Chris Lambert enrolled in East Central University knowing that the university would be a stepping stone to bigger things. Little did he know, ECU would lay the foundation for his future.
Growing up in Pauls Valley, Lambert intended to take classes for a medical technologies degree at ECU before transferring to the University of Oklahoma. That timeline quickly changed when he decided to join the Army Reserve after his freshman year.
“I took my time getting my degree. I took off a semester to take my officer basic course and another couple of weeks to go to Germany courtesy of Uncle Sam,” he said. “You have to grab those opportunities as they come along and the flexibility available at ECU allowed me to do that.”
Upon returning to ECU, Lambert got involved in the ROTC program where he was commissioned as a second lieutenant his junior year in 1986.
Lambert worked in a variety of industries after graduating from ECU with a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in military science. He worked at newspapers in Pauls Valley and in Bethany, in roles ranging from reporter to editor. He then went on to work at the Oklahoma Department of Human Services creating employee and leadership training curriculum for supervisors and executives. Today, Lambert serves as the director of Meals on Wheels OKC where he oversees partnerships, volunteers, and donations at St. Luke’s Methodist Church.
“There’s very little of what I studied in college that’s applicable to what I do every day,” he said. “But looking back, I can see how my education formed a foundation for critical and systemic thinking.”
Lambert credits the history and political science classes he took with Dr. Palmer Boeger and Dr. Lou Watkins, respectively. Dr. Boeger served in World War II and shared first-hand experiences with his classes while Dr. Watkins ensured his classes were always compelling and informative.
“One thing I found with the professors at ECU is that they were all very engaged with their students. It was impossible to show up to class and not learn something.”
While Lambert found what he learned in college fascinating, what resonated with him most was the importance of showing respect.
At any one time, Meals on Wheels OKC serves over 1,000 people hot meals, a number that has doubled since 2020 and made the organization the number one provider of home delivery meals in Oklahoma County. There’s no way to succeed if respect is not given, Lambert said.
“Respect has been a common theme throughout my career, from college until now,” he said. “We all have our unique personalities, and we are all here to work together to help feed people. We have a great deal of respect for our partners and the people we serve.”