Jennifer Samford is a public servant in the truest sense of the word.

Monday through Friday she can be found at the Pauls Valley City Hall where she is employed as the town’s Parks and Recreation Director.

Jennifer’s life of public service extends beyond her full-time job and includes her involvement in a local civic organization.

Once a week she shows up at Ben’s Italian Eatery where she takes part in the Pauls Valley Rotary Club’s Friday luncheon.

Jennifer joined the Rotary Club back in 2001 and takes the organization’s motto “Service Above Self” to heart.

Over the years she has participated in many of the club’s fundraising and humanitarian efforts and for the last three years has also served as club secretary.

In addition to her other involvements, Jennifer has also helped promote many worthwhile causes by serving on the board of several groups around the county and state.

“I have been on the board of the United Fund of Pauls Valley since 2004. I really enjoy being a part of the United Fund because it helps so many different kinds of people in so many ways,” Jennifer remarked.

“And I currently work with the Philanthropic Education Organization, which sponsors scholarships for women’s continued education.

“I also serve as a board trustee for the Oklahoma Parks and Recreation Society, assist the Arbuckle Country Marketing Corporation, and have served on the Pauls Valley Main Street and Tourism boards.”

Jennifer’s attitude of selfless service is derived in great part from her faith and the Pauls Valley native said her home church provides additional opportunities to serve others.

“I was born and raised here and have been a member of the Pauls Valley First United Methodist Church all my life.

“I’m a member of the church’s United Methodist Women group and occasionally teach my Sunday School class called Sunday Morning Live,” Jennifer noted.

“Last year our Sunday School class officially took over the duties of the church’s annual Groundhog Breakfast and the money we raise goes to help various Methodist projects.”

Jennifer lives in the Pauls Valley area with husband, Ray, who works for the Oklahoma State Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

The two met while attending Oklahoma State University and

their current household consists of two dogs, three cats, two roosters, 21 hens and three chicks.

Jennifer and Ray enjoy spending their spare time gardening, hiking and attending music events, especially the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and the Walnut Valley Acoustic Festival in Winfield, Kansas.

Jennifer’s parents are Dr. James “Doc” and Ann Ruster. Doc operates the Pauls Valley Veterinarian Clinic on South Chickasaw and Ann is a retired Pauls Valley Elementary School librarian.

When asked what historical figures she would most like to meet, Jennifer replied, Jesus and Abraham Lincoln.

She would like to know what went on during the “missing” years of Christ’s life — from age 12 to when his ministry first began at 30.

And she said she has been extremely interested in Lincoln’s life ever since she did a report on him way back in grade school.

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