By Ronda Cowen
News Star Reporter
“We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.” –Jesse Owens
Kimra Qualls has a dream. She is determined to make her dream into a reality, but she wants to share her dream in the hope that others will catch her passion.
Her dream is to build a track and field at Blackburn Field in Stratford, Oklahoma.
Currently, there isn’t a “real” track to run on; only a few practice stations in desperate need of repair. To get the running time in, athletes either run on the dirt road that surrounds the football field or on the paved roads in town.
“Running on pavement, gravel, or other uneven surfaces causes shin splints and other impact injuries. A track and field would have the correct material to limit injuries,” says Qualls.
She and her husband, Patrick operate a chiropractic practice in Ada and see many injuries due to running/walking on uneven surfaces.
There has never been a proper track and field in Stratford, despite the sport being offered for at least the last 35 years, with 331 students participating during that time.
Kimra ran track when she attended high school in Stratford over 20 years ago. Her 14-year old daughter, Alexia also participates in the sport, and Kimra longs for better conditions for all Stratford athletes.
“The new track wouldn’t just help the track athletes, but all athletes and the community,” Kimra emphasizes. “We want to make this a community upgrade, for all residents.”
The track would circle the football field with new stations being added in the outlying areas. The fences would have to be moved back, but not having to purchase any additional property is a big advantage to the community.
The cost of the track comes in $396,000, not including the additional field equipment, which is estimated to be another $42,000.
Kimra has already raised over $86,000, which has been placed in a special account through the school. She has only been fundraising since June 9th, and since school has been out of session, students haven’t even begun their own fundraising efforts.
Kimra has approached over 70 businesses including several large corporations asking for support and has been met with positive responses.
Stratford alumnus Kevin Turner graciously made the first donation. Other donors who have already given to the project include Eldridge Propane, Cindy and Jay Johnson, 1st United Bank, and Mercy Hospital.
Kimra has also applied for several grants. She set up a booth at the Peach Festival, featuring the shirts she designed. These are still available to order.
“We need the support of the community because this is for the community,” says Kimra.
And there are many ways that the community can become involved.
Every donation is important and donations as small as $20 will be acknowledged on a banner at the field.
Those who contribute larger dollar amounts will be honored on a wall of recognition made up of 4”x8”, 8”x8”, or 12”x12” tiles, depending on the size of the donation.
Stone monuments will also be constructed at the field, identifying those who donated $10,000 or more toward the completion of the project.
If you would like more information about the project, you can contact Kimra Qualls at firstname.lastname@example.org or through her cell phone: 785-477-1131.
Interested parties can also keep track of the project through Facebook at the Stratford Track Project page.