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5/29/97 Spreading birthday cheer among great-grandmother’s ministries

SHAWNEE, Okla. (BP)–By now, members of Daisy Terrell’s church shouldn’t be surprised to hear their names on a local radio station — if it’s their birthday, that is.
For several years, the great-grandmother has made it her job to make sure members of First Baptist Church, Shawnee, Okla., are recognized on their birthdays. Pretty much confined to her home, Terrell, who turns 86 in June, spends her days sending birthday, anniversary, get well and bereavement cards.
In addition, she calls local radio station KGFF and enters members’ birthdays in the station’s daily drawing for prizes.
Every weekday morning the radio station has a drawing from all the names called in, which are numbered and picked at random. The “regular” birthday winner receives a cake from a local bakery, a lunch certificate from a Shawnee restaurant and bowling passes.
The station also selects an “over the hill” winner (over 40), who receives a custom mug from a local jeweler, gourmet coffee from a local business and, again, lunch and bowling passes.
“Sometimes I have to call the church and find out if someone is ‘over the hill’ if I don’t know the person,” Terrell said.
She started the birthday tradition after retiring from 20 years of service at Warner-Robbins Air Force Base in Georgia and moving to Shawnee to be near her daughter, June Hodges, who is secretary to Oklahoma Baptist University President Bob Agee.
“I noticed when I came to Shawnee that no one was sending birthday cards to members,” Terrell recounted.
The church provides Terrell with a calendar listing all the members’ birthdays, and she obtains addresses from the church directory.
Terrell said she goes out to buy some of the cards herself when she has transportation, she orders some by mail and some are given to her.
A widow since her husband died at age 37, Terrell enjoyed traveling until her health declined. Her last “major trip” was to Australia, New Zealand and the Fiji Islands in 1987.
A fall in the bathtub shortly after Thanksgiving last year has confined her more to her apartment, and she has to use a walker to keep her balance now. She still goes to Sunday school and worship services, however, at First Baptist.
Terrell said there are some members who ask her not to call in their names to the radio station, but most are grateful. Some even come by to share their cake with her.

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  • Dana Williamson