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DRS director honors retiring cabinet secretary

Thursday, April 02, 2020

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services Executive Director Melinda Fruendt honored Office of Juvenile Affairs Director Steven Buck on March 10 at the state Capitol.

Buck began overseeing DRS as cabinet secretary of Human Services and Early Childhood Initiatives in 2016. He retired from his OJA position and cabinet secretary role on March 6.

Commission for Rehabilitation Services Commissioner Emily Cheng and Fruendt presented Buck with a DRS director’s certificate.

“Over the last few weeks, many have spoken of Steve’s leadership and compassion in his service to the State of Oklahoma,” Freundt said as she presented the award. “We too thank Steve on behalf of DRS for his guidance and patience with myself and the DRS leadership team as we worked together to effectively serve 82,787 Oklahomans with disabilities.”

“The biggest testament is that person after person who knows Steve knows of his passion for service to other,” she said. “DRS has been the recipient of that service and passion for three years, and we are better for his service.”

In years past, People with Disabilities Awareness Day brought nearly a thousand Oklahomans to the state Capitol to talk with lawmakers and share their stories. Construction at the state Capitol this year made such an onsite event impossible, leading supporters to come together online at www.okdrs.gov/pwdad for a social media event.

Last year, DRS served 82,787 Oklahomans with disabilities with career preparation, employment, residential and outreach education, independent living programs and the determination of medical eligibility for disability benefits. The agency helps job seekers with disabilities face barriers to employment, such as inaccessible worksites, lack of transportation or the need for specialized equipment or training. For more information, visit http://www.okdrs.gov or phone 800-845-8476.

Melinda Fruendt (left), Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services executive director, and Emily Cheng, commissioner, (right) present a director’s certificate to Steven Buck at the state Capitol. Buck recently left state service as Office of Juvenile Affairs director and cabinet secretary of Human Services and Early Childhood Initiatives. DRS is a member of that cabinet. Melinda Fruendt (left), Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services executive director, and Emily Cheng (right) present a director’s certificate to Steven Buck several weeks ago at the state Capitol. Buck recently left state service as Office of Juvenile Affairs director and cabinet secretary of Human Services and Early Childhood Initiatives. DRS is a member of that cabinet. Buck is now executive director of Care Providers Oklahoma, a trade organization for Oklahoma's nursing home industry.
For more information contact

Jody Harlan, DRS Communications Director
cell 405-203-1318 office 405-951-3473

Last Modified on Jan 08, 2021
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