- Mark Harmon prepares to bat at a charity baseball game in 2011 in Oklahoma City. Photo provided
14th Annual Mark Harmon Celebrity Weekend
6 p.m. June 27
Fire Lake Bowling Center
40945 Hardesty Road, Shawnee
Passes start at $125
1:30 p.m. June 28
Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark
2 South Mickey Mantle Drive
NCIS star Mark Harmon returns to Oklahoma to play baseball for charity.
When it comes to helping Oklahomas children, Emmy-nominated actor and NCIS star Mark Harmon doesnt play around. Harmon and his famous friends will soon team up again for the 14th Annual Mark Harmon Celebrity Weekend June 27-28, raising money to benefit local nonprofits that help children. For Mark Harmon to use his celebrity in this way, to do something good for Oklahomas kids, is just amazing, said event chairman Robert Fuxa. He is an incredible man. The event kicks off with the Stars & Strikes Bowling Night at 6 p.m. on June 27 at Fire Lake Bowling Center, 40945 Hardesty Road, in Shawnee. Teams will compete in the bowling tournament while patrons enjoy food from local restaurants and bid on auction items. The featured auction item is a weeklong African safari for two, Fuxa said. Gallery passes are $125 in advance or at the door, and four- man team sponsorships are available for $2,500. The fun continues on June 28 as Harmon and his celebrity Bombers team will face the Outlaws, a team of physicians from Oklahoma Sport Science and Orthopedics (OSSO), in a five-inning baseball game at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, 2 South Mickey Mantle Drive. The game begins at 1:30 p.m. and is free to the public. Gates open at noon, and Harmon and other celebrities will sign autographs before the game. Scheduled to appear are movie producer Frank Marshall, sport agent Barry Axelrod (Harmons manager), former Chicago Cub pitcher and ESPN announcer Rick Sutcliffe, former all-American baseball player Steve Klausen and more. The Outlaws are headed by local spine surgeon Dr. Michael Wright, founder of the Oklahoma Kidz Charities Foundation, which hosts the event. Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb usually joins the team as well, Fuxa said.
Local nonprofits benefit Organizers are aiming to raise $400,000 to assist three local nonprofits. The Oklahoma City Indian Clinic serves 45,000 local American Indians, the nations third-largest metropolitan population. In its fifth year partnering with Oklahoma Kidz Charities, the facility recently opened the 7,000-square-foot Harmon-y Pediatrics Clinic, expanding to meet the demand of 4,000 child visits a year. CEO Robyn Sunday-Allen said the clinic hopes to add a full-time pediatric nutritionist to battle childhood obesity and a child psychologist to treat developmental issues with funds from this years event. Annas House Foundation is a child-placing agency that also recruits and trains new foster families in Oklahoma and surrounding counties. About 11,000 children are in state custody, 2,800 in Oklahoma County alone, with only 400 traditional foster families to help, executive director Darci Oplotnik said. The fact of the matter is we dont have enough foster homes, she said. With help from Harmon, the Annas House Community in Luther provides foster children a safe environment. Foster families live rent- free in single-family homes, caring for children while they transition to permanent foster care or adoption. In its first year partnering with the event, the Sunset Therapeutic Riding Center in Yukon utilizes equine therapy to help at-risk youth and children with special needs. The facility treats children with physical disabilities and cognitive disorders and expanded its program from 43 riders one year ago to 157 riders during its last riding season, said administrative director Elizabeth Taylor, whose 11-year-old daughter Cora Beth has cerebral palsy and has been riding since she was three. She absolutely loves it, Taylor said. With funds from Oklahoma Kidz Charities, Taylor said she hopes to acquire more land and build new facilities to meet demand. For more information, call 474- 5050 or visit ok-kidz.org.