By JERRY WOFFORD World Scene WriterBy tripling the size of Tulsa CARES, the Charles Faudree Center will greatly improve the facility’s ability to help those in northeast Oklahoma living with HIV/AIDS.
Just what Faudree would have wanted.
Tulsa CARES announced the new center Monday — World AIDS Day — with a groundbreaking set for early 2015.
Faudree was a longtime board member of Tulsa CARES, the organization that provides support to people in northeast Oklahoma living with HIV/AIDS. A renowned interior designer in Tulsa and the area, Faudree died in November 2013.
His sister, Francie Faudree Gillman, said Faudree worked hard to help fight the epidemic since its frightening spread in the 1980s. He would hold home tours and fundraisers on his own to raise money for Tulsa CARES and its predecessors, including Regional AIDS Interfaith Network and Catholic Charities.
“Everything he did was charitable or humanitarian,” Faudree Gillman said. “He would ask every friend, every client for donations.”
The Charles Faudree Center, to be located near 11th Street and Louisville Avenue, will include facilities better equipped to serve the more than 500 people living with HIV or AIDS in the region by offering medical and nutrition services.
The addition will have a large kitchen to provide meals for clients. It will include more space to provide nutritional services, a grocery and free meals for clients.
Work on the new project also was greatly influenced by the former executive director, Sharon Thoele, who along with many more people helped provide a safe place for people living with HIV/AIDS to get the help they needed.
The center is about 90 percent to its goal of $2.5 million to launch construction.
Faudree and his sister had several friends who died from AIDS, which was a big motivation for the pair to help those affected by the epidemic in Oklahoma, Faudree Gillman said.
Faudree started on the board when the Tulsa CARES Red Ribbon Gala fundraiser was in its early years. Its growth is attributed to work by Faudree and others who helped in the early stages of the event.
“Charles, along with P.S. Gordon, was instrumental in Tulsa’s AIDS response through the Hope Candlelight Tour,” said Shannon Hall in a news release. “They later took that same energy and joined the Tulsa CARES board.
“Their leadership along with people like Pat Chernicky brought the Red Ribbon Gala into the forefront and is why it is so successful today. It’s difficult to think of the Gala without thinking of Charles.”
Faudree Gillman and others said Faudree had a special ability to be caring and attentive to one’s needs, which helped Tulsa CARES and the other organizations grow into the compassionate and caring groups they are today.
“Everybody loved him so everybody loved working with him,” she said. “He made you feel like you were his best friend.”
More information is at tulsacares.org.
Jerry Wofford 918-581-8346