Distinguished Service Award

2023 Distinguished Service Recipient - Michael Bennett, OD


The Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians (OAOP) has awarded Dr. Michael Bennett of Guthrie as the recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Service Award. The award goes to an optometric physician who has shown exemplary leadership within the profession.

After graduating from Northeastern Oklahoma State College of Optometry in 1985, Dr. Bennett worked with eye clinics in Oklahoma City and Midwest City before purchasing his own practice in Guthrie. He is now co-owner of Vision Source Guthrie with Dr. Brian Padgham.

In 2008, Dr. Bennett was elected as a Council Member of the AOA Sports Vision Section and he remained on that Council until 2011, when he was appointed as Chair of the AOA Clinical & Practice Advancement Group Executive Committee.  He is a Charter Member of the International Academy of Sports Vision.  He also founded the Oklahoma Pioneers in Optometry Hall of Fame.

Dr. Bennett has been active in the OAOP for decades. He has served as the chair of the OAOP Congress Committee and a one-year term as president of the OAOP. He has been recognized in the past as both a Young Optometric Physician of the Year and Oklahoma Optometric Physician of the Year. He also founded the Oklahoma Pioneers in Optometry Hall of Fame.

“Dr. Bennett is a giant in the field of Oklahoma optometry,” said OAOP Executive Director Joel Robison. “He has helped to grow our association in size and influence, contributed to the medical science of clinical optometry, and changed the lives of countless patients for the better. No one is more deserving of this career achievement award than him.”

Dr. Bennett has been married to his wife and high school sweetheart, Kim, for almost 45 years They have two children and four grandchildren. He says that, of all the many titles he’s even been given, “Papaw” is his favorite.

Past Honorees

2022- Jari Frazier

2021- Tami Ross

2020- Michelle Welch

2019- Dawn Holsted

2018- Jeff D. Miller

2017- Richard Castillo

2016- Travis Yadon

2015- Greg Clay

2014- Lee Carr

2013- Don Diehl

2012- David Cockrell

2011- Russell Laverty

2010- Mack Smith

2009 - George Foster

2008 - Don Q. Hewett

2007 - Gary Ford

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