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A feature about good people doing good things

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As I browsed the newspaper this morning, I saw my former boss on the pages of our metro section.

It wasn’t just any former boss. It was my first boss in my journalism career.

I think she was my boss, anyway. It’s a gray area. Are you considered an employee if you don’t get paid anything?

I was simply a moppy-haired 20-year-old college student looking to break in and work for the student newspaper at the University of Oklahoma. Michelle Fielden (now Michelle Sutherlin) was the sports editor of The Oklahoma Daily in the fall of 1994. I was an intern, and I remember Michelle being an advocate for my possible addition to the paid staff in the following semester.

I eventually combed my hair and graduated a few years later and still consider the experience I collected in many different jobs at The Oklahoma Daily the best possible preparation for a real-world life in the news industry.

Michelle was featured in the newspaper today for reasons other than her stint as sports editor in 1994. She has had a excellent career in a variety of places (including time at The Oklahoman).

But she made news today for her volunteer efforts for the United Way.

Michelle Sutherlin is a stay-at-home mom on a tight budget who, a few weeks ago, wasn’t sure what she could do to help the United Way of Norman raise funds.

Lida Clinton, left, gets her order of baked goods from Michelle Sutherlin on Monday at the United Way of Norman. Sutherllin and a group of her friends formed Confections for a Cause, which raised more than $2,000 for the United Way by spending hundreds of hours baking cookies, pies and cakes. PHOTOS BY JAMES S. TYREE, THE OKLAHOMAN
Lida Clinton, left, gets her order of baked goods from Michelle Sutherlin on Monday at the United Way of Norman. Sutherllin and a group of her friends formed Confections for a Cause, which raised more than $2,000 for the United Way by spending hundreds of hours baking cookies, pies and cakes. PHOTOS BY JAMES S. TYREE, THE OKLAHOMAN

One month and $2,085 later, Sutherlin and her baking buddies seem to be onto something. They formed a group called Confections for a Cause, and its members have becoming baking machines to raise money for the United Way.

“We baked at Norman High School from 11:30 to 5:30 Saturday and 1:30 to 5:30 on Sunday, and some have spent four hours a day or night every day baking,” Sutherlin said. “We have spent hundreds of hours between baking, organizing, getting donations and shopping.”

I can’t confirm this, but I have a pretty good feeling that I spent many of those same hours on recent Saturdays and Sundays watching a lot of football on television.

So, as I read the story today by reporter James S. Tyree, I thought of how lucky we are that some people truly think of others before thinking of themselves.

And I’m glad The Oklahoman and NewsOK finds these people on occasion and gives the rest of us a built-in New Year’s resolution — something about improving our own efforts to make our community a better place.

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Related Photos
 Lida Clinton, left, gets her order of baked goods from Michelle Sutherlin on Monday at the United Way of Norman. Sutherllin and a group of her friends formed Confections for a Cause, which raised more than $2,000 for the United Way by spending hundreds of hours baking cookies, pies and cakes. PHOTOS BY JAMES S. TYREE, THE OKLAHOMAN

Lida Clinton, left, gets her order of baked goods from Michelle Sutherlin on Monday at the United Way of Norman. Sutherllin and a group of her friends formed Confections for a Cause, which raised more than $2,000 for the United Way by spending hundreds of hours baking cookies, pies and cakes....

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a870aada177aa38e8dea2423433ecc86.jpg" alt="Photo - Lida Clinton, left, gets her order of baked goods from Michelle Sutherlin on Monday at the United Way of Norman. Sutherllin and a group of her friends formed Confections for a Cause, which raised more than $2,000 for the United Way by spending hundreds of hours baking cookies, pies and cakes. PHOTOS BY JAMES S. TYREE, THE OKLAHOMAN " title=" Lida Clinton, left, gets her order of baked goods from Michelle Sutherlin on Monday at the United Way of Norman. Sutherllin and a group of her friends formed Confections for a Cause, which raised more than $2,000 for the United Way by spending hundreds of hours baking cookies, pies and cakes. PHOTOS BY JAMES S. TYREE, THE OKLAHOMAN "><figcaption> Lida Clinton, left, gets her order of baked goods from Michelle Sutherlin on Monday at the United Way of Norman. Sutherllin and a group of her friends formed Confections for a Cause, which raised more than $2,000 for the United Way by spending hundreds of hours baking cookies, pies and cakes. PHOTOS BY JAMES S. TYREE, THE OKLAHOMAN </figcaption></figure>
Alan Herzberger

Alan Herzberger is the Vice President of Audience Development at The Oklahoman Media Company. He focuses on digital strategies for The Oklahoman and for NewsOK.com. He’s been with The Oklahoman since 1997, when he joined the sports department.... Read more ›

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