Longtime Okmulgee resident Hazel Rissler had an idea after driving by downtown’s Grand Old Post Office currently being renovated and turned into OSU Institute of Technology student housing.
“A few weeks ago I went by and saw those guys out there huddled together, and I thought I should make them a hot meal,” Rissler said. “Give them a place to sit down, relax and warm up.”
Last Thursday, Rissler and several of her friends cooked 22 pounds of beans, multiple pans of cornbread and several desserts.
They served them— at no cost— to the construction crews working on the GOPO building for lunch just down the street from the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer.
“It’s extremely nice. We’re not used to this treatment. This is a rare treat,” said Brian Park, job superintendent at the GOPO site. “Most of the time, we just have to walk to places around."
Peggy Caudle is one of Rissler’s friends who helped with the meal by cooking beans and cornbread.
“It makes the work worth it, seeing them enjoying it,” Caudle said.
Rissler, who has lived in Okmulgee for more than 50 years, has a long and loyal relationship with OSUIT.
Her husband worked for the university for 18 years and three of her five children as well as a son-in-law attended OSUIT. She even took some culinary classes.
The free meal to the crews was one way Rissler has given back to the institution. She would also love to offer another free meal to the crewmembers again soon.
“I’m so tickled with everything going on in town,” she said. “This town is waking up.”