Late Mark Costello honored with Defender of Liberty award

Elected officials are not eligible for Defenders of Liberty awards but a unanimous exception was made Saturday for the late Mark Costello, Oklahoma labor commission.

His widow, Cathy Costello, spoke at the Defenders of Liberty Grassroots Activism Awards banquet and accepted the award for her late husband. Her emotional speech described the fateful night that he was stabbed to death and his Christian faith. Their mentally ill son has been charged in connection with his murder.

The grassroots organization decided to rename the Samuel Adams Statesman of the Year Award ā€“ the top award given ā€“ as the Mark Costello Award.

Fourteen awards were handed out with 37 nominees. Those honorees were:

Martin Luther King, Jr. Award

Norma Sapp

Thomas Jefferson Award

Steve Byas (publisher of the Oklahoma Constitution newspaper)

Lysander Spooner Award

Tracey Montgomery

Dolly Madison Award

Diane Engel

Paul Revere Award

Morgan Dunsmore

Benjamin Franklin Award

Charlotte Harer

Murray Rothbard Award

Larry Williamson

Thomas Paine Award

Kenny Bob Tapp

Patrick Henry Award

Ron Cross

George and Martha Washington Award

Paul and Molly Wehrenberg

Barry Goldwater Award

David Brooke

James Madison Award

Gary Lanham

Frederick Douglas Outstanding Achievement Award

OK2A

Samuel Adams Statesman of the Year Award

Mark Costello

The sponsors of the annual banquet were:

Tulsa 912 Project; Friends of Jim Bridenstine; New Valley Forge Partners, LLC; Holly Gerard; Sen. Kyle Loveless; Americans for Prosperity; Scott and Debbie McEachin; Heritage Action; Elaine Leone; Rep. Jon Echols; Sen. Anthony Sykes; Tulsa County Assessor Ken Yazel; and KFAQ radio (1170AM).

The Defenders of Liberty Board members are Samantha Jones, president; Ronda Vuillemont-Smith, vice president; Elaine Leone, secretary; Jenna Vuillemont, treasurer; T.C. Ryan; Marlene Lynch and Kaye Beach.

For more information, go to www.defendersoflibertyok.com.