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'If you can help somebody, I think you should' | Tulsa doctor's mission honored

Positively Oklahoma Dr. Jeff Long
Posted at 1:54 PM, Jun 07, 2024

TULSA, Okla. —  The Lions Club named Tulsa Optometrist Dr. Jeff Long its 2024 Oklahoma Humanitarian of the Year.

"I think it's important to do something nice every day for someone else. If you can help somebody, I think we should," said Dr. Jeff Long.

Long is an optometrist and a dad who traveled the world with his sons, Blake and Colby, on mission trips. Blake said, "We talked many times about how amazing it is to see people get the gift of sight for the first time."

Through that global outreach, "Doc" Long, as he's called, gained a US Patent for a process providing new prescription glasses without the need for electricity.

"We could then leave the frames with the church or organization down there, so if someone breaks the frame, they can pop the lens out, put them in a new frame, snap them in, and keep wearing them," said Dr. Long.

Doc's mission of helping others is also at work inside his Tulsa family businesses.

Just ask Juan Delgaza, whose trip to Dr. Jeff Long's Children and Family Eye Care couldn't come soon enough.

"I have a pair of glasses that have been broken for about a year, and they just get broken more and more. I've been gluing and taping them, but thanks to this program, I'll be able to get a pair quickly," said Juan Delgaza.

Delgaza is one of many served by SPECS Missions.

"SPECS is an acronym for Servants Providing Eye Care Services," said Dr. Long.

When Dr. Long and his sons opened their business, they started SPECS Missions, a non-profit.

Each weekday, they offer a free eye exam and a pair of glasses. "The really special ones are some of the parents who are unable to work. They're unable to go to their child's sporting event and see them, and they just tear up, it's special," said Dr. Long.

Colby, who also serves as the office manager, said, "We help about 500 people per year. We've been open for 12 years and have done it since day one, so there are a few thousand in our local community that we've been able to help and serve."

Referrals come from agencies like Youth Services of Tulsa and Good Samaritan, but anyone can apply. "We all fall on hard times, and if you know of somebody who could benefit but may not have the money to afford an exam and a pair of glasses, just go to our website," said Blake.

A portion of every eye exam and glasses sold through Dr. Long's businesses goes to the SPECS program, but for anyone wanting to give extra support to the non-profit, Dr. Long has created his own line of glasses and sunglasses.

Colby said, "This is awesome because it really allows us to focus that profit back into the SPECS program."

Dr. Long's commitment to vision was recently honored by Lions International, which awarded him the Oklahoma Lion's Individual Humanitarian Service Award.

"150 different people are looked at for that award, and this year, he was chosen. I think it's really cool to see that other people recognize what we recognize, his care for the community and his heart to help people," said Blake.

 Delgaza is grateful for Dr. Long and SPECS Missions. Now that he's picked out his new glasses, he's looking forward to story time with his children and a better future.

"I know I am one of the most thankful for it, and I just hope they can keep the program going for as long as possible because it did help me, and I know it's going to help many other people."

 Dr. Long has two Tulsa locations and aims to offer a free exam and a pair of glasses daily at each.

 You can learn more about Dr. Jeff Long and SPECS Missions here:

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