Dunk a Drag Queen and have a very Grateful Day

Chuck Courtney, co-founder of the Grateful Day Foundation. Photo by Robin Dorner.

by Sara Ritsch
Staff Writer

Keryn Scott was a Missouri native and an HIV/AIDS outreach worker and educator. After a long struggle with the virus, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 intestinal cancer in 2011.

“Knowing her end was near, Keryn began signing her emails and letters with Have a Grateful Day,” The Grateful Day Foundation’s website reads. “Her outlook on life had changed to be grateful for each and every day she had left.”

Justin Flowers, Scott’s best friend, with the help of Chuck Courtney, Shana Cozad, Paul Dorman and Patrick French, formed the Grateful Day Foundation Inc. in honor of Scott’s good work and kind words.

Scott passed away, but her memory lives on every year through the Annual HIV Wellness Retreat put on by The Grateful Day Foundation.

“The Grateful Day Foundation seeks to fill gaps in services in Oklahoma's HIV/AIDS wellness community through collaboration with partner organizations, providing transportation to those in need, and hosting an Annual HIV Wellness Retreat,” reads their website.

Chuck Courtney, co-founder, says, “This will be our fourth retreat as hosts of this long standing event. The annual HIV Wellness Retreats have been a staple in the care and support in the Tulsa area for several years. We have expanded our reach to include all of Oklahoma, Northwest Arkansas, Southeast Kansas and Southwest Missouri.”

The Annual HIV Wellness Retreat will be held August 26 to 28 in Chouteau, OK. Located at the beautiful Camp Christian, activities at the retreat will feature arts and crafts, a nature-themed scavenger hunt, a balloon release to commemorate people lost through HIV/AIDS, kayaking on the Verdigris River and small group games. Food will be provided daily. This year’s theme is mind, body and spirit, according to Flowers.

On Wednesday, June 22 will be the Dunk a Drag Queen Fundraiser, located in OKC at the Finish Line on the patio pool, to benefit the clients of the retreat and of Other Options, Inc. (OOI), an HIV/AIDS service organization in OKC. This will feature some of Oklahoma City’s “most favorite and most hated queens” on the dunking booth, says Flowers.

Mary Arbuckle of OOI has vowed to get in the booth herself for a $500 donation to the cause. In addition, a client has promised a $100 donation for every time Arbuckle is dunked – so you cannot miss that, nor the hamburger cookout “with all the fixin’s.” To dunk a drag queen (or a Hero of Hope – Arbuckle) it costs $5 for three balls. Flowers will also be available for a pie in the face for $10.

Following all dunking activities, that evening at The Copa will be a fundraiser drag show hosted by Keosha Simone, Miss Oklahoma USofA Classic 2015.

For more information or to get involved, visit their website at www.gratefulday.org or contact Justin Flowers by email at justintime@yahoo.com or by phone at (918) 999-5040.

The Gayly – June 14, 2016 @ 2:15 p.m.