Oklahoma City volunteer has ‘servant’s heart’
OKLAHOMA CITY – A self-described servant, Cherokee Nation citizen Elizabeth Reeve devotes her life to supporting and encouraging others through advocacy programs and volunteerism.
“Servanthood is my lifestyle,” she said. “Wherever my heart gets called to is where I get to be. I get to work with people and I get to mentor, and being a mentor is a big job.”
Reeve, 48, of Oklahoma City, has a hand in many nonprofit groups and has also earned a long list of accolades that include Central Oklahoma Elegant America’s Miss Agribusiness, Lifetime Queen at Today’s International Woman Pageant, National Director and Lifetime Queen at Today’s Extraordinary Queen, and American Majestics National Ms. Diversity Oklahoma. She has served as Oklahoma’s ambassador for the Foundation of Sarcoidosis and on the State Independent Living Council, as well as the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Commission.
“The work is great,” she said. “The workers are few. We need to all be putting our heart into helping give back to society.”
Reeve has been selected to receive the service award at this year’s Cherokee Phoenix Seven Feathers Gala, which will be held virtually at 6 p.m. on Dec. 12 on the Cherokee Phoenix Facebook page. She was nominated by CN citizen Vanessa Alsup, a volunteer for Ms. Propensity, a nonprofit organization created by Reeve to encourage volunteerism in young women.
“Elizabeth Reeve has helped many individuals achieve their goals and dreams through education, service and leadership,” Alsup wrote, adding that Reeve has been an advocate for individuals with disabilities while also helping organizations obtain nonprofit status. “Elizabeth Reeve has a servant’s heart and helps in many ways within the community.”
Reeve, who grew up in a military family, spent her early years in Germany, then moved to Tahlequah in 1987. During the years, she’s earned two bachelor’s and two master’s degrees. And while she uses a wheelchair for medical reasons, Reeve remains unhindered.
“Whatever you want to do you can do,” she said. “You don’t have to stop just because somebody says you have to.”
She recalls volunteering in churches, for the American Red Cross, at her schools and at a veterinarian clinic growing up.
“I was always doing something,” she said. “All my life, I’ve always volunteered to do something. I’ve always had a love for animals. I also had a love for being able to serve. Everybody needs an opportunity to be a part of a community. If you’re able to serve others, that’s the best part of the community you can be in.”
Reeve was taught aspects of the Cherokee culture by her grandparents. She later met Wilma Mankiller, the first woman elected to serve as principal chief of the CN.
“She left a bright spot on my heart,” Reeve said. “I got to talk to her and we got to go out to the Cherokee Heritage Center. Then we also got to go to leadership camp one summer and got taught more about Cherokee ways.”
A former special education teacher, Reeve is married and has many “four-legged children,” she said, including cats, which she fosters.
“I sit and I love on them,” Reeve said. “Then we go up to PetSmart to do adoptions. As we adopt them out, we try to get more of the animals so they’re not on the street. Oklahoma City has a big pet overpopulation.”