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Comanche Co. sheriff hands out turkeys to those in need

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LAWTON, Okla_Nearly 200 needy Lawton and Comanche County residents will have a Thanksgiving meal Thursday night, courtesy of the sheriff and the generosity of our community. Sheriff Kenny Stradley has been handing out turkeys and hams to residents who are less fortunate all week. Stradley said thanks to donations from the public his department is able to give back to residents and raise the morale of the community.

Many of the families, who receive the turkeys and hams, would not have been able to have a traditional Thanksgiving meal. But Stradley said the giveaway is about more than just a dinner, it's about inspiring more people to pay it forward, creating a cycle of caring for others.

Barbara Pankratz said words can not describe how grateful she and her husband are for the turkey Sheriff Stradley was able to give them.

"Because it's the time of month when you're running low on money and I think its awesome that they can go and come help you when you need help."

She said if her family had not received the turkey, they would have had a dismal holiday.

"We probably would have had a regular meal, but now we can have a real Thanksgiving meal with the turkey and all the trimmings and it is really awesome."

While Pankratz credits Stradley for giving her family a real Thanksgiving, Stradley said he can't take all the credit. He said donations from the community are a big help.

"The Lord provides the people to give us the money. It's quite a deal to help others. I would tell anybody, help others and there's no feeling like that. Whether it's sticking money in the Salvation Army, sticking money in the food bank"

Unfortunately, the number of families in need of help during the holidays is rising.

"People that's had jobs and then they wind up losing their jobs or the husbands lost his job or somebody split up and they're having a hard time. There are all different reasons people are having hard times. I just know that right now, a lot of people are. Its our jobs as Americans to help each other."

Pankratz said she knows all too well what Stradley is talking about. She said she may be hard on luck right now, but she plans on paying it forward someday.

"If I had the money, I'd like to help out everybody that's helped me. I am on a fixed income and I don't make a lot of money a month and when this time of year comes around, I am very thankful for what people do for me."

Pankratz said she would also like to thank Lawton's House of Bread Organization for providing her with the Thanksgiving trimmings.

Stradley said his department is now gearing up for the Christmas turkey and toy giveaway.

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