Wednesday, February 4, 2015


The Casady YAC (Youth Acting in the Community)'s theme this year is children. Its mission is to inspire others to find their passion to serve.   Mr. Gene Rainbolt, benefactor of the Casady Service-Learning Program, the Casady YAC and friend of Youth LEAD OKC  (YLOKC: Youth Leaders Engaging Across Differences), shares with YAC a passion to better opportunities for Oklahoma children. 

On February 4, 2015, Mr. Gene Rainbolt spent time on the Casady campus sharing ideas during lunch with YAC/YLOKCasady members and having a tour of Casady's new facilities.   

Mr. Rainbolt left us a question to reflect during RAK (Random Intentional Acts of Kindness) WEEK (2/9-2/15):  What will my life be if my opportunity was the same as the least person I see?  YAC and YLOKCasady invite you to send replies to  Replies will be placed below the question on a sign made by LD art teacher, Megan Thompson and her students titled, "Kindness can change a community."  The sign will be displayed at the Service-Learning Office at the Casady Woolsey Wing until National Volunteer Week, April 12-18.  On April 15, 2015, the President Volunteer Service Awards will be presented to Casady Cyclones at UD chapel.

Casady was honored to have Mr. Rainbolt on campus.  

Mr. Rainbolt's schedule was as follows:

12:30 Arrival to Casady Woolsey Wing. Welcome by Mr. Sheldon and Father Blizzard. Time with Mrs. Clay, Father Youmans and Father Marlin.  

12:54 Lunch with Casady YAC 
Jessica Greene, Sidney Jones, Jessika Russell, Chase Kuehnl, Taylor Burrow, Aubrey Hermen, Dylan Dobson, Johnny Lee, Ananya Bhaktaram, Safra Shakir, Mariam Shakir, Natalie Hugos, Mr. Walter, Father Marlin, Mrs. Clay, and Father Youmans.

During lunch, YAC members shared with Mr. Rainbolt their personal commitment to community outreach and why they chose a particular endeavor.

1:30 Tour of school by Mr. Sheldon and Mr. Walter

About Mr. Rainbolt's life and his focus on helping children through education

H.E. "Gene" Rainbolt spent a lifetime building banks in Oklahoma, until the day he stepped away and focused his energy on helping children.
Rainbolt devotes himself and his philanthropy to many activities, but his greatest interest is in children, said his friend, Judge Robert Henry of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Perhaps Rainbolt helps now because adults helped him as a child during the Depression.
Perhaps he helps because the faces of orphans he saw during the Korean War haunt him still.
Perhaps it is all of this and more.
"Gene turned his incredible mind and heart to bettering the soul of Oklahoma on more than a 40-hour a week basis," Henry said in paying tribute last month to Rainbolt when he received the Jasmine Award for his support of children's causes and the Jasmine Moran Children's Museum in Seminole.
Rainbolt, 74, is chairman of the board of BancFirst, which has 41 banks in Oklahoma.
He still goes to work at the BancFirst office in downtown Oklahoma City every day, but says that except for participating in some of the management committees, "I am not a factor in our operation."
Banking on the future Rainbolt has a track record of success in banking, working first at a bank in Noble as a young man, then in Purcell, later running Federal National Bank in Shawnee for more than 20 years before becoming chairman of BancFirst, now run by his son, David.
Judge Henry is not the only person who says Rainbolt's passion is helping children.
Nance Diamond, president of the Oklahoma Arts Institute, said that some years ago she and another supporter of the institute approached Rainbolt, a longtime family friend, about serving on the board.
"He very clearly explained that the only boards he was joining were those that served children," Nance said.
Rainbolt agreed to serve on the board of the institute, which provides a summer arts academy for students 14 to 18 years old, and workshops for teachers and educators.
"The focus really is on expanding the creative talent of young people," Diamond said. "I think Gene Rainbolt is about creating change, and what he wants to see happen is creating more opportunity for young people in Oklahoma."
Rainbolt attributes his interest in children to his own experiences in life.
"We change society by directing our attentions to children and the environment in which they develop, and thus, I decided I wanted to devote my energies to things that impacted children," he said.
He and his family have endowed a chair in child psychiatry at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
He's involved in Calm Waters, which provides support groups for children who have suffered from the death of a sibling, parent or grandparents, or who are in a family where there is a divorce.
'It takes a village ... ' Rainbolt was born in and grew up in Norman.
His father, a salesman for a wholesale grocery, moved the family there so the children could go to the University of Oklahoma.
From his earliest memories, he had some kind of a job.
"Every day of my life, including now, I had people who wanted to help me succeed and were willing to help me, which accounts for my use of the sometimes maligned term, 'that it takes a village to raise a child.' I really understand that based on my personal experience," Rainbolt said.
Besides his parents, others who influenced him were teachers and Norman business people and Jim Murphy, who was chairman of the finance department at OU when Rainbolt was in college.
He studied economics at OU because it interested him, he said.
After graduation, Rainbolt was commissioned a lieutenant in the Army artillery and went to Korea, where he was on an artillery battalion staff, serving as the adjutant and battalion S-2, intelligence officer.

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