Ashley Fuhr -- 100 Alumni You Should Know

Ashley Fuhr at an airport

Everyone knows (or is) that person who can’t park the car in the garage because of all the stuff that is stored there, but there’s a USAO alum who parks the car outside because she has 50,000-plus Christmas cards stored in there. Ashley (Hyde) Fuhr has a really great reason for those cards.

Fuhr is the founder of The Art of Encouragement (TAOE), a non-profit organization that helps brighten the holidays of military veterans bound to hospitals and nursing homes. After 10 seasons, her organization has sent tens-of-thousands of Christmas cards to VA hospitals and nursing homes across the country.

During the 2016 season, TAOE sent more than 20,000 cards to facilities in all 50 states. “USAO has been so wonderful in rallying behind me and continuing to help sign cards. We are approaching our 10th Christmas and growth continues to surprise me every day,” Fuhr said.

“We originally began by sending Christmas cards to veterans that were in VA hospitals and state VA nursing homes during the holiday season. I saw a need for the tens of thousands of veterans who have fought in the past. Many of them are alone, without or far from their families, and have no reason to truly celebrate the holiday. Unfortunately, they are often forgotten or overlooked. I wanted to start a unique organization that ensured the recognition of all of our nation’s veterans.”

Fuhr is a 2009 USAO graduate and received her degree in psychology. She went on to earn a Master’s in psychology from the University of Central Oklahoma. She works as an administrative assistant to Adult Education at Crossings Community Church in Oklahoma City and serves as a research assistant to the executive pastor. In addition to TAOE and her work with the church, Fuhr participates in Susan G. Komen three-day walks.

“In both my career and personal life, I have worked for organizations that help to further help the lives of others. Professionally, I have worked in a variety of Christian organizations. While working for the Christian Business Men’s Connection of Oklahoma City, I organized one of the largest Metro Prayer Breakfasts in the country for a number of years. It was satisfying to put together such a monumental event in our state that gathered so many prominent leaders to focus on prayer and peace in our city, state, and nation,” Fuhr said.

“As a military brat, I was no stranger to different cultures or points of view, but the way in which USAO crafted my education helped formed my mind into that of a deep thinker.

“I cherish the professors and staff who were willing to pour into me and make me a better person, not just for the sake of doing their jobs, but because they cared about what I went out into the world to do. They moulded who I already was instead of trying to change me. They knew I was equipped with a certain set of gifts, and while they did stretch me, they sharpened those gifts so that I could go and change the world in my own way,” Fuhr said.

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