$12k raised to help Canadian County’s child victims of abuse

Some 150 people attend C.A.R.T. House gala hosted by Dave Mathena

Sitting at Healthcare One’s table are: From left, Rodney Ikard, Brad Redden, Daphne Burnett, Cassandra Crain, and Johnnie Crain. Healthcare One was among seven table sponsors for C.A.R.T. House’s annual Champions for Children Gala. (Photo by Jeremy Pyle)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Some 150 people attended an annual celebration that raised about $12,000 to help child victims of abuse.

The Child Abuse Response Team (C.A.R.T.) House’s “Champions for Children Gala” was Saturday, June 17 at a venue provided by Canadian County philanthropist Dave Mathena.

“I can’t say enough how much this man gives during the process,” said Joanne Riley, C.A.R.T. House’s executive director. “The success of our gala was the result of his generosity.”

The C.A.R.T. House, located near the Canadian County Courthouse in El Reno, is a child-friendly and safe place where children can tell a forensic interviewer about their abuse or neglect and begin the healing process.

A United Way agency, C.A.R.T. provides a warm and caring home environment for victims ages 3-17 years in Canadian, Blaine and Kingfisher counties.

More than 250 children are served annually.

“The funds raised at the gala support our operations,” Riley said. “The money supports this work that is done in Canadian and surrounding counties.”

For nearly 32 years, the C.A.R.T. House has reduced the trauma of victims by eliminating the need for multiple interviews – so the child does not have to repeatedly tell their story of abuse.

Previously, a child was required to tell their tragic story of abuse to law enforcement agents, attorneys, child welfare workers, and medical professionals.

Table sponsors for the June 17th Champions for Children Gala were Healthcare One, Children’s New World, Bass Law, Great Plains Construction, Jeri Poplin, Suzanne and Tommy Thompson, and Cindy and Ron Ward.

Their $500 sponsorships made the $35 ticket price affordable so C.A.R.T.’s Department of Human Services (DHS) and law enforcement partners could attend, Riley pointed out.

“One of our board members, David Anderson, provided and cooked all the meat – brisket, sausage and links,” she said.

Primo’s was the caterer, serving side dishes and drinks.

Yukon Police Det. Jose Gomez wins the Annual Champions for Children Award named for former Union City Police Chief Richard Stephens, who was known as an advocate for children in his community. (Photo by Jeremy Pyle)
Yukon’s Dave Mathena is recognized for his support of the C.A.R.T. House and Canadian County youth by receiving the Jeanne Hobson Award. (Phot by Jeremy Pyle)


Two awards were presented at the C.A.R.T. House gala.

Yukon’s Mathena received the Jeanne Hobson Award, named for a longtime Canadian County juvenile advocate who helped start the C.A.R.T. House in the early ‘90s.

“We recognized David for his support and love for our children in Canadian County,” Riley said.

Yukon Police Det. Sgt. Jose Gomez earned the Richard Stephens Award, named for the late Union City police chief described as a “champion for children.”

“Det. Gomez has carried on Chief Stephens’ devotion to our multidisciplinary team that works together to help with these cases involving children,” Riley said.

This partnership is comprised of representatives of DHS, the District Attorney’s Office, law enforcement, mental health, medical, and advocacy services.

The band Slim Pickins, of Elk City, performed country and western music for the C.A.R.T. House gala. The band’s appearance was provided by Mathena.

Tons of donated items are on display for the silent auction. There also was a live auction conducted by Canadian County Commissioner Tom Manske. (Photo by Jeremy Pyle)

Last Saturday night’s celebration featured a live auction conducted by Canadian County Commissioner Tom Manske, along with a silent auction of some great prizes.

Big-ticket items were Oklahoma City Thunder basketball courtside tickets, footballs autographed by OU coach Brent Venables and OSU coach Mike Gundy, OSU-Kansas State football tickets, and gift baskets.

Other gala highlights were a 50/50 cash raffle, gift card raffle, and wine pull.

Canadian County has one of only 20 child advocacy centers in Oklahoma among about 900 across the United States accredited through the National Children’s Alliance.

The Child Welfare Citizens Advisory Board, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, governs the C.A.R.T. House.

Board members are Eric Epplin (president), Jeri Poplin (vice president), County Commissioner Dave Anderson (treasurer), Eileen Gibbens (secretary), State Rep. Rhonda Baker, Carolyn Husmann, Dr. Alecia Hanes, Yukon Police Maj. Curtis Lemmings, Suzanne Thompson, and Carrie Whitlow.

C.A.R.T.’s motto is “Helping Put the Pieces Back Together.”

For more information, call (405) 422-3459 or visit www.cancochildadvocates.org

Yukon’s Stanley Burris and Ernestine Limestall enjoy the Saturday night festivities hosted by Dave Mathena. (Photo by Jeremy Pyle)
Members of the country/western band Slim Pickins perform for the audience. (Photo by Jeremy Pyle)
Canadian County Associate District Judge Bob Hughey (second from right) was among dignitaries attending the gala. (Photo by Jeremy Pyle)