OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KSWO)- The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum has honored PeacePlayers International with the 2016 Reflections of Hope Award and Katie Prior with the inaugural Oklahoma Standard Award.
More than 75,000 young people in 16 countries have been impacted by PeacePlayers International. PeacePlayers International is helping children in areas of armed conflict develop friendships and mutual respect that bridge ethnic, racial and cultural divides through basketball.
"We at PPI are deeply honored to receive the Reflections of Hope Award and to be included among past winners who have overcome barriers to build a more peaceful and just world. The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum represents the very best of what individual citizens working together towards a shared future can achieve," said Brendan Tuohey, Co-Founder and Executive Director, PeacePlayers International.
PeacePlayers International exemplifies two core beliefs of the Reflections of Hope Award: hope can survive despite political violence and nonviolence approaches provide the best answers to human problems.
"With last year's 20th Anniversary of the bombing, we realized there was a special opportunity that we as Oklahomans could embrace, a renewed commitment to the values of resilience, compassion, and optimism that were a common thread following the bombing. Today, as we face a country more divided than ever, the Oklahoma Standard Award raises awareness by honoring the way that we as Oklahomans live and ensures that we never forget our history," said Kari Watkins, Executive Director, Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.
Sixteen-year-old Katie Prior was presented with the inaugural Oklahoma Standard Award for her acts of service, honor, and kindness. When Katie learned there were not enough musicians to play live Taps at veteran's funerals, she volunteered her own time. She has also trained volunteers to help fill the gap and ensure veterans receive the remembrance and respect they deserve for serving our country. More than 100 students across 30 states have joined her nonprofit, Youth Trumpet and Taps Corps. Since 2014, Youth Trumpet and Taps Corps have performed at more than 200 events and funerals.
"The first funeral when I played Taps was for a homeless veteran who served during the Vietnam War. Afterwards, I cried for an hour. It was the first time I'd ever played my trumpet to honor someone else," said Katie Prior. "It's such an honor to be recognized for the work my organization is doing to salute our nation's heroes."
"Everyone can make tomorrow better and both of these award winners, PeacePlayers International on a global level and Katie Prior and the Youth Trumpet and Taps Corps on the local level, are making that difference," said Mike Turpen, Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation Chairman.