MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

February 18, 2013

He helps others help themselves

Running anti-poverty program just his latest way of aiding

— Tom Martindale has had several jobs helping those who need help.

He has helped children prepare for kindergarten through several Head Start programs.

He has helped women overcome alcohol and drug abuse through Muskogee’s MONARCH program.

Over the past year and a half, he has helped people with low incomes find a better life through the Bridges Out of Poverty program. Martindale is the coordinator of Community Circles of Muskogee, which is part of Bridges Out of Poverty, an initiative to help people change mind-sets that keep them in poverty.

Martindale, 67, said the work has altered his mind-set, too.

“The biggest thing this program has done was to help me be less judgmental,” he said. “Before I got involved, I had my own idea of how people got into poverty and what it takes to get people out.”

As the son of a career Air Force master sergeant, Martindale grew up in various places — Fort Worth, Texas, until the seventh grade; three years in Puerto Rico; high school years in Omaha, Neb. He went to college in California and spent 10 years in the Marine Corps.

He then worked with a Head Start program in McCurtain, Choctaw and Pushmataha counties before he came to Muskogee 10 years ago to help open a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center for Green Country Behavioral Health.

“That never materialized, so because of my Head Start background, I got into Head Start here,” he said.

He became the director of MONARCH around 2008.

In 2011, Martindale took training classes for Bridges Out of Poverty and later became its coordinator.

Meet Tom Martindale

AGE: 67.

HOMETOWN: Muskogee.

CAREER: Coordinator for Circles of Muskogee program.

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in management from University of Redlands in California.

FAMILY: Wife, Angela. Two grown children, one granddaughter.

CHURCH: Timothy Baptist Church.

HOBBIES: Golf, motorcycling, woodwork.

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