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Sooners and Cowboys alike can get behind Mindy Corporon's vision

People sometimes ask me who has been my favorite person to interview.

It’s a fair question. I am blessed to have a chance to talk to many interesting and important folks as a part of my job. But I often struggle with what to tell them; by the glint in their eye, I get the feeling what they’re really asking is, “Who is the most famous person you’ve interviewed?”

Famous does not equal favorite in my book.

Monday reminded me of that.

I had a chance to talk with Mindy Corporon. She is the mom and the daughter of two of the victims of last spring’s shootings outside a Jewish community center in suburban Kansas City. It was a senseless act of violence that ripped not one but two loved ones out of her life.

It’s hard to fathom what she has been through.

I wrote about how her family’s ties to Oklahoma have helped it in the healing process. They are diehard Sooner fans, and it’s awesome what the school and some of the people working for it have done for the family.

But equally as awesome is what Mindy and the family have done in the wake of the shooting.

They started the Reat Griffin Underwood Memorial Foundation, named after Mindy’s son but honoring her dad, William Corporon, as well. The foundation works to encourage medical initiatives and the performing arts. Mindy admits that makes the foundation’s mission fairly broad, but that’s how the family wanted it. The family wanted to be able to give funds to a student with a big artistic idea one minute and to Doctors without Borders the next.

It only figures that an initiative that the family has cooked up is broad and all-encompassing as well.

With the one-year anniversary of the shootings approaching in April, Mindy knew that she wanted to have a peace walk. Start at the Jewish community center where Her father and son were killed, then end at their church, which has been such a point of strength.

But then, a family in the area contacted the family and said it wanted to put together a songwriting competition. Reat was a young and aspiring singer, so this seemed like a meaningful way to honor his memory and to create something beautiful.

Finally, Mindy’s mom, Melinda, mentioned an idea that she had — seven days of kindness. She wondered if the week leading up to the anniversary of the shootings could focus on good instead of evil, on helping each other instead of inflicting pain.

SevenDays was born.

“SevenDays: Make a Ripple, Change the World” is the umbrella covering all of the events that Mindy, her family, their foundation and their community plan to do before the one-year anniversary. While the peace walk will be held in the Kansas City area, the seven days of kindness is something that can be done anywhere. A Facebook page has been set up, and each day starting on April 7, there will be a post explaining the focus for that day. And there will be things that anyone anywhere can do to bring kindness into the world.

I’ve already decided to join the movement, and I hope you will, too.

Talking to Mindy on Monday made me want to follow her example. Here she is, dealing with what must be the most difficult year of her life, and she is finding ways to try to make this world a better place.

What an inspiration.

I was honored to be able to talk to Mindy Corporon. She definitely isn’t among the most famous people who I have interviewed. But she definitely ranks among my favorites.

Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›