pleased with the way this is being done.”
Along with Friday night's charity bowling and auction event, the Celebrity Weekend includes the annual baseball matchup between Harmon's Bombers and the Oklahoma Sports Science and Orthopaedics Outlaws. The game begins at 3 p.m. Saturday at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.
“It's not really baseball. We think we're playing baseball, but the focus for all of it is really about the kids,” Harmon said with a laugh. “It's really not who wins with the score, 'cause it's all a win.”
Proceeds from this year's festivities benefit the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic and the Anna's House Foundation.
“Without their philanthropic help, we certainly wouldn't be where we are today,” said Robyn Sunday-
In the past three years, the clinic has received about $250,000 from the charity event, she said. The funds have been earmarked for its pediatrics program; about 25 percent of the 17,000 patients the clinic treats are 18 or younger.
“If we're not here, there's a lot of kids not getting health care,” she said.
In December, the clinic bought an office building down the street from its existing facility, and on Friday, Sunday-Allen showed the Bombers the gutted second floor of the newly acquired space, which will be converted into the Harmon-y Pediatric Facility with exam rooms, doctor offices, optometry area and wellness center.
“This is very different than it was last year; it's certainly different than it was four years ago. That makes you feel pretty good, that every dime that you have a small part in being part of is being put to good use. That's also what makes me proud of this group that comes in to do this, because other than a free T-shirt, they're doing this for all the right reasons,” Harmon said.
“We're all friends and we get a chance to come and visit for three days and laugh more than we should ever laugh and enjoy each other's company more than we should ... and as you get older, you appreciate that more and you realize how rare that is. And then in the midst of all of that ... you're able to have an affect on people and
For the second year, Anna's House Foundation also will benefit from the events. The faith-based nonprofit works to recruit, train and support loving, Christian foster families to care for Oklahoma County infants and toddlers in need. The 4-year-old organization is preparing to break ground in Luther on the Ranch at Anna's House, a $3 million collection of seven homes where foster families can live and temporarily take in children entering Department of Human Services care.
“We're developing an alternative to that shelter system for the youngest of the young in foster care. We want to be able to offer a place for them to come and start their stay in foster care in a nice warm house, where the same voice that tucks them in at night will be there in the morning, until a more permanent placement can be found,” said co-founder and director Greg Harkins.
“I'd sold T-shirts to people in the Netherlands because they're excited about Mark Harmon and this event.
... We're a completely privately supported organization, so it is a tremendous, tremendous thing that he does.”
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