The Shepherd’s House, an El Reno organization going strong since 2003, has been chosen for a prestigious award by the Retired Senior and Volunteer Program. The program, a part of the Senior Corps organization, has picked The Shepherd’s House for the award based on the charity it gives to communities throughout the year, along with its rapid response to the May 25 tornado.

The citation, a Certificate of Merit from the state of Oklahoma, will be signed by Reps. Rhonda Baker and Mike Sanders.

The Shepherd’s House serves El Reno, Calumet, Union City, Cedar Lake and other communities west and south of town. The organization provides people with clothes, home appliances and sanitation supplies. Those who need assistance are welcome to shop for free at The Shepherd’s House periodically throughout the year.

“We’re here to listen to community members and help them as best we can,” said Cherris Curtis, the group’s director. “We’re all working together to serve our community. We love the Lord, and this is one of the ways we use our gifts to serve Him.”

Curtis helped found the organization with other members of El Reno’s First Baptist Church. The group is made up of nearly 40 volunteers who work to provide and maintain donations. Including new and repeat customers, around 3,000 people are served annually.

Some members of The Shepherd’s House are also members of the Retired Senior and Volunteer Program, which honors and assists seniors 55 and older who make an impact in their communities.

The Senior program is a sister organization of AmeriCorps under the Corporation of National and Community Service, and they work closely with 12 stations in Oklahoma. Two of those, The Shepherd’s House and Mobile Meals, are located in El Reno. The program also works with veterans outreach, senior companionship and auxiliary hospitals.

The award they have chosen for The Shepherd’s House is not given on a regular basis. Rather than an annual honor, it is presented to different groups during years when an organization serves its community particularly well. The Senior Corps group was especially impressed by The Shepherd’s House's response to the tornado and other storms.

“I’ve been moved by their attention,” said Jan Franks, director for the Retired Senior and Volunteer Program. “They work quietly, and they care more about impacting the community than about recognition. Every time I’ve visited, I’ve come back to my co-workers and told them that they should visit The Shepherd’s House. It’s a very well-organized group.”

The Shepherd’s House will be honored with the award on Aug. 19.