Althea Jannette "Jan" (McNeal) Dickerson

Althea Jannette “Jan” (McNeal) Dickerson

Class of 1967

The part of Jan McNeal Dickerson’s life that means the most to her is volunteering. She had some special mentors in her early life who helped her through some difficult times. As time went on, God placed in her heart a need to give back and help others. She has done so through the American Therapeutic Riding Center (ATRC) in Sand Springs.

Jan noticed a sign seeking volunteers at the center and signed up. Her horse, a Paso Fino, had died shortly before, and she saw an opportunity to be around horses and to help with therapy for disabled people or those with emotional challenges.

She volunteered at the center for 10 years and said, “I have witnessed miracles happen for these very special riders.”

At the center, children and adults gain coordination, focus, and strength by performing tasks and games on horseback. A trained volunteer side walker helps them.

The center’s director, Denise Ward, wrote that Jan’s “love and compassion to help those in need and her love for animals is reflected in her attitude, hard work, and determination to make a difference.”

Jan has volunteered at other organizations as well, such as the Contact Crisis Suicide Helpline and her church. She also worked at the Hertz Data Center and Aetna Insurance. Jan, who was active in chorus at Perry High, is the daughter of Jasper and Ione McNeal, and her brother is Mark McNeal of Perry. Her husband is Keith Dickerson, and her son is Jody Friend.

Jan attended Oklahoma City Southwestern College and Rose State College and was on the President’s Honor Roll at both colleges.