DURANT – The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma recognized Mr. Darryl Gene Williams of Durant for the Outstanding Male Elder and Mrs. Janie Emmert of Wilburton as the Outstanding Female Elder earlier this winter.

“Both of these elders work tirelessly to help their community,” says Kayla Williams, Director of Patient Relations and Senior Nutrition. “This program provides recognition to the many elders that give so much of themselves each year. We are truly honored to host the award. These two individuals kept coming up when councilmen surveyed people about who stood out.”

Mr. Williams has been very active in the Choctaw community since he was a young man. Since his retirement as pastor of San Angelo Baptist Tabernacle in 2008, Williams moved back to his Indian home in Ludlow, Oklahoma and began volunteering. Five years ago, he took up post as the chef at the Choctaw Community Center in Durant. Since then he has worked tirelessly to provide meals even through the pandemic serving over 18,000 curbside meals in 2020. “Darryl’s life is an example of living out the ‘CHAHTA SPIRIT’,” says James Dry on the nomination form.

Mrs. Emmert and her husband Johnny live out the true Choctaw Nation values: Faith, Family, Culture. They especially have a calling to help those who have fallen on hard times and never expect anything in return. She always has an encouraging word for others and posts daily prayers on Facebook. The two are a strong-bonded Choctaw couple. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they helped many find comfort. “In my heart and eyes, this couple truly live up to the title Outstanding Elder. May we all live a life as they do for others,” says Jennifer Woods on the nomination form.

Due to the pandemic, both Williams and Emmert were recognized at their respective Community Centers in a small ceremony with Chief Gary Batton and Assistant Chief Jack Austin, Jr.

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