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Alzheimer's Association Receives Donation

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LAWTON Okla_ 

  More help is on the way for anyone struggling with a loved one, or friend, who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Today the grand master of the Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma presented a $150,000 check to the Alzheimer's Association Oklahoma and Arkansas Chapter.

Officials with the association say the money will go towards having its own permanent office and staff in southwest Oklahoma, something it's never had before.

It will either be here in Lawton or Altus. The association will make that choice pretty soon, but no matter where it is, the important thing is it will open much sooner than expected.  Central Oklahoma Regional Director for the Alzheimer's Association Randle Lee said it's a dream come true.

Lee said the association didn't expect to have the money for staff and a facility in southwest Oklahoma for at least three years, but thanks to the Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma, not anymore.

"I don't even know if I can express a true emotion," Lee said. "We had the vision, we had the plan, we had every in place, we had the excitement from the local community here and all of southwestern Oklahoma that really wanted us to come down here and have a more permanent location."

Brad Rickelman, Grand Master of the Free Masons of Oklahoma, said donating the money to the Alzheimer's association is something the organization felt they had to do.

He said the disease is directly impacting some of their members.

"I was talking to one of our members last night," Rickelman said, "Who comes regularly and is a good participating member and he said, ‘I'm going to have to stop coming regularly anymore because my wife is starting to and he used the word drift off or starting to not be there.'"

Josie Grant, Memory Care Manager at Ten Oaks Retirement Community in east Lawton, said the grant will complement the services southwest Oklahoma already has to offer.

"Even for us as professionals, when we have families who bring their loved ones into our unit, to our home, we can refer them out to the Alzheimer's Association to get more resources to find out more about the disease," Grant said.  "We are so excited about it."

The Masonic Fraternity is not finished helping. The organization is actually going to give the association a total of $350,000 over the next two years to help do the same in northwest and southeast Oklahoma.

 

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