OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Three lifesaving meteorologists will receive the Lee Allan Smith Spirit of Oklahoma Award at Oklahoma Christian University’s Associates Gala.
The 11th-annual dinner, featuring Oklahoma City Thunder broadcaster Grant Long as the keynote speaker, will be at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m.
OC will present the Lee Allan Smith Spirit of Oklahoma Award to KWTV’s Gary England, KOCO’s Damon Lane and KFOR’s Mike Morgan for their tireless efforts to keep people safe and informed during the May tornadoes.
The award, given annually to individuals who have devoted themselves to the betterment of Oklahoma, is named for Lee Allan Smith, a tireless proponent of Oklahoma City and the state as a whole.
Previous Lee Allan Smith Spirit of Oklahoma award winners include Oklahoma City mayors Ron Norick, Kirk Humphreys and Mick Cornett, and former Oklahoma governors and first ladies George and Donna Nigh, Frank and Cathy Keating, and Brad and Kim Henry.
“These exceptional weathermen were three of the many heroes who emerged as the deadly tornadoes battered our state in May,” OC president John deSteiguer said. “Their expertise, instincts and professionalism saved countless lives. Their invaluable service under pressure embodies the spirit of Oklahoma.”
England, who joined KWTV in 1972, is an internationally-recognized authority in severe weather. In 1981, he became the first person in history to use Doppler radar for direct warnings to the public. In 2009, England and the News 9 weather team earned the Edward R. Murrow Award for being the best in the nation for breaking news/weather.
Last year, England won the latest of his three career Emmy awards for breaking weather coverage. He also has won the Silver Circle Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
He recently stepped away from his on-air role as chief meteorologist to become KWTV’s vice president for corporate relations and weather development.
Lane joined KOCO in 2009 and now serves as the station’s chief meteorologist. He is the only chief meteorologist in Oklahoma City to hold the CBM seal of certification from the American Meteorological Society.
Before coming to KOCO, he was the chief meteorologist at KTXS in Abilene, Texas, and was named “Abilene’s Favorite Meteorologist” for three years in a row.
Morgan, chief meteorologist at KFOR, has won five Emmy awards since joining the station in 1993. He has received the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters Award for the state’s best 10 p.m. weathercast 11 times and also has won a Radio Television News Directors’ Association Award.
Following the devastating 1999 tornadoes, Gov. Keating presented Morgan with the Humanitarian Award for going above and beyond the call of duty.
The Oklahoma Christian Associates Gala recognizes donors who make unrestricted gifts of $1,000 or more to OC’s general scholarship fund.
Long, the keynote speaker, is entering his sixth year as the Thunder’s color analyst and his first as an OC dad; his daughter Abagayl is a freshman at Oklahoma Christian this fall.
He had a 15-year NBA career, playing in more than 1,000 games as a member of the Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat and Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies.
“Grant has a fascinating life story to share because of his long NBA career and his current success as an NBA broadcaster,” deSteiguer said. “He’s a first-class man of faith, and we’re happy his family feels at home at Oklahoma Christian.”
Oklahoma Christian, recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accounting, business administration, engineering, ministry, and divinity.