Network Larry's Story
When did you first get involved with CCFI?
In 1998, CCFI was in a small building “on the other side of the tracks” with only 3 or 4 people working the issues. At this time, they had 2 PCs and had to use the Sneaker Net and carry the legendary floppy disk to the only PC with a printer. While working with them in the age of dinosaur technology, I was asked by another Norman vendor (dial up internet host – gosh we have been at this a long time) to help with the project known as Community Service Building, Inc. – CSBI). Being in the military full time at that time, I was able to get some of my military folks join in to engineer the old VA hospital for a few dozen nonprofits moving in. I got the State to donate the wire, jacks and patch panels, and then ran team after team of volunteers (I’m talking busloads of retired folks, kids, etc. We used any and all and had a BLAST!) crawling thought the ceiling of this concrete building.
During this dawn of the technology era, CCFI embraced the concept of technology and was the only organization to buy PCs and implement a true network (75% of all hardware was sourced with donations). As I look at all those other entities, I think this choice has made all the difference in CCFI growing to the size they have, to become the leader in their field, while others have stayed stagnant or gone by the way of the buffalo. Training all the folks through the years has been entertaining (to say the least) but with technology now being learned at 3 years old, this piece has been reduced to little things like how to remember one’s password.
As CCFI grew again, a new building was acquired, and again, the challenge of retrofitting an old building with new technology was tackled. Since the time of the Sneaker Net, CCFI has continued to expand their technology usage and with this, their ability to not only help the continuous stream of folks in need, but they can also relate to them and not be out maneuvered by an 11 year old with an iPad. All in all, Network Technology Solutions, Inc. (NTS) has donated between $30,000 and $80,000 every year in IT services to CCFI since 1998!
Why were you moved to assist CCFI?
In the 20ish years I have been involved with CCFI, they have come to the plate and either taken care of my needs (or a friend or family member’s needs) immediately or directed us to the right place. If you think about normal adult life these days, that covers divorce, teen suicide, family monetary issues, and programs for kids, the list goes on. And for me, being a short-term foster parent 4 times in those years, you can imagine I have had a lot of support from my family at CCFI!
What comes to mind when you think of CCFI?
The hundreds if not thousands of families and kids that have a better life or better understanding of humanity and living together.
What do you feel is the biggest impact CCFI has made on the community?
Helping maintain a family unity for Cleveland County and beyond.
What would you like to say to encourage others to donate to CCFI?
Rather than giving $9.95 per month to the next corporate campaign you see, consider keeping your donations local, because you never know when CCFI will help you or someone you know directly!