News Column

Citizens to Be Honored at Annual 'Gracias' Awards

Nov. 26, 2012

The Tulsa World's Ginnie Graham will be among the recipients of the Coalition of Hispanic Organizations' annual Thanksgiving Gracias Awards this Thursday.

According to a news release, the coalition will honor Graham; Nilda Reyes, formerly with Tulsa Public Schools; Richard Klinge, attorney for Catholic Charities of Oklahoma; and the Rev. Jose Maria Briones of St. Thomas More Church.

"This is our opportunity to show our appreciation to those persons who have assisted the coalition in its mission to enhance the quality of life of members of the Hispanic community," said coalition President Irma Chajecki in the release.

Graham, who was named a news columnist for the World last month, has written numerous stories dealing with immigration issues, including a series profiling undocumented youths who would benefit from the DREAM Act, and details of the pending legislation.

Reyes spent 40 years with TPS as a teacher, principal and director at the Education Service Center. Her past honors include the 5A Oklahoma Administrator of the Year Award, the TPS Administrator of the Year Award and the NASSP State Principal of the Year Award. She is past president and currently education chairwoman for the Hispanic American Foundation, chairwoman of the Greater Tulsa Area Hispanic Affairs Commission and a member of numerous other boards.

Klinge is a public policy advocate for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and previously was associate director for the organization. Since joining Catholic Charities, he has focused on working with and supporting Oklahoma groups and coalitions that help undocumented immigrants.

For the last 13 years, Briones has worked for the Diocese of Tulsa, where he currently serves as the assistant pastor of St. Thomas More, ministering to more than 5,000 Hispanic families. He also served five years as assistant pastor and three years as a pastor of the sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

In 2007, he received an award from Tulsa Metropolitan Ministries for his work with the Hispanic community.

Briones is a native of Perote, Veracruz, Mexico, and graduated with a degree in theology from Pontific University of Mexico. He worked his first six years in Tehuacan, Puebla, as an assistant in charge of the youth and the Knights of Columbus for a diocese. Gracias Awards The Coalition of Hispanic Organizations will present the Thanksgiving Gracias Awards at a luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at the Wyndham Hotel, 10918 E. 41st St. The event costs $15 per person and is open to the public.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Source: (c) 2012 Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.)

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