2019 Apollo Award - Mary Walker
This year’s Apollo Award winner is Mary Walker. Mary has been the administrative assistant to the Oklahoma Board of Examiners Executive Director Dr. Russell Laverty for the past 24 years. Since 1995 she has assisted young optometric physicians as they register for their board exams and urged and aided optometrists in the timely renewal of their licenses. Her loyalty, honesty, and dependability have allowed the Board of Examiners in Optometry to function and flourish with competence second to none.
Mary was born in 1958 in Wayne, Oklahoma, before her family moved to Del City. Mary knows how important vision health and services are because she has worn glasses since she was a small child. One of her earliest memories was going to see her optometrist, a close family friend, Dr. Keys.
Mary attended Rose State College before marrying her husband Paul. Her first job was working for First Southern Baptist Church in Del City.
While working there, Mary became friends with Dr. Laverty’s wife, Nancy.
It was then that she got a call that would change her life. She said, “Imagine my surprise when Dr. Laverty was appointed to the Board of Examiners in Optometry and called to see if I would be interested in working for him. I accepted the position and have had the most wonderful bosses, Dr. Laverty, and our board members for the last 24 years! I’m also so lucky to have a co-worker like Jessica.”
Dr. Laverty says Mary’s biggest asset in the workplace is her positive attitude. “She creates a happy environment for the Board to work together to better serve our profession and the public. Because of her positive demeanor, everyone who knows Mary feels as if she is their best friend.”
As if all her hard work for Oklahoma wasn’t enough, Mary has also impacted optometry in other states. Kentucky, Louisiana, and Arkansas are a few of the states that have followed Oklahoma’s legislative model to successfully pass scope expansion. Our ability to assist them has been, in part, from Mary’s skills in organizing and presenting documentation about Oklahoma’s uniquely successful optometry profession.
Mary is as vital to her family as she is at work. She and Paul have been married for more than 41 years. They have three daughters and three grandsons, all of whom are as blessed as we are to be the beneficiaries of her positivity and loving nature.
2018 – NSUOCO Bedlam Clinic
2017 – Special Olympics Lions Club International Opening Eyes
2016 – Vizavance
2015 – AGAPE Medical Clinic
2014 – NewView Oklahoma
2012 – Congressman Dan Boren
2011 – Little Light House
2009 – Tom Sullivan
2008 – Prevent Blindness Oklahoma
2007 – Lions Club of Oklahoma