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BLANCHARD, Okla. (KFOR) – The love of a parent is unmatched, and until you become one, it is hard to imagine.

You are their caretaker, teacher, mentor, and advocate.

Ellen Kimbrell is known for traveling across the state, advocating for students with disabilities and their families.

“She, through her own experience, learned that it helps to have a voice,” Stacey Jones said.

As parents, our children come first, and Ellen is no different.

She is not only the voice for her own child but is now the voice for every child with a disability in Oklahoma who may need one.

Ellen joined the Oklahoma Parents Center years ago. It is based in Holdenville, but their work covers the entire state.

Though Ellen’s son has already graduated, when she saw an opening, she applied and has been fighting for Oklahoma children ever since.

“She’s an advocate for families and children with disabilities when it comes to the public school system and being the voice for the parents because it can be intimidating,” Jones said.

Ellen’s son is now 35 and deaf. He lives at home with Ellen where she has been working from home and where we surprised her with a Pay It 4ward award.

“I have an adult son now who is deaf, and I started my journey with him when he started school at three, and I didn’t know anything about special education or any of that,” Ellen said. “And so I just started learning about my rights and everything.”

The journey has been long, but Ellen has learned much along the way for her family and for everyone who may be travelling a similar path behind them.

“I love helping families and helping them understand that they’re not alone,” she said. “You know that there is help, and we’re always chasing that, that hope for our kids to get the support they need,” she said. “I love what I do, and I’m very fortunate.  It’s important work. It is important work, and it’s very satisfying.”

Pay It 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.