Town Manager Joe Robinson has big ideas for the small town of Verdigris. Robinson proposed a Community Action Team using town resources and an extensive volunteer network to assist those who most need a friend in times of trouble.

“Pay it forward — that’s what we’d like to get in a community action program,” said Robinson.

Robinson proposes a community assistance organization that will not stop at the town borders of annexed property but that will include the entire community of Verdigris.

A town cannot give individuals gifts or free services, but volunteers organized through local churches can utilize a town data base and other resources to coordinate serving needs of the citizenry. Donations would be channeled through the churches and the town would serve as the “center point” for the team of volunteers.

“We can’t do that as a town due to legal ramifications, our town attorney has told us that,” said Robinson, “but as a community we can use the churches to organize that.”

Robinson said the schools could also participate. The town will provide phone lists, tools and a database. A committee will determine special needs.

No liability will be incurred as everyone will sign waivers.

“I know five towns right now–Edmond is the biggest one–that is doing this,” said Robinson. “We want to build that sense of community, but I’m still the only employee. We don’t have a maintenance department. I see a lot of things that need to happen.”

The plan would not require any tax dollars to work.

“We can organize volunteer projects through the town,” said Robinson. He said they would start small and as more people become involved, could take on larger


Summer is targeted as the start date for the committee to take action.

Three churches attend the town council meeting. With illness and people out of town, there was not quorum for the town meeting, but Robinson and Mayor Keith Crawford discussed the idea with area churches who responded to the invitation for dialogue on the topic.

Robinson said he would gather guidelines, forms and procedures from other towns and cities.

“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” said Robinson. He acknowledged the small town could not do the things a city the size of Edmond could accomplish, but he thinks an organized volunteer system could go a long way to address immediate needs and concerns of some of the towns citizens.

“We have heart,” said Dinah Nichols, town treasurer.

Representatives of local churches responding to Robinson’s call included Kevin Clyma of Harvest Baptist Church, Tim Blan of First Baptist Verdigris, and Teresa Dorsey of Verdigris Assembly of God.

“This is a great community,” said Robinson. “I feel very honored to work for this town.”

Contact Joy Hampton at 341-1101 or