About Us

Our Approach

Our Story


Friends for Folks is a non-profit 501(c)(3) public charity. Each member on the Board generously donates their time and efforts to cultivate the growth and development of the Friends for Folks organization. It’s because of their passion and devotion that the Friends for Folks charity exists.

Eric Franklin



Eric Franklin is the Retired Deputy Medical Director of Department of Corrections.

Dr. Harry Wright, PhD


Vice President

Dr. Harry Wright, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology at University of Oklahoma.

Dr. Rosemarie Strong, DVM



Dr. Rosemarie Strong, DVM is a Veterinarian at Memorial Road Pet Hospital. She is an external volunteer veterinarian for the Friends for Folks program at Mabel Bassett Correctional Center.

Marilyn Durbin, MA, CPCC



Marilyn Durbin, MA, CPCC is an external volunteer facilitator for the Life Anew program in Oklahoma Prisons.

Marva Perry, RN


Marva Perry, RN is a traveling nurse and advocate for children of the incarcerated..

Joe C. Kernke, Jr.


Former President

Joe C. Kernke, Jr. is businessman and owner of Smith&Kernke Funeral Homes.

Bo Cox


Bo Cox is a published author and the Recreational Manager for Griffin State Hospital. He and his service dog Hope, volunteer their time visiting people hospitalized at Griffin State Hospital.

Dr. Lee Denney, DVM


Dr. Lee Denney, DVM is the Speaker Pro Tempore, Representative of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

H.E. “Gene” Rainbolt


H.E. “Gene” Rainbolt is a businessman and Chairman of BancFirst Corporation.

Kris Steele


Kris Steele is the Executive Director of TEEM and Former Speaker of the House in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Cheryl Engelaer


Cheryl Engelaer is businesswoman and owner of Results Count Marketing and Belle Kitchen.

Dr Susan Sharp, PhD


Dr Susan Sharp, PhD, is a professor of Sociology at University of Oklahoma.

Sharon Heatly


Sharon Heatly is the Director of Guidance and Counseling at Norman Public Schools.

Ron Pandos


Ron Pandos is a U.S. Veteran and the Director of the Battle Buddies program for Veterans.

Advisory to the Board

Dr. John Otto (Ex-Officio)

Former Governor Brad Henry

Lee Fairchild

Dr. Susan Savage

Greg Mellott

Ruth Steinberger

Clare McClernon