Showing Citgo it's appreciated in Tulsa

Wednesday, August 27th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Local charities and non-profit groups say they've gotten a lot from Citgo over the years, and Wednesday afternoon, they returned the favor. They held a pep rally for Citgo workers, as the company ponders a move to Houston.

News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg says what they all hope is that this was not a farewell party. No one knows what's going to happen, but they want the employees to know that they're appreciated.

Elaine Reusser remembers exactly what she thought when she heard that Citgo might be leaving town. "I was thinking. Oh no, please don't. I hope they don't go. I hope they stay here in Tulsa." Reusser is the principal of Salk Elementary, which has been sponsored by Citgo for the past ten years or so.

Citgo provides computers, and toys, and field trips and maps, which at hundreds of dollars apiece, feel like millions during a time of budget cuts. "When you look at social studies, and it's not the USSR, it's Russia, and some of the other countries that have changed, children know what you're talking about instead of something that happened before their lifetime."

Not all of Citgo's contributions are as obvious as the one at Salk Elementary, but the charities and non-profits wanted people to know that the company has helped out all over Tulsa.

They rank in the top ten companies in the actual dollars raised and given to the community through the United Way, and that's powerful in a community this size. President of the United Way, Kathleen Coan says they expect this will be a long and difficult 4 months for the employees as they wonder what the company will decide. "I'm sure the uncertainty is not good for them. If I was in their shoes, I would want to stay in Tulsa."

They don't know if the rally made a difference in the mind of the company, but they know it won't hurt. Phil Lakin with the Tulsa Community Foundation, "If we don't do it, then certainly they will have never known how much the non-profit and corporate community appreciates what they have done."

Citgo is also a major contributor to Philbrook Museum and puts on the fireworks show at the Arkansas River. The company is somebody that people would hate to see go.