EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – KFOR wants to spotlight Remarkable Women in Oklahoma! After receiving a flood of nominations, we have chosen a winner.
Melissa Barnett was named the regional Oklahoma winner on March 30, 2022. She will be representing Oklahoma for the Nexstar Most Remarkable Woman in America contest.
Melissa Barnett’s journey to generosity started after she once needed help as a young, single mother.
“I just have a heart for giving back because I am so grateful for everybody that poured into me in my young age. I had a nanny when my daughter was growing up and she never charged me a dime. And she watched my daughter, I mean, for probably two years every time I needed her. So, when she purchased a home with me, I used that commission to give back to another single mom to pay it forward.”
Melissa is now a successful realtor, and that $5,000 commission went toward a trip to a magical place that Melissa and Kaitlyn had seen many times before. But now, it was another single mom’s turn.
“I want to make that a reality for some people that otherwise may not have the opportunity. So, I did give a $5,000 gift card to a mom so that she could take her kids to Disney. She was just speechless,” Melissa said.
Along with her full time job, Melissa stays busy with things that don’t earn her a penny.
She leads a networking group and excels at fundraising, including for an orphanage in Africa.
“We raised over $60,000 that night for the orphanage.”
Her fundraising also has benefitted the YYCA.
“It comes from…a lot of those are single moms. There are men who get abused, as well. But knowing the statistics in Oklahoma, that one in four women are abused in their lifetime, is really powerful, in a negative way. And I want to do my part to change that,” she said.
That passion led to her Eternal Service Award from the YWCA, and a Rookie of the Year Award from the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber for her work there.
In the midst of all that generosity, Melissa got something she never asked for – cancer and chemotherapy.
“Joy, just joy. I mean, that’s just who I am, that’s my passion is making people’s dreams come true. So, whether that’s being able to help a single mom go on a trip that she otherwise wouldn’t have been able to attend, or being able to help kids in Africa or, you know, battered women, I mean, it doesn’t matter. I’m changing people’s lives, whether they know me or not. And that’s what counts,” she smiled.