DEL CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – It all started with a social media post about trash left at Del City’s Eagle Lake after people shot off fireworks there. It caught the attention of Mike Cantrell, the city manager. He rounded up volunteers and got to cleaning, and that sparked a Pay It Forward nomination.
“We’re here at Del City City Hall, where today we are going to be meeting our Pay It Forward recipient,” says KFOR’s Kent Ogle in the parking lot. “Lisa Scales is the person who nominated. James Boggs is here with First Fidelity Bank to tell her why they are excited to be part of this.
“Lisa, we were so touched about your story with Mike,” says James. “Just the way he serves others above self, it represents everything about Pay It Forward. So, on behalf of everyone at First Fidelity Bank, I’m so pleased to help you Pay It Forward.
“Thank you so much” says Lisa. “I can’t wait to give this to Mike and see what his reaction is to all of this. He is an amazing man for our little city, our whole community here. He does so much for the community. He really is a blessing for everything he does for us.”
We went into the mayor’s office where they were calling Mike in for what he thinks will be a routine meeting.
“Hi, Mike, I’m Kent Ogle with Channel 4. How are you today?”
“Doing good, sir.” says Mike
“We have something fun that is going on today. Lisa here nominated you for our Pay it Forward award because she says you do so much above and beyond for the community. We are going to let her tell you why she has nominated you,” says Kent.
“Well, kind of like the Eagle Lake thing,” says Lisa. “Somebody posted on Sunday that it needed cleaning up, and Monday you were right there on the ball to do it. And High Spirits Park needed to be done, and you were right there with us, including sliding down that slide. Anything that needed to be done in this city, you are on the ball. You do it. It doesn’t matter what it is. It doesn’t matter where it’s at. You are there to do it. So, I nominated you for it and part of that is giving you $400,” says Lisa, as she awards Mike the cash.
“Thank you. All this is humbling,” says Mike as his fellow employees applaud.
“What do you get out of working for the city, doing the job you do?” says Kent.
“I’ve been working here for 30 years and it’s all about community, it’s about helping, it’s about assisting.” says Mike. “We’ve got great residents here, we’ve got great staff, great people and we all work together. It’s not about ‘I’m the boss and I have a huge ego, and everyone is going to do as I say.’ I don’t believe in that. I believe in being right there side by side. Right there with everybody.”
Del City is a young city, a little over 70 years old. Mike has worked for the city for almost half of that time. That is one of the things that makes Mike so valuable to the city, according to Mayor Floyd Eason.
“He knows every nut and bolt in this city. He knows where every waterline is, every sewer line is,” says Mayor Eason. “And talk about a guy who is Johnny-on-the-spot. If a citizen has a problem, he goes right there and knows how to fix it and what to do.”
Including the Eagle Lake clean up.
“We had about 20 or 30 people show up, picking up trash, and we had that park cleaned up in a couple of hours, and he spearheaded that effort, and, you know, you’ve got to commend the guy,” Eason says.
But humble Mike, as usual, makes it about everybody but himself.
“I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with. Everyone here is just outstanding,” says Mike.
The Pay it Forward award is just the icing on the cake.