Supporters don’t come much more loyal than Major General Stanley Newman.
“I was hooked right away,” remembers the World War II veteran. “The whole concept just sounded wonderful from the very beginning.” And for OMRF, it really was the beginning.
In 1948, a year before shovels broke ground for the foundation’s first building, Newman landed in Oklahoma City. After flying 57 missions as a tactical reconnaissance pilot in the European theater, he’d taken a job managing a building downtown. A stroll through the hallways brought him to the door of Hugh Payne, OMRF’s first employee and administrator, who was leasing office space.
“He had a small office there before they built the labs,” Newman says. “He roped me into participating in one of the first campaigns to solicit funds, but I ended up donating my own money instead. I just knew OMRF would be the key to finding cures.”
Newman soon joined the Oklahoma Air National Guard. He served in Korea and Vietnam, completing more than 150 missions and flying more than 12,000 hours over his 41-year military career. All the while, he remained a staunch supporter of OMRF.
“Whenever there’s an appropriate occasion, I’ll make a small contribution,” he says. Although he (understandably) missed a few years here and there, his streak of consecutive years of donations now stands at 49, one of the longest for an individual giver to OMRF.
Now 98, Newman is more likely to introduce himself as “Old Stan, Thunder Fan,” than with his military title. His greatest pride is the life built with his late wife, Harriette, a pediatric nurse. In 66 years of marriage, they raised three children, became doting grandparents and great-grandparents, and supported causes they believed could improve their community and the world.
“I don’t think there’s any way to count the number of lives that have been saved over the years, but I get a great deal of satisfaction from the knowledge that we helped when we could.”
Read more from The Givers
Building The Foundation
Matter of Trust
Giving with Gratitude
The Next Generation
Partnering for Health
A Family Affair