August 10, 2020
United Way of Stephens County
2020-2021 Campaign Leaders named
Pierce’s to lead United Way campaign
Jo Ann and Joe Pierce will lead the 2020-2021 fund-raising campaign for the United Way of Stephens County.
“We’re thrilled Joe and Jo Ann have agreed to lead this year’s campaign, it is such an important role,” Betty Beck, Director of Volunteer Services at Duncan Regional Hospital and chairman of the United Way board of directors, said. “Both,” Betty continues, “are well known throughout the county. They are highly respected in the community, understand the importance of helping others and are strong supporters of the United Way. They have already given us some great ideas that we are excited about and can’t wait to implement them.”
In 1974 Jo Ann and Joe Pierce, week-old newlyweds, moved to Duncan with big smiles and big dreams. Forty-six years later they are happily retired and enjoying the birth of their first grandson, Teddy Owen Pierce.
“Duncan and the Stephens County area has been very good to us, so we try to give back when we feel we can help,” said Joe Pierce, previous president and owner/partner of R&S Drugs, Inc. “We really didn’t plan on chairing the campaign a second time. We did this back in 2007 with a very successful run from the community. We know times are tough for many people in our area right now. I stood behind the pharmacy counter for many years, but I am far from rocking chair-ready, so I’m calling on my friends, former colleagues, and neighbors to help people get the education they need to get a good job, keep a good job, and live a healthy life. Our whole area benefits when people are happy. As Jo Ann says they need to have a song in their hearts.”
Joe worked mainly at R&S Drug #3 for his 43-year career in pharmacy. The team working at #3 earned Favorite Pharmacy and Joe was named Favorite Pharmacist from the time the People’s Choice Award was enacted by the Duncan Banner in 1997 until he retired in 2017. Joe humbly assumes his mother filled out all of mail in votes.
Joe was a Jaycee “Boss of the Year,” President of Elk Plaza Shopping Center Merchant’s Association for 17years, member of the Duncan Chamber of Commerce, winner of the Duncan Chamber Community Improvement Award, Project Graduation Chair twice, United Way Chair, Financial Supporter for every school in Stephens County, DADEF Board, St. Paul’s United Methodist Treasurer, and many civic and church related activities.
Jo Ann was a finalist for Oklahoma’s Teacher of the Year in 1990, one of three Distinguished Principals in Oklahoma in 2006 as well as a faculty consultant for the HOPE Foundation in Bloomington, IN. until they relocated to New York City in 2013. Dr. Jo Ann Pierce taught adjunct educational leadership classes at Cameron University and introduced the “Wannabe Principal Program” to area teachers. In 2009, she opened ASPIRE HIGHER Educational and Leadership Consulting, LLC contracting with businesses and school districts in Virginia, South Carolina, Illinois, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Texas, Kansas, Arizona, New Mexico, Missouri, and Oklahoma.
She has written, A Mountain of Love about her elementary classroom years and is writing a second book about her years as a principal. “I love children and teaching adults how to honor children’s learning from classroom to boardroom. I am particularly interested in the ways that United Way helps children get a good start in our community. Learning to read is the most important thing a child will do to create opportunity in their lives. When adults read to young children it stimulates their brain to grow and become active. It broadens their ability to comprehend, empathize with others, use their imaginations, and build their confidence. I applaud anything we can do to help our children learn from birth to starting school. That is where it truly begins, if we want to change Oklahoma’s 43% below/basic literacy scores of adults over age 18.”
Both Jo Ann and Joe sang different work songs with passion, but they always harmonized in the middle. Joe supported Jo Ann’s numerous educational projects and she was a buyer/marketer/gopher for the front-end gifts at the pharmacy. On the happiest note they raised daughter, Nikki and son, Kelsey. Nikki lives in Dallas with husband Jeff Wolff where they are probate litigators at Wolff Law, PLLC. Kelsey and Lauren live in Tulsa where they are attorneys, too. They have a newborn son.
The Pierces love to travel, but reserve one family vacation together a year, taking turns picking the destination each Christmas when the family gathers. They love to attend OU ball games, concerts, and seek opportunities to mentor others in leadership. They both love to read (Jo Ann is president of the Duncan Library Board) and challenge themselves to keep up with technological advances (Joe’s getting really good at this).
The Pierces are involved in their church, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church on Beech where they teach Sunday School, lead Bible studies, belong to UMW and UMM respectively, and Joe is the Chair of the Leadership Table. They have spearheaded community Lenten Luncheons the past two years. Jo Ann serves on the Wichita’s United Methodist Church Missional Strategy Team, the New Faith Communities Ministry Board, and Commission on the Status and Role of Women Board both at the Conference level.
Joe loves to keep the yard nice and the cars washed and waxed. Jo Ann likes to cook and enjoys new-found time together. They keep it pretty simple these days…trying to walk the talk of Jesus…giving their time because…Giving Makes the Heart Sing!
Information about making a contribution can be obtained by contacting the United Way office located at 12 S. 8th Street, Suite 9 in Duncan or calling (580) 255-3648.