Dr. Jerry Blankenship was named the 2009 Pillar of the Plains Thursday evening at Enid Symphony Center.

Blankenship was on stage with finalists Jack Douma, Bob Klemme and Ann Price when Enid News & Eagle Publisher Jeff Funk announced the winner of the annual award.

“I think the other honorees are very deserving also,” Blankenship said, after receiving the award before more than 150 people. “It’s an honor for me to be a finalist with them because they all do so much and have done so much.”

Blankenship established his urology practice in Enid in 1967 and has been involved in numerous organizations and causes throughout the community. In 1992, he received the Oklahoma State Medical Association Award for Out-standing Community Service by a Physician and was chosen as Enid’s Citizen of the Year in 2002 by Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce.

“I want to say what an honor it is for me to have been a finalist,” Blankenship said while receiving his award. “It’s been a pleasure for me to work alongside such dedicated volunteers. I’ve learned a lot from you and that’s surprising seeing as how I knew everything when I was 21.”

Blankenship’s latest project has been as a leader of the campaign to build and endow Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center. He also has served as chairman of Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce, was a member of Phillips University Board of Trustees, was a member of Enid Development Coalition, ser-ved as an elder at Central Christian Church, was a division chair for the annual United Way of Enid and Northwest Oklahoma fundraising campaign, served on the board of Enid Public School Foundation, is a member of the local Air Force Association chapter and is a member of Enid Rotary Club.

Blankenship also was involved with the “Only We Can Do It” committee, which in 1987 led the drive to pass a three-quarter cent sales tax to purchase the campus of Phillips University, and lease it back to the school. Part of the sale/leaseback sales tax went to build the University Center that brought both Northern Oklahoma College and North-western Oklahoma State University to Enid.

Blankenship thanked his wife, Carolynne, “for the many things” he’d done and also said he wanted to mention his former partner, Bob Hoffman, Karlyn Bruner and Madelyn Keck, from the urology center.

Blankenship and his wife of 51 years have three sons, Jon, Ben and Matt. Jon is president and chief executive officer of Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce, Ben is a musician in Nashville, Tenn., and Matt is a gastroenterologist in Tulsa.

The Blankenships have eight grandchildren, including five who are 5 years old and younger.


By  Staff Writer

Enid News and Eagle