- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—Oasis Children’s Advocacy Center Executive Director Hank Baskett Jr. sums up his time with the organization as “a blessing.”

Baskett, 71, is retiring after 21 years with the children’s safehouse at a fundraising banquet scheduled Aug. 15 at the Clovis Civic Center.

“It’s a good feeling,” Baskett said. “But I will miss it — I’ve worked so long with the children.”

“Knowing Hank for over 30 years, I’m not surprised that he chose to have a fundraising event for the Oasis instead of his retirement party,” said Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce Office Manager Helen Casaus in a press release. “He would give his last dollar to the children he loves.”

The Oasis is a rural safehouse that conducts forensic interviews for child-abuse cases and child-witnessed violent crimes.

Baskett, the father of former pro football player Hank Baskett III, said he decided to celebrate his retirement with a fundraiser because “it’s a never-ending battle to get funding.”

“We survive through funding — from wherever you can get it,” Baskett said. “We are going to hopefully have some items for auction, and I will have my wishing well out there from the Oasis for people that wish to donate. We are going to make it a fun event so that everybody can enjoy it — that would be enough for me.”

When asked what the Oasis will look like without Baskett’s leadership, he replied, “It was flourishing before me, and I foresee it flourishing after me. There will be new people with new ideas who make some new changes. To get some people in here that can be qualified and be brought up to qualifications to work with these children, these babies — that’s the most important thing.”

Baskett, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2011, said he has been cancer-free since 2013 and is in good health.

“The heavenly father has taken care of me,” Baskett said.

But after more than 50 years of service in the United States Air Force and Oasis “it’s about time” for him to retire for good.

“I need time with my family — my grandkids are growing up very fast,” Baskett said. “There are things we want to do with our family. Me and my wife travel. It’s a lot of things.”

“Now we can open this place up to new ideas, new blood,” Baskett concluded.

The fundraiser includes a barbecue dinner, karaoke, and a silent auction for $50 a seat or $380 for a table for eight.

Tickets are available at the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce.

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(c)2015 the Clovis News Journal (Clovis, N.M.)

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