Okie from Muskogee: Martindale a true success story
Angela Martindale says her mission in life is to help others pursue their dreams, regardless of difficult circumstances or statistics. Martindale has had a winding, atypical journey. Over the course of more than two decades, she went from being a homeless, high school drop-out to receiving her doctorate degree earlier this year.
Martindale found herself abandoned in an unfamiliar bar at the age of 12. By age 16, she was homeless in Florida. By age 22, she was ready to commit suicide.
Martindale almost committed suicide in her car. Moments the attempt, she heard the audible voice of God, which encouraged her to fight to make a life for herself.
She received her GED and in 1998, out of a need to provide for herself, she began working as a nursing assistant at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center and attended Connors State College. One of her co-workers who was on the University of Tulsa Board of Education encouraged her to pursue higher education by attending nursing school at the University of Tulsa.
“I’m like, yeah right, people like me don’t go to University of Tulsa,” Martindale said.
After further encouragement from then-director of nursing, she improved a few of her grades from Connors, applied and was accepted to University of Tulsa’s nursing program. She graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing in 2009, a Master of Nursing from University of Phoenix in 2012 and a Doctorate of Nursing in May 2018.
“I really can’t believe it,” Martindale said. “Because somebody like me and my background, I’m not supposed to do that (get a doctorate). But here I am. I did it.”
Today, she teaches Community and Public Health at TU, mentors nursing students through her company, Nurse Nicely, and volunteers in her community.
I did it, now you can, too
Angela Martindale received the Spirit of Excellence award at the 2018 Women in Leadership Awards. She said she was shocked when it was announced at Muskogee’s 2018 Women’s Leadership Conference.
Martindale paved a life for herself from being homeless at 16 to receiving her doctorate in nursing earlier this year. What began as a need to provide for herself and survive became a passion for helping others, she said.
She said while in nursing school she learned from amazing teachers at the University of Tulsa and wanted to “grow up to be like them.”
“It went right along with some of my mission about helping other people – help them pursue their dreams and then be that teacher that wants to help,” Martindale said.
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She said she wants to show others that “if you set your heart and mind to something and you have support systems around you, you can achieve your dream even when everyone else is against you.”
Martindale is writing a book about her life story to share her experiences and show others they can overcome any obstacle.
Finding home in Muskogee
Although she was born in Indiana, lived in Tulsa, Claremore, Iowa and Florida, Martindale calls Muskogee her home. After years of her and her husband, Thomas Martindale, working in Muskogee and living in surrounding areas, the couple bought a house in Honor Heights in 2010.
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Initially, she didn’t want to live in Muskogee, Martindale said. Now, she said she and her husband have built a life for themselves here. They are raising her grand-nephew, Elijah, who will be 5 years old next month. When she has extra time she tends to her vegetable garden in her backyard. She said she loves fresh and homegrown produce.
“I’m gonna stay in Muskogee because it’s like family now,” Martindale said. “I love it and I’m not going anywhere. It really is a special place.”
Martindale dug roots in Muskogee through volunteering her time with Bridges Out of Poverty where she mentors graduates interested in the health care field. She also is involved in Region Three Nursing Association and is the Region Three representative to the state board. She is an active member in her church, Timothy Baptist, and has developed deep friendships there.
Starting her nursing company
In 2015, Martindale founded Nurse Nicely, a professional tutoring company for nursing students.
She said she wanted “to help other people get ahead or pursue a dream they want to pursue,” like others helped her.
One of her favorite quotes is by Audrey Hepburn: “God gave us two hands – one to help ourselves and one to help others.”
“Now I want to see other people do it, because If I could do it, you could do it,” Martindale said. “Let me show you some of the steps to help you get there. That’s the most beneficial to me to see other people get it, get what they want.”
She said she has helped students study for their nursing boards, as well as students in nursing school learn new strategies for studying. She tutors in Tulsa as well as Muskogee and will meet with students wherever they feel comfortable studying.
HOW DID YOU COME TO BE AN OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE?
“In 2010, we moved here, bought a house in Honor Heights and became part of the community and the church, and this became home.”
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT MUSKOGEE?
“The people and that it’s a big enough town to have all the things that you like and need, but small enough to affect change.”
WHAT WOULD MAKE MUSKOGEE A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE?
“More higher paying jobs.”
WHAT PERSON IN MUSKOGEE DO YOU ADMIRE MOST?
“More than one – Gwen Coburn, Joy Sloan, Sharon Ray, Kelly and Joy Payne, Ann Ong and Treasure McKenzie.”
WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE THING TO HAPPEN TO YOU IN MUSKOGEE?
“When we first moved here we were eating breakfast at Speedway (Grille), and our banker and pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church, Daniel Miller, comes by and takes our ticket and pays for (it). I just felt like if that happens, if the banker and pastor buys us breakfast – this has gotta be a pretty cool town. They don’t do that in Tulsa. So I just felt like wow, this is gonna be great. And he definitely has made me have a lot more faith in the community.”
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
“I like to travel as much as possible. I like to go new places and learn new cultures. (We have) a garden out there that we’ve been working on. The 4-year-old takes up some spare time.”
HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP MUSKOGEE IN 25 WORDS OR LESS?
“Muskogee is a great place to live and raise children and be involved in the community (and) affect change. It’s a great place. I like to call it home.”