Sunday, February 23, 2014

Shawnee, Oklahoma

The 2014 Shawnee Chamber of Commerce Banquet was held last week.  As the incoming chair of the chamber, I was asked to make a few remarks at the end of the evening about our goals for the coming year.  Following are my comments:

Over five years ago my wife and I moved with three of our four sons to Shawnee.  My work at OBU brought us here but I can honestly say that we are proud to call Shawnee home. That extends to the one son who didn’t move here with us. He was serving in the U. S. Navy at the time.  When he became plane captain (crew chief in the other services) his name and hometown was painted on the E2C Hawkeye to which he was assigned along with the pilot and crew. 

Though he’d never lived here, Joshua chose to list his hometown as Shawnee, Oklahoma. So for the years he served on board the U.S.S. Harry Truman, “Shawnee, Oklahoma” was emblazoned on a plane that guarded our freedoms including nearly a year soaring over the Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf supporting efforts in the war in Afghanistan as well as other assignments in that part of the world. Five years later, upon completion of his military service, my son and his family moved here to make Shawnee home.

As relatively new citizens here, let me say how blessed we are to live in a city of so much potential and particularly with such wonderful people. I have often described OBU as the best kept secret in higher education. I believe too that Shawnee is Oklahoma’s best kept secret. We need to share our story so that the secret gets out. 

We have much for which to be proud and a bright future if we can lock arms as community leaders, city officials, chamber members, and tribal leaders.  To move forward as a city we must--all of us--join hands in cooperation and work. Together.

Toward this end, our chamber will work on the ongoing projects and priorities outlined in our strategic plan with a particular focus on three areas.  First, we will continue our focus on education, particularly supporting our community’s efforts toward getting a new high school. Second, we will conduct a major chamber membership drive.  And third, we will dedicate ourselves to celebrating Shawnee and our business community, and work hard at promoting cooperation and getting the secret out about how wonderful this city really is.  

May God bless Shawnee.