Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

May 29, 2012

Citizen honor an easy choice in PV

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — Each year there comes along a unique opportunity in Pauls Valley for the Chamber of Commerce to choose both an individual and a company who have made a noticeable community impact.

Chosen by previous winners of these honors, this year’s vote for both was decided in a matter of hours with the top citizen choice going to PV resident and manager of Sharpe’s Department Store, Richelle Humphrey.

Invested in the community almost right away since she moved here in 1996, from the Rotary Club to the Bosa Community Center Board, she’s not only found success in her own personal life, but has also been around for some of the most notable town achievements in that time.

“It’s hard to think that you are in the same category of the people that got it because you respect them for what they did,” said Humphrey.

“I really don’t feel like I’ve contributed half of what the people before me have.”

Humphrey was surprised last week by eight former winners who dropped by the store to share the good news and did not catch on when fellow resident Lou Hall asked her if she was going to be there for a while, thinking she just wanted to sell cookies for Relay For Life. She was thrilled to receive what she thinks so many have worked harder for and looks forward to taking center stage at the chamber’s annual banquet set for June 14 at the Bosa Center.

Humphrey’s first ties to Pauls Valley were more a chance of simply being there at the right time and started when the store chain she was working for in Oklahoma City, Anthony’s, decided to relocate their offices to Houston, leaving her with either a choice to move with them there or find a new career path and home.

Cue Sharpe’s, a chain her dad was employed in at in Madill with a job offer there initially and then a chance to manage a new store in the community of her choice.

After being convinced to give Pauls Valley a try over Purcell and also finding a house through local realtor Sharon Agee, it didn’t take long before she was a regular public presence.

Her two kids Justin and Jordan have also made themselves right at home and are regularly involved in athletics through Whitebead School.

“I found a wonderful place where my kids can grow up and do a lot of stuff they wouldn’t get to do in a large town,” said Humphrey, originally from Alva.

“At the time I had gotten packets from both chambers and I liked the information from Pauls Valley more.”

In over 15 years in the community, Humphrey’s interest in Rotary alone has netted her the position of president, secretary and now treasurer.

She is thankful for those opportunities, including learning from the various Friday speakers each week as well as gaining confidence in learning how to speak in public and lately has fallen in love with working in the club’s rose garden in Wacker Park.

Other involvement Humphrey fondly remembers is being on the early Toy & Action Figure Museum board before it opened and seeing it grow into an attraction people now go out of their way to visit Pauls Valley for.

She’s also been a member of the Foundation for Academic Excellence, the BOSA board president, an active member of the chamber of commerce through Sharpe’s and president of the PTO at Whitebead.

In the end, Humphrey believes improving one’s community only comes from doing something instead of complaining about what one does not like. It’s a philosophy that’s kept some of the same employees she’s had around since opening the store like Darci Williams and something she will gladly pass on to future winners.

“I just feel like we should all give back to the community we live in,” said Humphrey. “We should all try to make it a better place.”

The honor of Corporate Citizen of the Year went to Jeff Shultz and the Garvin County News Star.

Shultz also received the top citizen honors back in 2007 and will join Humphrey at the celebration in June.