bmonthly May 2024

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May 2024
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4 bmonthly | MAY 2024 WHAT’S INSIDE what’s inside... 5 Upfront 8 Profile: Craig Flowers 12 Feature: D-Day All is Fair in Lies and WWII 22 Feature Sponsor Story: Around Town With Edgar Weston 24 Kids Calendar 26 Chick-fil-A Events Calendar 30 Now You Know: Peter Wayne Perrier 33 Looking Back: BCC: Then and Now Providing Cultural and Educational Opportunities 3 4 Out & About: Photos From Around Town 37 Business Spotlight: Wild River Boutique 39 Tribute: He’s a Good God Rembering Billie Roane 40 Funny You Should Ask: Don’t Blame Me 47 On the Road: Calling on The Man in Black 51 Everyday Adventures: The Amazine Race 53 A Good Word: Tribute to a Selfless Mother 57 Education: Swing Fore Students 62 God’s Grace: The Gift of Grace 65 The Arts: An Art Experience 67 A Fresh Perspective: The Gift of True North 69 Local Sports: Super Spring on the Horizon 7 1 Community: Skate and Create 73 Local Business: Art in Bloom 74 Let Freedom Ring: The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier MAY 2024 12 8 30 22 33 34 39 37 47 53 40 51 62 57 67 74 65 73 69 71


Welcome to May friends! This is the time of year where everything under the sun is blooming, and it is one of the prettiest times of the year.

Every May we try to focus on Memorial Day and remember the men and women who sacrificed for our country. One of the stories I’ve really wanted in the magazine is about D-Day. Most of us know the story. However, I wanted to feature some local men who fought on that June day and helped change the course of the war. They kept the United States free.

It was a moment like no other and was planned for 2 years. Actually D-Day was supposed to be on June 5th. The weather was not helping the allied troops, so they moved D-Day to June 6th, 1944. Over 150,000 men from the United States, Great Britain, and Canada attacked first from the air and then the sea. Over 156,000 men stormed the beaches that day up and down the coast of France. There were over 4000 dead allied troops that day. Just on Omaha Beach alone the Americans lost over 2000 men…really not men but 18, 19, 20 year olds giving their lives for this country. We need not ever to forget that. What those young boys did that day is heroic! I had Debbie Neece write this story and like she always does, she hit it out of the park. I hope you take the time this June 6th and this Memorial Day to remember what so many young men did to keep us free.

We are excited to have Gracefest on the Green 2024 back at Unity Square on May 11th featuring Christian hitmaker Jordan St. Cyr. All proceeds will help B the Light Mission and our continuing efforts to help our homeless community. Please come out for a FREE concert! We will have 5 food trucks and games for the kids. The event starts at 6:00pm. I promise you it will be so good you’ll want to

bring the whole family out.

In this issue, I write about my kids but mostly our youngest daughter Grace, who will be graduating high school in about 3 weeks. This is a tough one for me because she is the last. She is the baby and she is ours. We never had to share Grace like we did our other kids. As I explain in the story, she was a gift from God to not only save our marriage but also save my life from addiction. The addiction had taken over everything, and I was at the brink of death and about to lose everything and everyone who I held dear in my life. God knew way before Grace was conceived that this child was going to be the anchor of this family. She would bring our family together as one…and she did. Grace and I were best friends when she was younger, and we did everything together. She has been all over the country following her siblings and working with us at bmonthly. I taught her how to drive and the sport of basketball, which now she will continue playing at college. Christy and I are so proud of her for the hard work and determination she’s shown to make her dream of playing college basketball a reality. I literally looked up this year and she was grown and a senior. I just keep shaking my head saying is this real? You blink and they’re grown up. Cherish each moment with your kids because one day you will wake up and they’re not there in their room. Grace, I love you for the little girl you once were, for the amazing young lady you are today, and for the precious daughter you will always be. You have given us so many reasons to be proud of the young woman you have become, but the proudest moment for me to tell others is that you are my daughter. I love you!

Volume XV Issue V Bartlesville Monthly Magazine is published by ENGEL PUBLISHING

Offices located in Downtown Bartlesville in the historic Price Tower

510 Dewey Ave, Suite 400, Bartlesville, OK 74003 P.O. Box 603, Bartlesville, OK 74005

Publisher Brian Engel


Copper Cup Images

Director of Sales & Marketing Keith McPhail

Community Liaison

Christy McPhail

Project Manager Andrea Whitchurch

Administration Shelley Greene Stewart

Delivery and Distribution

Tim Hudson Calendar/Social Media

Contributing Writers

Debbie Neece, Kay Little, Kelly Hurd Aaron Kirkpatrick, Jay Hastings, Steven Griffith Brent Taylor, Keith McPhail Jay Webster, Joe Todd Lori Just, Emma Cohea, Sandy Whitson Quinn Schipper, Mike Tupa, Tim Hudson Champagne Kane

Contributing Photographers

Bartlesville Area History Museum, The Prairie Cowgirl Photography., Becky Burch

Kids Calendar

Jessica Smith All Rights Reserved. No


Remembering D-Day, and the role some of our local soldiers played in the campaign.

Creative concept by Keith and Christy McPhail

God bless!

Design by Engel Publishing

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be reproduced, copied or otherwise, without
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Publisher & Editor
bmonthly Managing Editors Keith and Christy McPhail with young Grace.
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Craig Flowers

He Believes in “Service to a Cause”

It was 1988 and a young, naive 23-year-old Craig Flowers was driving into Bartlesville to convince Denzil and Barbara Garrison he was worthy of marrying their daughter, Beth, and his intentions were sincere and authentic. Thankfully, he said, they believed him.

Craig had been stationed in Hawaii in the late 80s when his commander mentioned he had a sister flying out to visit and thought they’d hit it off. Craig and “Miss Beth” did connect and spent several weeks falling in love before she returned home to Oklahoma. He had promised to write and stay in touch.

“I almost blew it,” he confessed. “I waited too long to follow up when she returned to Bartlesville. Thankfully, I was able to save the relationship by writing three letters a day every day for six months. I also sold my baseball collection (including a Nolan Ryan rookie card) to fly her out to see me so I could convince her I was who she needed to marry.”

And with his trip to Bartlesville to seek permission, he also fell in love with the town. Craig and Beth were married in 1989 inside the Frank Phillips mansion by the fireplace. Denzil was a member of the Oklahoma Historical Society at the time and had put in a request that was granted.

“I think we were the first couple to be married inside,” said Craig. “We had our reception over at The Center and had a receiving line of about 500 people deep. I stood so long I nearly passed out.”

He joked they were mostly all there to see the bride and only a handful were there for him. Besides, he knew he was marrying a local celebrity as “Miss Beth” was known in the theater circles and had students she taught at her school “Backstage with Miss Beth” theatre. Many of her students are still around and have gone on to be very successful. One of her students, John Gorman, was their DJ at the reception.

He continued with 25+ years in the military encompassing a decade overseas, including three years in The Kingdom of Morocco as a diplomat, military attaché and working in a field that directly supported elite operators across all branches. His final military assignment was at West Point where he taught and served as a Director and Assistant Baseball Coach for the Army West Point Black Knights.

“I think I am required by law to tell you we swept Navy 4-0”, he winked, then he added, “the army has a unique way of discovering folks that are fit for unique jobs.”

Initially, he had no intention on a military career. His goal was to work/act in radio/TV/film and comedy. The military offered

him a way to pay for part of his school. Craig attended Texas Christian University earning a degree in economics while playing baseball for the Horned Frogs. He holds a M.A. from Kansas University and is fluent in French. He trained, specialized and operated in the field of Military Intelligence.

“Many folks think if you served in our armed forces, for any length of time, you are a very specific type of person,” he reflected. “I have found many times people make assumptions about what they think I may be like only later to discover actually - I am a very different than they may have guessed. I don’t fit the conventional mold, never have. I was honored to serve; the military was just one chapter of our lives together and many chapters remain. It was an honor to serve our nation (and to beat Navy) while following the footsteps of my father and fatherin-law.”

When their three daughters, Kathleen, Annie and Julia, reached high school years, Craig and Beth had the opportunity to remain on active duty, they decided together that in order for their daughters to attend one high school it was time to end their military service and move to Austin, TX where they stayed from 2012-2021.

“I attended three different junior highs and high schools (in Germany, Arkansas and New York),” he shared. “I didn’t care much for that. I’m a fourth generation native Texan and always told our girls you are Texans and part Bartian. One of the first places we went to was Johnson City, TX to see the cemetery where Oma and Opa (great grandparents) and all our Texas ancestors are laid to rest. My lineage is from Germany. My great grandparents came over in the late 1800s and opened liquor stores near Fredericksburg, TX.”

Part of his promise to Denzil when asking his permission was he’d always bring back his daughter to Bartlesville after taking her abroad. He did good on the vow further when they moved back to town three years ago so Beth could be closer to her mother. He emotionally reflected on that during the move and drive up here.

“I felt a connection to Bartlesville from the moment I arrived,” he said. “I knew we’d always live here one day. It’s full

8 bmonthly | MAY 2024 PROFILE

of wonderful people and history. Once our girls were grown, and even though they live nearby in Houston and Austin, we were spending a lot time driving up to visit her mom. We made the joint decision that now is a good time for Beth to be near her mom as much as she can.”

Craig shared that wherever they were stationed, his wife always found a way to work either in a job or volunteer primarily in the field of theater or event planning.

“She made her mark in the area of fine arts in theater and music,” he said. “When the time is right, she will be connected here again. I’d love to see her direct a big event here in Bartlesville.”

Craig could be heard on 104.9 FM ‘The Horn’ as a guest co-host for the “B&E Show,” Austin’s most listened to sports talk radio show with about 40,000 listeners. He had his own show “The High Ground” for nearly seven years. He continued his show from his home-studio in Bartlesville for two years.

“It fascinated me that I could broadcast live and be transmitted on the Austin Radio Network from Bville,” he said. “The radio station in Austin was recently sold, and I felt my seven-year run was a pretty good time to end the show.”

He said after letting that go, many of his listeners reached out to share how much they enjoyed his ‘morning story’ segment and compared him to the infamous “The Rest of the Story” broadcaster.

“Being called the Paul Harvey of the Texas Hill Country is one of the greatest compliments I ever received,” he beamed.

Craig is also the founder of The Sideline Leadership CO. His corporate clients include The Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association, Dell Inc., The Lemoine Company, State Farm Insurance, Sportsman’s Finest, Sealed Air Corporation, HUB Insurance, BXS Leadership University, Cadence Bank and Gallagher Insurance. His message centers around “How the Most Elite Teams in the World Behave in order to Win.”

As a keynote speaker, leader development coach and emcee, he incorporates humor while sharing anecdotes from experiences in the army, the outdoors, raising daughters and 30+ years of marriage while serving alongside our nation’s most elite leaders in sports and industry.

Since moving here, he’s had the privilege to sit on the Sports Commission Committee and incorporate his leadership and character development with Chuck McCauley and Bartlesville Public School leadership, teachers and students.

“I’ve also attended a City Council meeting to learn the rhythms and routines of the body of leadership in Bartlesville,” he added. “It’s been interesting.”

He believes leadership, in its simplest of forms, is “service to a cause.”

“We essentially have about six causes in which we have the opportunity to lead or serve: our faith, family, friends, community, teams (in which we work and play) and ourselves,” he explained. “I hope to bring an element of service and leadership to the community of Bartlesville while we are here.”

He also sits on the advisory board of Gateway Bank and has been privileged to sit on and learn about banking while growing a network to help acquire talent. And he also sits on the Hillcrest

Country Club board.

Craig loves to share anecdotes about his connections in Bartlesville. He is pleased about being a matchmaker by setting up his green beret friend, John Donoghue, with one of his wife’s best friends Kathleen (Kane), on a blind date that has resulted in a marriage going nearly 30 years strong.

He became acquaintances with Toby Keith when he was at West Point. Part of his job as director of ‘student/cadet affairs’ was booking big shows like Keith, Trace Adkins, Jerry Seinfeld, Kenny Rogers, Dave Mathews and Randy Travis at the Eisenhower Hall Theater. Not too long ago, Craig, his friend John and former Texas Ranger MLB player Jeff Frye were at Remington Park in OKC and found themselves invited to Keith’s suite. It was just them and Toby. Keith invited them all to his last three December shows in Vegas.

“I can recall John and I discussing how neat it would be to go and be a part of it,” he said. “We didn’t go, and we often reflect that we should have. Toby Keith is just one of many great Oklahomans we’ve gotten to know ever since I’ve started coming to Bartlesville.”

During the filming of Killers of the Flower Moon, he reunited with Billy Dowd, the movie’s casting director, over some beverages at Cooper & Mill. Craig and Billy had previously worked together in an official capacity in North Africa on another movie. When Craig was living in Morocco as a diplomat, he worked with Billy on filming of Black Hawk Down, the first film ever made overseas using activeduty soldiers and US Aircraft.

“It was fun to discuss all the experiences again working on that movie and to now see how they transformed Pawhuska to the 1920s,” he recalled.

Craig and Beth (along with John and Kathleen Donoghue) had a horse that ran in the 2023 Kentucky Derby.

“It was pretty remarkable,” he recalled. “Going into the first curve, our thoroughbred, Confidence Game, was in the lead. We had several friends from Bartlesville that flew in for the race at Churchill Downs. We’ve now gone in together on more horses and have made it a goal to win a Kentucky Derby one day.”

For hobbies, Craig says he likes to golf and fish. He joked that he believes he can do two things well – catch big fish and find great parking.

“It’s kind of a joke in our family and with friends about great parking,” he chuckled. “A parking lot can be full of cars, but for some reason when we pull in, a parking spot opens up right up front.”

And in case you wondered how “watch your step” ended up on the t-shirts at Dinks BBQ, you can now know. On military leave in 1998, Craig and Beth were in Bartlesville. He ate at Dinks nearly every day.

“I noticed they always said and to this day say, ‘watch your step’ as one enters the main dining area; I loved hearing it,” he said. “I asked for the manager and Jesse Hernandez came out. I mentioned to Jesse, ‘I’ve eaten here every day for 10 days straight. And part of eating here is the experience of hearing “watch your step,” it’s like words to a familiar song. If you put that phrase on your t-shirts, you’ll sell a lot of shirts.’ A year later, in 1999, I returned to Bartlesville for the birth of our youngest daughter, Julia. I went to Dinks and Jesse recognized me. He said ‘t-shirt sales are through the roof! What size do you wear?’ And now you know, ‘the rest of the story.’

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All is Fair In Lies and WWII


World War I left a scabbed wound upon the European infrastructure and economy, and the devastation plummeted morale. Tensions were high and “poking a bear” could have easily erupted bitter resentment into a volatile situation. Hitler took complete control of Germany between 1933-1934 and slowly expanded his dictatorship across the area until the invasion of Poland in September 1939, in spite of a threat from Britain and France that an invasion of Poland would result in war and it did…beginning World War II.


Europe was a hot bed of conflict. Countries were at each other’s throats placing trade embargos and sanctions. Japan invaded China in 1937. Germany attacked the Soviet Union June 1941. Then…Pearl Harbor was attacked December 7, 1941 by the Imperial Japanese Navy; killing 2,403 Americans and wounding 1,178; destroying 188 aircraft and 18 ships – including five battleships. Caught off guard, sheer panic and confusion consumed Pearl Harbor. That hostile event was a major poking of a neutral bear, leading the United States to join the Allies,

entering World War II the following day with the full force of American tenacity. BIG MISTAKE Japan!

Let the strategic planning begin. President Franklin D. Roosevelt called the Pearl Harbor attack “a date that will live in infamy” and declared war upon Japan. Germany, Italy and Japan were in an alliance known as “Axis,” and on December 11, 1941 Germany and Italy joined Japan, formally declaring war upon the United States. Since the U.S. was a melting pot of nationalities, unconstitutional restrictions and curfews were heaved upon foreign born but legal American citizens, increasing at-home tensions.

General Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower was FDR’s trusted U.S. Army Commander in Europe and Eisenhower was selected to lead the forces in Operation Torch in Africa, followed by invasions of Sicily and Italy. His victories brought high praise from FDR and Great Britian’s Winston Churchill, who selected Eisenhower as the “Supreme Allied Commander of the European Invasion ” called Operation Overlord. Better known to us as the

From the lips of Franklin D. Roosevelt, January 6, 1941, calling for freedom everywhere in the world, to the paint brush of Norman Rockwell who took these words to imagery, “we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms: Freedom of Speech and Expression, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear. To that high concept, there can be no end save victory.” Just over three years later, the United States met that test.


D-Day landings on June 6, 1944, this was the most epic air and amphibious military operation on record. The Normandy Beaches were a German stronghold entrenched pillbox

bunkers along the bluffs overlooking the beaches. The difficult to maneuver terrain was the perfect location for snipers hiding in wait. Eisenhower knew a straight forward assault would be disastrous; he needed a strategic plan.

Have you ever played the Battleship boardgame and found yourself in a strategic game to save your ships from the enemy? When Eisenhower put in effect his plan of lies, deception and strategic manipulation, he gained the attention of the world and set forth the plan to sink Nazi Germany. Two years in design, D-Day was a pre-game of hide and seek with a masterminded element of surprise.

With a trusted meteorologist at his beck and call, Eisenhower carefully monitored weather conditions in search of the calm before the battle. The waters of the five Normandy Beaches (Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword) were heavily protected by mines and embedded “German made railroad iron” obstacles requiring low tide to expose and destroy the underwater dangers.

Eisenhower’s ultimate goal was to “accept nothing less than full victory.” As the first phase of Operation Overlord, he created a massive bed of distraction by eerily dropping fourhundred cloth, cord and brass eyelet dummy parachutists behind German lines in the moonlight of D-Day morning. Inside the parachute pouches, some were fitted with pyrotechnic devices that mimicked the sound of gun fire. And, to add even more confusion, some actual special forces paratroopers were dropped too.

The Allies created General George S. Patton’s First United States Army Group with strategically placed inflatable Sherman


tanks, which were reported by German reconnaissance aircraft as a buildup of Allied forces, believing a convoy of tanks was converging on the area. There was no such army group and the Sherman tanks were full of hot air. This was just a fictitious optical illusion.

In the wee hours, fake landing craft made of wood and canvas were launched into the waters filled with empty barrels as decoys, while thin strips of aluminum were dropped from aircraft over the English Channel to produce blips on radar screens, which gave the illusion of a grander than truth invasion. The airwaves were flooded with fake radio messages leaking false information to the Germans by double agents and spies who were clueless to the deceptive stew they were feeding the

Germans. The Germans believed they were being confronted from all sides and this led them to hold fast to the Pas de Calais region, spreading their troops thinly across a 150-mile area and leaving Normandy Beach vulnerable to the invasion…the Allied Invasion.

As dawn broke over the English Channel, the lives of over 160,000 allied troops were about to change forever. The fall of Nazi Germany depended upon their dedication and fortitude. Allied aircraft and radar jamming equipment created smokescreens that hid the invasion of Normandy, France, as boots hit the ground…

Pennsylvania born Harry Edgar Brown had a youthful obsession with planes. He heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor and joined the Army January 22, 1942 with hopes of serving in the Army Air Corp. However, after his Fort Bragg Basic Training, he was assigned to the 42nd Artillery, 4th Infantry Division. He saw an announcement that the 4th Division was in search of liaison pilots and he applied. With several hundred flying hours under his belt, he was accepted and was sent to England for four-months of invasion training. Given the coordinates and a compass, he quickly found the destination was Normandy Beach. On June 5th, they loaded Harry’s plane on a truck and drove it onto a Landing Strip Tank (LST). They


sailed to Utah Beach the following day and sat two-miles off the beach, where they witnessed the first invasion and the accuracy of the German pillbox gunners. In the afternoon, the loaded trucks left the ship and were driven into a clump of trees where ten Piper Cub planes were assembled right there on Utah Beach and joined the reconnaissance under the cover smoke grenades. Once their duty was complete, Harry sailed into New York Harbor for a 30-day leave and admired the Statue of Liberty. On a train home, he heard the Japanese had surrendered. He applied at Phillips Petroleum in December 1945, was hired and moved to Bartlesville, where he worked as a draftsman and engineer for 37 years. He now rests in Memorial Park Cemetery, forever 101 years young.

Michigan born Richard

“Dick” Freiermuth was employed at Phillips Petroleum Company in Michigan when the military came knocking. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in October 1942 and assigned to Drew Field near Tampa, Florida for radar training. December 1943, he sailed from New York and his unit landed at Omaha Beach on “D-Day plus 3 days” on an army transport watercraft. Bullets were whizzing through the metal and flying past

soldier’s heads. The air was heavy with the smell of gun powder and the fear of death was as thick as pea soup but courage was their only way home. The sea was rough, waves crashed against the hull and there was no way the watercraft could drop the front ramp. The soldiers were instructed to bail out over the side cargo nets, where they were battered against the craft. Dick crashed into the side of the craft over and over as he tried to make his way into the ocean, losing his gun and helmet. Bare of protective equipment, he was defenseless and knew he was about to die. He made his way to the shore, stepping over the dead as he took a helmet and gun from men who no longer needed them for survival. He did survive, returned to the U.S. and his work at Phillips. However, his experiences that day left


him with deep emotional scars that never healed. Some of the war heroes who walk among us carry their emotional wounds and scars in silence; for others, sharing the experiences eases the pain and brings a comfort. For Dick, the nightmarish pain was lifelong.

Oklahoma born Kenneth Beckwith was drafted November 22, 1942. After basic training at Shepherd Fields, TX, he was assigned to the Air Corps with radio and gunnery training. His first flight mission was June 6, D-Day, joining nearly 3,000 other Allied planes, dropping bombs over the Germans at Normandy, returning to base to reload and flying back to repeat the drops. No time for a clear thought. They flew 33 missions from June 6th to August 13th when they were shot down. Beckwith parachuted into an orchard with German soldiers hot on his trail. He was captured with an injured ankle and transported in a hot “standing-room-only” boxcar to a barbed wire encased POW Camp at Wessler, Germany; then to a camp at Stalag Luft IV September 1944 where communication, sanitation, food and water were in grim supply. Beckwith left the U.S. weighing 215# and was discharged September 1945, at 150#. He said starvation was real and if it had not been for the Red Cross, he would have starved to death.

Arkansas born John Blue moved to Bartlesville with his family in 1927. Two weeks short of his ninth-

grade graduation, he served two “hitches” with the Civilian Conservation Corps in the Osage Hills of Oklahoma, building rock cabins and roads. Then, he was drafted January 1942. After a whirl-wind of training, he landed at Omaha Beach before the first wave of the invasion, directed to clear the area of obstacles. John Blue was one of the Unsung Heroes of D-Day. Their efforts were valiant, tossing fear aside with the mission forefront, at all cost. This elite group of men have fallen short only in their recognition. The Landing Craft ramp dropped and John fell into the ocean, about to drown, weighted under water by the 80-pounds of explosives on his back, another soldier pulled him to safety as bullets and large artillery flew over their heads. They strapped dynamite to each underwater obstacle and strung primer cord and dynamite caps to blow the obstacles and clear the beach for the Landing Crafts to arrive. He also served at the Battle of the Bulge before heading home with an injured leg, Purple Heart and Bronze Star.


Oklahoma born Louis Bowdre couldn’t find a job during the depression so he enlisted in the army in 1936. Basic training was at Fort Sill where he was told his pay would be $21 per month; but that was before deductions, $1.25 for laundry and twentyfive cents for the old Soldiers Home. At least there was a bed to sleep in, two pairs of shoes, two pairs of pants, two shirts and three decent meals a day. The news reported Japan invaded China and Germany invaded Poland, then Pearl Harbor happened and attitudes at Fort Sill changed overnight. “We wanted to get those guys whipped and get this over with,” he said. Training was intense and February

1943 his ship sailed but several redirections kept his group from Normandy.

Walt Sires was Bartlesville born, Labadie Heights educated and Pruneville raised. His dad worked at the smelters so his family was great friends with the Mnich family and shopped at the Mnich Grocery. Walt was a College High School senior when Pearl Harbor was bombed December 7, 1941. He followed several of his friends to the enlistment office, where Walt tried to join the Navy and Air Force but he was colorblind and rejected. However, his name was the first 19-year-old drawn in the Washington County draft. January 1943, he went to Fort Sill for basic training and left the United States October 8, 1943 for England. After invasion specific training, carrying 80# packs and a rifle in 300-yard sprints, he spent a month and a half in a concentration type camp, secluded with his unit, doing daily calisthenics, while awaiting their trip to Normandy. They loaded onto a Liberty Ship after dark on the 5th and transferring to the Landing Craft was exceptionally dangerous as swells were 15-20 feet high on the English Channel. He shared the trip with some Navy men, two gunners, the pilot and 21 other men; each carrying a rifle, gas mask and 80 pounds of explosive plus a D-Bar of chocolate to eat. The beach was lined with big


telephone poles with anti-tank mines strapped on each pole. Jutting from the ocean floor, railroad steel “Cracker-Jacks” lined the beach and struck the Landing Craft as they neared the shore. The Germans also had barbed wire entanglements along the beach and Walt’s team was required to clear 50 feet of the beach, paving the path for the tanks, artillery and infantry. The machine gun fire and bombers were intense and they lost more than half their outfit the first day. The Omaha beachhead was secure within about two weeks and his group pushed ahead.

According to Walt, “When I went overseas, I don’t know how many boxes Gus Mnich and his wife Nellie sent me. She also sent boxes to my brother. I was discharged October 24, 1945 with 5 battle stars from Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe, 2 Purple Hearts (shrapnel in his back and later his legs during the Battle of the Bulge). When I got home, I called Gus to say I was home because Mom and Dad didn’t have a telephone. Gus made a dead run to our house to tell them I was home. When I got to Bartlesville, the first thing Gus asked me was if I needed any money; then, he made me a great big sandwich out of his Polish Sausage and opened a quart bottle of King Beer and we sat down and ate that sandwich and drank that beer. It was great to be home.” Before the war, Walt had begun working at Phillips Petroleum, September 1941, and once he came home, he returned to Phillips as a drafting engineer.

Ramona born Howard Barnes was “just a kid” when Pearl Harbor was bombed. His family didn’t have a radio so they were clueless about world happenings. Then, a neighbor announced, “The

Japanese have bombed the hell out of Pearl Harbor.” Howard was just 17 years old when he joined the Navy on July 29, 1943. Still just a kid. After basic training, he shipped over the pond to Southampton, England, where he shuttled prisoners and wounded men between England and France for about 6 months. Then, a Chaplain visited and prayed for Howard’s squad and it was time to get serious. They were supposed to go to Normandy on June 5th but the sea was too rough. The morning of June 6th, they set sail and arrived in Normandy about 7:00 a.m., anchoring 2-3 miles off Omaha Beach while the first invasion occurred. Howard’s group made eight trips ashore; on one trip, they picked up a German Depth Charge and hauled it back to England for dissection…to see what made it “tick.” After D-Day, Howard’s group went to North Africa, Italy, Southern France, through the Panama Canal, Pearl Harbor for supplies and to the Philippines. By then, the war was over and he was discharged April 1946, just 21-years-old. He then found employment at REDA that lasted 35 years.

Eisenhower was an exceptional leader and WWII military hero with an astonishing amount of knowledge of strategic planning and backbone. He was prepared to accept sole responsibility for all failures and constantly monitored the number of wounded and casualties, carrying with him the burden of every lost life, while sharing the glory of victory with others.

Beginning in the moonlight of June 6, 1944, the beaches of Normandy, France were stormed like no storm before. By air, sea and land Utah Beach, Omaha Beach, Gold Beach, Juno Beach and Sword Beach were consumed by a full-blown, no-mercy, attack resulting in over 9,000 Allied troops being killed within the first 24-hours of D-Day. The sea churned a foamy red and the sand a crimson sludge as life poured from the warriors who fell short of their earthly fight into heavenly victory. The Battle of Normandy lasted two months, three weeks and three days, leaving in its wake beaches littered with disabled equipment and burials. This service came from a generation of men who


were a force of winning determination, with the fear of defeat but the guts to forge ahead to victory – losing lives along the way but capturing freedom for many more.

According to Joe Todd, Washington County Military Historian and Vietnam Veteran, “of the 5,474 Oklahoma WWII casualties, we lost 197 military heroes from Washington County. Of this number, 123 were returned and buried in Washington County, while others were buried in American cemeteries around the world: France, England, Philippines, Japan, North Africa, Netherlands, Belgium and Italy.”

The last known survivor from the first wave of the invasion was Choctaw Warrior William Norman “Bill” Parker of Oklahoma. On a rope net, he descended into the ocean with canons firing overhead, fearing each breath would be his last. It was reported he walked over 600 miles across Europe and was wounded twice during his days of intense combat. He returned to the United States with two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, World War II Battle of the Bulge Commemorative Metal and debilitating nightmares. He often visited the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, sharing his experiences and visiting the exhibited World War II B-24. In 2022, he mustered the courage to return to Omaha Beach on the 78th Anniversary of D-Day and found solace in children playing and laughing on the beach. He said, “After I saw them, I never had another nightmare, they cured me.” In 2022, Mr. Parker was also awarded the French Legion of Honor Medal. Mr. Parker took his last breath on September 11, 2023,

98-years young.

June 6, 2024 marks the 80th Anniversary of D-Day and Normandy will celebrate LIBERTY. France has not forgotten… from Museums dedicated to discussing this history, documenting the fight to liberate France; to the monuments that commemorate the titanic effort; to the cemeteries where our heroes rest, decorated in floral remembrances…France has not forgotten.

This year, along the Normandy Beaches, visitors will pause in remembrance under a barrage of fireworks, a symbolic throwback to Francis Scott Key’s 1814 Star-Spangled Banner, “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there…” D-Day marked the beginning of the end for the Nazi Germany occupation in Western Europe. The Allied Forces captured the beaches of Normandy and paved the path for the liberation of France through the element of surprise, because all is fair in lies and World War II, so remember…American stands for peace at all cost so don’t poke us, WE ARE THE BEAR!


Around Town with Edgar Weston

Welcome Back…Our next stop on Johnstone is Central Fire Department at 601 S. Johnstone Avenue.

Bartlesville became incorporated January 15, 1897, and the city began to grow at a rapid pace. Most building were constructed of native stone, brick or wood frame with kerosene lamps or gas lights to illuminate the evening darkness. When City fires erupted, a bucket brigade was required to slow the blaze in hopes of containment, but most often the structures were a total loss. The City of Bartlesville authorized the organization of a volunteer fire department and the purchase of equipment in November, 1904, and the extremely proactive Bartlesville Commercial Club had the fire department organized by January.

The first City Hall was constructed on West Second Street in 1904. The building was equipped with a big gas whistle which was used to summon the firefighters to their duties. A series of toots indicated the general location of the fire and by mid-February 1905 an electric fire alarm system was installed to call the firefighters.

The first horse drawn “steamer” fire wagon was purchased for $799 in October 1905 and two horses were purchased to draw the fire wagon. The horses, Buck and Mack, were named for Chief Frank Norton Buck and John McCallister, local undertaker and firefighter.

In January 1910, the City Council selected architect Walton Everman to draw the plans for the combined City Hall and Fire Department building to be constructed at Fourth and Dewey.

The fire department stored their equipment in a wood-slat tarpaper barn just north of that location. Starting in 1911, the fire department occupied the Fourth and Dewey location with wide doors opening onto Fourth Street allowing the fire horses and wagons to get a running start in either direction.

From 1907-1911, the fire department headquartered in a tarpaper barn on Dewey Avenue; then, from 1911-1940, at Fourth Street and Dewey Avenue with Station #2 at Virginia Avenue and Third Street (renamed Frank Phillips Blvd. in 1951). In 1941, the Central Fire Department building was constructed at Sixth and Johnstone and continues to serve at that location. In 2012, a City Bond Issue passed creating funds to update the Central Fire building and construct a new Police Department at the northwest corner of Johnstone Avenue and Adams Blvd., replacing the Arnold Moore Funeral Home.

Earlier fire stations were located at 1103 W. 3rd Street (Virginia Avenue and Third Street), 201 N.W. Oak Park Road, 3931 S.E. Frank Phillips in Pennington Hills, and 4224 S.E. Adams Blvd. (Adams Blvd. at Green Country Road). Now Bartlesville’s fire stations are strategically placed for the best coverage of the city: Central Fire at 601 S. Johnstone Ave.; Station #2 at 100 S. Virginia; Station #3 at 100 S. Madison Blvd. and Station #4 at 3501 Price Road. In addition, our Bartlesville Firefighters offer backup support to Washington County’s rural fire protection supplied by the six volunteer fire departments of Copan, Dewey, Ochelata, Ramona, Vera and Oglesby.

To Be Continued…

22 bmonthly | MAY 2024 FEATURE SPONSOR STORY
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Stray Kat 500

7AM; Downtown Dewey Our shows you will see more then just kool vehicles. We believe the importance of entertaining the whole family. You will hear kool music, see talented artist, Kool antique stores and meet a lot of kool people. The show resumes at 8 a.m. on Sunday.

Sizzlin Summer Series: Swing into Spring 7PM; Tower Center at Unity

Bartlesville Public School last day of class All Day; District-wide Music on the Lawn 6PM; Frank Phillips Home

Bartlesville High School Graduation

7PM; Custer Stadium

4 10 24 16 17 Congratulations Class of 2024!

59th Annual Delaware Pow Wow

6PM; Fall Leaf Family Memorial Friday Gourd Dance at 6 pm, Grand Entry at 8 pm. The evening will include Crowning of the Pricess Allie Rodriguez-White Turkey, Tiny Tots and Juniors contest, Indian Two Step, and more. Stomp Dance following the Pow Wow.

24 bmonthly | MAY 2024
MAY 2024 | bmonthly 25

Sat, May 4

7 AM

Stray Kat 500

Downtown Dewey


Know of an upcoming event you would like to see on our calendar? Visit us at for a free listing!

Our shows you will see more then just kool vehicles. We believe the importance of entertaining the whole family. You will hear kool music, see talented artist, Kool antique stores and meet a lot of kool people. The show resumes at 8 a.m. on Sunday.

9 AM

Heroes Market

Project Tribute

4200 SE Adams Blvd.

Crafted Heroes Collective will be hosting craft shows with a purpose.

Heroes Market May 4th from 9am to 5pm located at 4200 SE Adams Rd in Bartlesville in partnership with The Project Tribute Foundation. Enjoy a fun filled day of crafts, food and jeeps.

11 AM

Cinco De Mayo Party

Remi’s Arcade & Bistro 622 SE Frank Phillips Blvd.

Wed, May 8

10:30 AM

Healthy Cooking Methods with Stacey

Bartlesville Public Library

600 S Johnstone Ave.

Thu, May 9

5:45 PM

Fashion Show Benefitting

Hopestone Cancer Support Center

Moxie on 2nd 118 E 2nd St.

Crafted Heroes Collective will be hosting craft shows with a purpose.

Heroes Market May 4th from 9am to 5pm located at 4200 SE Adams Rd in Bartlesville in partnership with The Project Tribute Foundation.

Fri, May 10

7 PM

Sizzlin Summer Series: Swing into Spring

Unity Square

Sat, May 11

6 PM

GraceFest on the Green Unity Square

300 SE Adams Blvd.

Family Fun, Music, Worship, Food Trucks. Look for details on the bmonthly website and Facebook page.

Thu, May 16

Times Vary

Bartlesville Public School last day of class

6 PM

Music on the Lawn Frank Phillips Home

Fri, May 17

7 PM

Bartlesville High School Graduation Custer Stadium

Fri, May 24

6 PM

59th Annual Delaware Pow Wow Fall Leaf Family Memorial

Friday Gourd Dance at 6 pm, Grand Entry at 8 pm.

May 31

3 PM


Sooner Park

420 SE Madison Blvd.

This years Sunfest will have even more vendors at the market place, and the music, food and youth areas you have come to enjoy in past years. Come out and join us for Oklahoma’s largest backyard picnic. Admission is still free!

26 bmonthly | MAY 2024
Still Open for You Monday - Thursday 8:00am - 5:00pm Friday 8:00am - Noon "Building a Healthy Community One Individual at a Time." Elizabeth Sherrock, MD Ellen L. Conn, APN, APRN-CMP William Davito, DO Amanda Gutierrez, LPC Se Habla Español 918-331-9979 Mark Erhardt, DO Daniel Holdman, MD M. Ryan Vaclaw, MD Saturday 9:00am - Noon EXPERT Heat & Air The Experts you can trust Call today to talk to an Expert 918-440-4450
MAY 2024 | bmonthly 27 Home Decor • Gifts • Apparel 118 E 2nd St • Bartlesville Right next door to the Bartlesville Print Shop Bartlesville’s Premier Magazine delivered monthly to Your Front Door! Just $48 a year Subscribe Today
28 bmonthly | MAY 2024 Feature Sponsor Story - need approval The Only Locally Owned & Operated Security Company in Bartlesville! • Burglar Alarms • Hold-up Alarms • Fire Alarms • Access Control • Temperature, Water, and Power Alarms • Camera Surveillance Systems 24-Hour Service • Local 24-Hour Monitoring • Since 1974 918-337-0600 | 800-375-7233 State Alarm License # OK 0158 33rd Dewey Antique Show Saturday, June 1, 2024 Washington County Fair Building 1109 N Delaware St., Dewey, OK 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets $5 Please contact Leah 918.440.3375 or Gail 918.440.5200 FB page sponsored by Antiques and Collectibles Association, a non-profit organization. Proceeds from ticket sales benefit local non-profit organizations in Washington County and $1500 scholarship to a graduating Washington County High School Senior.

Peter Wayne Perrier - Flying High

The Perrier name is well known throughout northeast Oklahoma in Osage, Washington, Craig and Mayes Counties as early pioneers. Of Osage decent, Peter Nicholas Perrier attended Ochelata public schools before becoming an oilman, auto-mechanic and Ochelata farmer with 640-acres under cultivation. He and his bride, Hester Mae DeWitt, raised six children: Frances Lorraine, Peter Wayne, Ellen Joan, Hurbert Napoleon, Jane and Kathryn Ovene Perrier.

Their son, Peter “Wayne” Perrier attended Ochelata schools and played American Legion Junior baseball for the “Legion Lions” in 1936. He graduated with the Ochelata class of 1938 where he was involved in high school plays, 4-H and lettered as the Ochelata Longhorn football captain and fullback. He spent his senior summer working as a boat driver and dock manager for C.J. Allen’s motorboat concessions at

Mohawk Lake in Tulsa. Then, attended the Oklahoma Military Academy in Claremore where he continued playing football, and lettered during his varsity season, before graduating in 1941.

His father, Peter Nicholas Perrier, served during WWI (1917-1919) and is listed in “The Oklahoma Spirit of ‘17” for his service in England, France, Germany and Belgium; and, his greatgrandfather, Peter Perrier, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Great and Little Osage Nation in 1891, served as a 9th Calvary Kansas Union soldier during the Civil War (1862-1865). Following their footsteps, Wayne enlisted to serve in WWII at Prior in February 1942.

He received his primary training at Coleman, Texas and arrived at San Angelo, TX on May 1 for his basics at Goodfellow Field. Upon training completion, Major W.H. Hansen, commander of Aviation Cadets, announced the appointment of forty-eight Aviation

30 bmonthly | MAY 2024 NOW YOU KNOW

Cadets in class 42-H, highly recognized for their military abilities and leadership qualities. Listed among the Corporals was Wayne Perrier who left July 3 for flight training.

In the blink of an eye, life can turn on a dime. With graduation exercises just days away, Aviation Cadet Peter Wayne Perrier would have received his “wings” on September 5. However, on his final training mission August 20, 1942, something went horribly wrong. Aviation Cadet Vincent Peters sent this letter to his hometown friend Jack Rensik explaining the experience of having his plane stall in mid-air during nighttime maneuvers near Ellington Field, Texas:

Dear Jack, I received your telegram this morning and will try to explain as much as I can. We were flying a routine night formation, and were almost finished. We had been flying about three and onehalf hours and were returning to the field when both engines cut out. We had switched to our reserved tank about 3 or 4 minutes before and could have had about 45 gallons of fuel left. We tried everything we could in the little time we had. The engines cut out at about 1,500 feet, and we stayed with it until 100 feet. Finally, we both decided to leave it due to almost impossible factor of making a forced landing at night in this type of plane. I had no trouble getting the door open on my side and I got down O.K. When they found my flying buddy, his parachute was wrapped around the tail section, which indicated he opened his shoot too soon. I didn’t get a scratch but a little shaky after the whole thing was over. All I have been doing since is meeting accident boards. I got to go over to the parachute department in a few minutes so will have to hurry. It was our last night flying we had to get in. We’re through flying now, just waiting for graduation day. As ever, Bud.

Vincent Peters’ flying companion that fateful night was Peter Wayne Perrier of Disney, Oklahoma, who was instantly killed.

Accompanied by a military escort, Perrier’s remains reached

Bartlesville Saturday morning and were taken to the McCallister Funeral Home. Sunday August 23, 1942 one of the most impressive military funerals ever held in Washington County occurred. A 50car delegation traveled to the funeral service from Disney, then home of the Perriers. The delegation included twenty guards from the Grand River Dam at Grand Lake, all in uniform. The Ochelata High School auditorium was jammed to capacity with family, former school mates and friends, gathered to pay tribute to Oklahoma’s hero who died serving his country. The services were shared by Reverend Boyce and former Ochelata Superintendent N.M. Bradley, who delivered a compassionate and emotional eulogy about his one-time student. The funeral cortege formed outside the school building, led by Deputy Sheriffs Tom Fugate and Tom Sears, with members of the James H. Teel American Legion Post, and the twenty Dam guards following. Over 300 cars made up the procession.

The death of Aviation Cadet Perrier rallied the mourning support of every county in northeast Oklahoma. An astounding number of floral arrangements surrounded Peter “Wayne” Perrier’s flag-draped coffin with entangled ribbons and bows, one ribbon front and center displaying his name…WAYNE…in capital letters. The solemness of the bugle playing taps echoing throughout the Ketchum Cemetery. And, his fellow aviators flying planes overhead in the “missing man” formation, tipping their wings as a salute and final farewell. Gentlemen with hats removed and ladies with hankies in hand, not a dry eye in the crowd. Servicemen at stiff attention, sharply saluting as the American flag was ceremoniously removed from the coffin and folded with precision before being presented to the Perrier family. Your loss is our loss. Our hearts hurt with yours. Then…the deafening silence was broken by the heart stopping rifle volley…three rounds from seven guns…a twenty-one-gun salute for our fallen hero…may he rest in forever peace with his newly acquired wings…flying high.

Did You Know?

Known as the “West Point of the Southwest,” the Claremore’s Oklahoma Military Academy operated from 1919-1971, evolving into the Claremore Junior College. Beginning in 1942, the entire student body of the Claremore’s Oklahoma Military Academy held a “Retreat Parade” in memoriam of former students who were killed in the line of military service; among the honored was Wayne Perrier, class of ‘41, who lost his life preparing for WWII. Bartlesville’s LaQuinta served as a branch of the OMA from 1941-1948.

Now You Know *

MAY 2024 | bmonthly 31 NOW YOU KNOW
32 bmonthly | MAY 2024

BCC: Then and Now

Providing Cultural and Educational Opportunities

During the late 1970’s the community realized a need for a new, more modern arts center and in 1982, the Bartlesville Community Center opened to the public. The prior facility, The Civic Center, did not have adequate space for community events other than stage events.

Bartlesville has always had a reputation as a cultural center. As director Val Callaghan says, “We are the center for arts, events and community.” Hence, the nickname, The Center, was adopted for the 40th anniversary. The official name is still Bartlesville Community Center. Interestingly, the BCC has been called The Center by many people from the beginning.

The mission statement for the BCC that was adopted in the beginning was “The purpose of the Bartlesville Community Center is to provide cultural and educational facilities and activities which will strengthen the culture and economy of the City of Bartlesville.” This mission is still the goal.

When visiting groups perform here, they always come away impressed with our community center. Many of these performers have said that it is one of the finest concert halls in the country, with excellent acoustics.

The auditorium seats 1700 seats, the studio theater 150 and the banquet hall seats 500. There is also a gallery for exhibitions and an outdoor balcony that overlooks Unity Square, for small events. The Center is not just a center for the fine arts; it was designed to be the focal point for arts, humanities, and all community activities.

Approximately 1,000 events are held each year at the BCC. Seven groups in our community that use The Center regularly for cultural events are Bartlesville Choral Society, CMT, Bartlesville Civic Ballet, Bartlesville Symphony Orchestra, Bartlesville Community Concert, OKM and Broadway in Bartlesville!. Visit Bartlesville, our local tourism organization, is now housed in the north end of the building, which is a good fit. Many people visiting our community attend events at The Center and tour the facility.

The Center is in the shadow of Price Tower, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. His son-in-law, Wesley Peters, designed the BCC in the style Wright described as ‘organic’. Peters felt that Bartlesville wanted a place for the whole community to get together to work and

play. It has proven to do that!

According to Val, “The facility is where local arts groups present their programs. We come alongside to support them by providing the auditorium, box office ticketing, ushers during the performances and backstage technical support for rehearsals and productions.”

Education is a big part of the Center also with 2nd graders attending a ballet demo, 4th graders being a part of Missoula and SPOTLITE, and 5th graders through Carnegie Hall Link Up, attend a Bartlesville Symphony concert. All these programs are to make students aware of the different arts programs available in our community, so they can be a part of them.

The four funding sources for The Center are: the endowment that was established in 1982 to help underwrite the operations, a share of the Hotel/Motel tax from the city, Broadway in Bartlesville!, ticket sales and donations. The Broadway in Bartlesville! series is the only series the Center staff presents. The rest of the productions rent the facility.

“The arts have been able to thrive and be sustained”, says former Trust Authority Chairman, Chris Cook. There is always something to see at BCC.

MAY 2024 | bmonthly 33 LOOKING BACK



34 bmonthly | MAY 2024 OUT & ABOUT



MAY 2024 | bmonthly 35 OUT & ABOUT

Wild River Boutique

A Spark of Creativity Amid the Choas of Academia

As a student attending school, I found myself drawn to the world of fashion and entrepreneurship. With a passion for unique styles and a desire to create something of my own, I decided to dip my toes into the world of retail. And so, Wild River Boutique was born, initially as a side hustle, a small spark of creativity amid the chaos of academia.

With the support and encouragement of my family, especially my mom, who believed in me from the very beginning, I set out on this wild journey of entrepreneurship. My mom was not only my biggest cheerleader but also my partner in crime, guiding me through the ups and downs of starting a business and instilling in me the importance of chasing my dreams, no matter how daunting they may seem.

What started as a modest venture soon blossomed into something beyond my wildest imagination. As word spread and customers flocked to our little boutique on 119 NE Washington Blvd, the dream began to take shape. With each passing day, Wild River Boutique grew in both size and reputation, becoming a beloved destination for fashion enthusiasts far and wide.

But amidst the hustle and bustle of business, one thing remained constant: my gratitude for each and every customer who walked through our doors. They were more than just patrons; they were the heartbeat of Wild River Boutique, fueling our passion and driving us forward.

Today, as I reflect on the journey that brought me to where I am, I am filled with immense gratitude. Gratitude for the opportunity to pursue my passion, gratitude for the unwavering support of my loved ones, and most importantly, gratitude for the incredible community of customers who have made Wild River Boutique the success it is today.

As we continue to chart our course forward, I am filled with excitement for what the future holds. With each new season comes new opportunities for growth, new styles to discover, and new dreams to chase. And through it all, I am reminded that with passion, perseverance, and a little bit of wild spirit, anything is possible. Thank you for being a part of this incredible journey. #WildRiverBoutique #DreamBig.

MAY 2024 | bmonthly 37 BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT
38 bmonthly | MAY 2024 *See office for details. **After you complete your hearing assessment, you will receive an e-gift card for $20.00 from a limited selection of retailers. All product and company names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them. Offer not available to any consumer who has private or federal health insurance coverage. Private pay purchases only. Limited to consumers who have not had a hearing assessment within the past 12 months. Completion of hearing assessment required. Offer expires 5/31/24. 2230 SE Washington Blvd., Ste. 101 Bartlesville, OK 74006 918.876.3154 Mention code AG60-11 when calling Life-changing hearing care starts here We offer the following complimentary services: ● Hearing assessments* ● Cleaning of your hearing devices ● Hearing aid demontrations HearingLife is a national hearing care company that operates more than 600 hearing care centers in the U.S. Revolutionary new hearing devices may improve speech understanding and the ability to remember more. Enjoy the convenience of rechargeability and Bluetooth® connectivity. Complete your complimentary hearing assessment* and receive a $20 GIFT CARD** Gift$20Card** Tiffany Broughton, Hearing Instrument Specialist

He’s a Good God

Remembering Bartlesville’s Billie Roane

He’s a Good God

Billie Roane was a woman full of faith and surprises. Talented and outgoing, Billie played piano and steel guitar and sang beautifully. She spoke several languages and once considered becoming an interpreter. Described as hard-working, adventuresome, and gutsy, Billie ran barrels in rodeo back in the day, drove a Porsche, and played pool like a shark! She thrived when faced with a challenge. A “Why can’t I do that?” might have flashed through her mind moments before leaping into something new and making it work. As a visionary, Billie could see things others couldn’t, turn dreams into realities, and draw the best out of people.

Billie was passionate about many things. Topping the list were Christ, community, and country.


Billie loved the Lord. She was baptized as a sixteen-yearold as the Jesus movement began on the West Coast in the late 1960s. She got caught up in its wave as it swept across America. The message, music, and momentum solidified her biblical worldview and faith in God. Jesus was her dearest friend whom she trusted implicitly. Even when life threw a curveball, she would declare, “He’s a good God.”

God’s Word was near her heart and mind and easily spilled out of her mouth. A Bible was always within reach at home, usually with a devotional, highlighter, and pens nearby. She sang in the church choir, spoke for Stonecroft ministry events, attended Bartlesville Ladies Connection meetings and Bible studies, and believed in prayer.


Billie loved Bartlesville. The Roanes moved to Bartlesville in 2012, although Billie knew the place from childhood. Growing up in Tulsa, family outings included picnic lunches at Woolaroc and getting to know Price Tower and other iconic landmarks. Her late husband, Tom, was the City Manager in several places, including Nowata. Wherever Tom worked, Billie immediately got involved in civic life, the Chamber of Commerce, nonprofit organizations, and the political scene. Billie knew what it took to make a community work, tirelessly volunteered, and

encouraged others to do likewise. She valued parks and promoted beautification. Her communityfirst approach paired with her desire to make things better for everyone because she genuinely cared for people.

Billie assisted Jim Bohnsack for years and helped take the Arvest Friday Financial Forum to a new level. She scheduled weekly speakers, decorated tables, arranged food, welcomed guests, and more, all at a dizzying pace.

In April 2021, the Bartlesville City Council initially appointed Billie to the Ward 4 seat to fill an unexpired term. She was elected by a vote of the people in 2022. While on the council, she also had assignments on ten different commissions, committees, and authorities. She was thorough about preparation and meticulous about accuracy when it came to governance. Her integrity spoke volumes. Billie made sure credit was given where due and citizens were recognized. Billie didn’t mince words; you knew where you stood with her! Country

Billie loved America. Locally, she facilitated classes on the U.S. Constitution and biblical citizenship. She taught history, geography, and American government to her homeschooled grandchildren. She kept abreast of political trends and issues. She was a good listener and respected others’ opinions while holding fast to her convictions.

Billie was active in the Washington County Republican Party, having served as a former WCGOP Vice Chairman, on the County and Executive Committees, and as Chairman of Precinct 46. She knew many senators, representatives, commissioners, and other politicians. Her leadership and dedication to conservative principles will leave a lasting mark close to home and across the state.

Billie had an uncanny way of bringing everything back to Jesus. She desired others to know the Lord and sought to represent him well. My last conversation with Billie was her call asking for prayer preceding an emergency surgery the day before she passed. After the amen came the confident reminder, “He’s a good God.” And so, He is.

MAY 2024 | bmonthly 39 TRIBUTE

Are there secrets to a happy life?

When you live with a teenager in your house, you find yourself thinking about these things a lot. “What could I tell you, what gifts or insights could I impart to you that would give you a better than average chance of living happily?”

I have a list. Maybe you do too.

I’m embarrassed to say that on more than a dozen occasions I have uttered the phrase, “Honey, there are two kinds of people in this world …” The mere fact that I have listed this on multiple occasions confirms there are certainly more than two.

In the brilliantly painful movie What About Bob, the storyline essentially begins with this very conversation. Bob (Bill Murray) desperately begins his first session with Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfus), a celebrated psychiatrist. Bob’s approach has all the intensity of someone threatening to drown the lifeguard who has just swum out to rescue him.

Dr. Leo Marvin: Are you married?

Bob Wiley: I’m divorced.

Dr. Leo Marvin: Would you like to talk about that?

Bob Wiley: There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don’t. My exwife loves him.

Dr. Leo Marvin: [pause] I see. So, what you’re saying is that even though you are an almost-paralyzed, multi-phobic personality who is in a constant state of panic… your wife did not leave you, you left her because she... liked Neil Diamond?

I acknowledge that there are obviously more than just two types of people in this world. Mustard vs Ketchup eaters. Hard vs Soft shell tacos. Introverts vs Extroverts. People who observe the “fast lane” and the rest of you.

I also agree the phrase “There are two kinds of people…” is overused and extremely limiting. I know it, but I’ve been using

40 bmonthly | MAY 2024 FUNNY YOU SHOULD ASK

it anyway. I guess because even though it is rudimentary - it paints a picture. There are some habitual vices (complaining, procrastinating, lying, leaving your shopping cart in the parking lot) that we tend to find ourselves on either one side or another.

Most recently I found myself completing that phrase like this, “There are two kinds of people in the world, those who own their choices and those who blame.”

Now, before we go any further, let me clarify that statement a little.

A lot of us have been shaped by the pain people or circumstances have inflicted. Bad or harmful parenting, parasitical spouses or friends, unmet hopes and disappointments, lost opportunities. These are often entry points for pain in our lives that go on to have lasting effects on us (fear, abandonment issues, unhealthy coping skills, etc). So becoming aware of these experiences and their impact, especially with the help of a counselor, can be life-changing.

The challenge for me is when I stay in that place.

I grew up a pretty insecure kid. I was tall for my age, a condition that was compounded when I was held back a year in school. I had dyslexia. I was a poor student. I listened to ‘70s soft rock far longer than was appropriate. I was prone to leave this world in favor of imagined ones. And when I was forced to be here, I generally lived in envy of classmates who were smart or funny or talented or “had it together” or whose white shirts didn’t possess dingy, yellow stains under the armpits. (Super Star!)

And while all those things were difficult, they didn’t compare to the emotional scars every one of us suffers on the road from there to here. Life has some pretty sharp edges.

There were a lot of years when I let wounds from others as well as circumstances take the heat for my choices. It was easy to say if it wasn’t for this or that . . .

The hard realization is that there is no hope in blame.

I can acknowledge patterns I adopted as a result of an injury, but when I make someone or some situation the scapegoat for my choices it puts me on the leash to them. I can’t be “OK” until someone else acknowledges, apologizes, reconciles, recompenses, or undoes what they did. So what if they don’t? What hope do I have?

But the moment I acknowledge that I made those choices (regardless of what came before) is the moment I have hope. I can do better. I can decide differently. I can heal (sometimes with the help of others). And I can do that regardless of what the offending party does.

When my daughter forgets to charge her school-issued Chromebook (for the third time in a week) because I somehow distracted her by hugging her when she walked in the door

and asked how her day was (like the heel of a dad that I am) . . . that blame is preventing her from taking ownership and making a change. It’s no different than if I drink all the beers on St. Patrick’s Day because I have unresolved Leprechaun issues.

We can retrain our thinking. (Especially with a little help.) We can acknowledge the injuries of the past (those created by others as well as those that are self-inflicted). We can recognize our deep disappointments (which are real), and we can decide to not allow those things to make our choices for us. We can choose instead to forgive (others and ourselves). Choose to do better. Choose to make the most of what we have . . . because there’s hope in that.

We can also acknowledge that while we’ve been hurt, the reality of this life is - whether we have seen it or not - we have hurt others as well. What is the forgiveness we would want at that moment?

So, there is no hope in blame, but there is in owning our choices. Even while I acknowledge certain emotional handicaps in my thought process (as the result of past wounds), I can choose and I can get better. That’s the hope.

We can also become self-aware. Do we only own the good things in our lives or do we take responsibility for our part in the bad as well?

Because there are two kinds of people in this world, people who live life and people who just talk about it. People who grow and people who never change. I guess that’s four kinds of people. Oh, and people who love and people who only write about love. And, and people who buy spring plants and people who actually plant those spring plants. (You know who you are.) Wait, that’s more like eight kinds of people.

Forget it.

I got distracted, but really it’s your fault.

See you next month.

MAY 2024 | bmonthly 41 FUNNY YOU SHOULD ASK
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Calling on the Man in Black

A Visit with Mark Allen Cash -

Getting up before 4 am isn’t something I love to do, but if your flight for Nashville leaves at 6, it’s necessary. Due to the middle-of-the-night moment, I decided to forego the makeup for the day, so it took me only fifteen minutes to be walking out the door headed for Tulsa’s International Airport.

The final destination was Kentucky, and on this day in particular, I was flying with my favorite Prairie Cowgirl Photographer – Cindy Lynne Alba – and we were picking upupon our arrival, cute Wendi Lou Lee, the actress who played Grace Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie.

Where we were going doesn’t really matter because we were all three a day early. So, in light of our over-thetop punctuality, we decided to have a little fun and drive out towards Lyles, Tennessee to visit Johnny Cash’s farm. Little did we NOT know, but it wasn’t open to the public for tours on this day – surprisingly though, due to an unexpected text while enroute followed by an unrequested phone call to a friend of a friend, we received a second text telling us that not only was the Cash farm going to open the gates for us, but Johnny’s nephew, Mark Allen Cash was going to meet us there! #SayWhat???

As we approached, the tall electric iron gates smoothly and slowly slid in opposite directions to allow us to enter this lusciously green acreage amongst the Tennessee countryside. No signs led us there, just a winding, unassuming country road traveled for years by the locals, and the who’s who’s of country music’s legends.

We were greeted by a man named Wayne who said he was a neighbor to the farm and he told us that Mark and Shelbi Cash were on their way, as well as the Cash farm owners –Brian and Sally Oxley…

The first thing on my mind was, “and I chose not to wear any makeup today!!”

With sunglasses resting on my nose to hide my secret, Wayne invited us into what was Johnny Cash’s home-away-from home – a massive twostory farm house Johnny called “the center of his universe.”

The hardwood floors, knotty pine walls, and country kitchen dated

Johnny’s Nephew

back to the 1830s, before the Civil War. Neighbor Wayne began telling us the story of two Union soldiers riding up to the house during the Civil War to take the family’s milk cow. He pointed across the beautiful pasture outside the windows to a tree line just above a creek saying, “If you go down there and look, there’s two graves where those two Union soldiers are buried after the lady of the house shot them both.”

The home had a welcoming front porch with a balcony above, but it was the guitar resting on the fireplace hearth that caught my eye as well as a picture of Johnny drinking coffee on the wall in the kitchen in this very home. And then I had an idea. “Grace Ingalls” and I were supposed to record a podcast together sometime over the next few days so I asked if we might be able to record it right there in the kitchen at that very table – and the Cash’s were happy to extend their hospitality for us to do so.

Owners, Brian and Sally brought sandwiches for lunch, and that podcast episode kicked off with Mark Allen Cash picking up his uncle’s guitar and playing us a few of Johnny’s songs –right there in Johnny’s kitchen…

You just never know what a day is going to hold… When it was done, all three of us gals were in awe of what just happened – and it all just made me think.

Truth was, I really didn’t want to go to Kentucky and be away from home for several days – but I’m so glad I did because as we sat around that table, stories were told that needed to be heard and hearts were encouraged before it was said and done – and we three gals knew we had been blessed as we pulled out those iron gates that day.

The podcast is called “Along the Gravel Road,” and the episode recorded in Johnny Cash’s kitchen is titled “Talking ‘Grace’ with Grace Around the Table at Johnny Cash’s Farm,” and I hope you’ll give it a listen, you might even be encouraged after you do.

Well, y’all, this is me encouraging you to live life to the fullest – right down to the very last drop of it –BUT, always remember to put your makeup on!

Thanks for going on the road with me this month!

MAY 2024 | bmonthly 47 ON THE ROAD



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The Amazine Race

I was a youth pastor at the height of the popularity of the TV show “The Amazing Race.” While everyone else was being entertained, I was dreaming. After six months of planning, I gathered dozens of students and volunteers, and drove three hours to Northwest Arkansas for our very own race.

The Race started at 7:30am on a chilly November morning. Teams eagerly grabbed their first clue, and sprinted to their cars, embarking on a race that would span over 300 miles and challenge their navigation, problem-solving, and teamwork skills. By the end of the 13 hour race they would be so exhausted they would literally carry each other across the finish line.

Meanwhile, those of us who hosted the Race divided into pairs and spent the day playing leap frog, setting up checkpoints hours ahead of the teams. While the students embarked on an unforgettable adventure, we mostly waited in cars. Lame.

My partner and I were responsible for a checkpoint at an outdoor mall. After they arrived, teams would receive a clue instructing them to find “Birdie” the turkey wandering the mall sidewalk. My partner opted to greet the teams, requiring me to play the part of Birdie: a 7 foot tall turkey costume. It was made of thick foam, causing me to sweat profusely. The turkey’s face was a foot higher than my own, so I could only see (and breathe) through a small hole in the neck, which was covered by a fabric screen. My hands were trapped inside fabric wings, and I had a wide plumage of tail feathers, making me both taller and wider than normal. I had limited vision and even worse mobility! I felt ridiculous, but my face was hidden, so I could maintain at least a little dignity. I squeezed the costume into our Amazing Race T-shirt and awkwardly loped across the parking lot, into the holiday shopping crowd.

The shoppers reacted immediately, but not how I expected. They were excited! People in passing cars honked and waved. Children rushed for high fives. Teens asked for selfies. Rather than feeling like an odd duck…er…turkey, I felt like a celebrity!

I hammed it up. I was the cock of the walk, strutting my stuff

past The Gap. I danced the funky chicken with a group of girls outside Sephora. I could barely move down the sidewalk because of the crowd that had developed, and instead of hiding from our teenagers, I was drawing ever more attention.

I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned expecting one of our Race teams. Instead, I found myself facing a very unhappy security guard. “You are not allowed to be here!” he demanded, but instead of yelling at ME, he was shaking his finger and looking over my head, scolding the TURKEY costume! I cleared my throat to redirect his gaze to the face hole, and as the silliness of his error dawned on him, he regained his composure.

The radio on his shoulder crackled. “Doug, this is HQ. Have you reached the giant chicken?” Doug pressed his walkie: “HQ, it appears to be a turkey. I’ll handle it.”

It’s really hard to wipe away tears of silent laughter with a screen between your face and wings.

Now looking at the turkey’s neck, he demanded information. I explained the race, but confessed I had not called ahead to get permission to be there. He conferred with HQ again and announced that he would be escorting me off the property.

We began walking the hundred yards back to the parking lot, but I was swarmed by even MORE people than before. Parents who had previously avoided the crazy person in the costume now saw me being escorted by mall security and inferred that I was an official attraction. They eagerly handed their phones to the guard, asking for photos with Birdie, turning him into an armed photographer.

Just before we reached the parking lot, the first of our Race teams arrived. They sprinted to me asking for their next clue. To my horror, I discovered I had dropped nearly all of them! I explained this disaster to my bouncer-turned-escort, making clear that if I didn’t find these clues quickly we were going to have a lot of very disappointed, stuck teenagers. He rubbed his forehead and chuckled, finally and fully giving himself over to the absurdity of the situation. “Come on,” he said. “Let’s go find them.”

And back into the crowd we went.

MAY 2024 | bmonthly 51 EVERYDAY ADVENTURES



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Tribute to a Selfless Mother

...Confessions of a Momma’s Boy

In the month of May, we all honor our mother’s for raising us. However, there is one term no man wants attached to his love for his mother, and that is being called a Momma’s boy.

This term momma’s boy seems to have a negative connotation in our society.

However, there is a narrative that is seldom told, that of gratitude, admiration, and selflessness, for someone who raised you with love.

Regardless of society thinking this writer has found peace, purpose, and identity from a mother’s love.

Being the seventh of eight children meant that we shared everything - clothes, beds, and toys. However, there was one thing that was all mine, those loving encouraging words spoken over me by my mother. Examples like, “you are my seventh child and you are going to do something special because the number seven has a special meaning”.

Those loving words have shaped my life and given this writer direction to even my vocation. Today, this writer serves as a Pastor and Hospice Chaplain, thanks to the words of my mother.

My mother only had a fifth grade education. Yet, she knew how to love and encourage people. Evidently, she was so good with this gift that my other siblings received the same loving care.

My mother had enough love to go around to all eight children, grandchildren, and a husband.

Once this writer became an adult my mother still looked for ways to bless her children. She always gave of her substance, from making quilts, to giving of her time, and money.

She was on a fixed income, but that didn’t stop her from helping her children whether we made five times more than her. She found a joy in helping others!

Part of this comes from her being raised during the depression times. She threw nothing away. She made sure we had all we needed. Another one of her caring qualities was, she never wanted to hurt anyone feelings. She loved people.

Mom ironically slipped away from us the day before Mother Day in 2015.

The lessons of selflessness began to flood my heart like, “Love isn’t love until you give away,” and you can’t find your life until you give your life.

This writer thought he was living a selfless life until he saw selflessness modeled in front of him. Now with a loving example this momma’s boy is ready to move forward, in the love walk. Are you ready? Will you join me? I Corinthians 13:8 says, “Love never fails”.

Today, how far does your love go? Is your love only limited to one or two people? While other people in your life hurt because of the lack of care from you. Do you blame it on being tired, or a lack of time? Do you show gratitude for the people God has put in your life? Yes,This mama’s boy does! Those valuable lessons of love have kept me in many seasons.

This love is a bond of many layers - giving, thankfulness, and a selfless nature.

This Mother’s Day, is a great opportunity for you to show your admiration and appreciation for your Mother.

MAY 2024 | bmonthly 53 A GOOD WORD
54 bmonthly | MAY 2024 2024 is our 17th year! Where: Frank Phillips Park, 222 SW Frank Phillips Blvd. (Just South of the train depot) When: Every Saturday, May 4 - Oct 12 • Time: 8-11:30 am Live Music + FREE Bingo Making life work is our life’s work. • Skilled nursing • Physical therapy • Occupational therapy • Speech therapy • Medical social work • Transportation • Home-health management • Personal care, hygiene • Companionship • Assistance with errands Free consultations, call 918.333.8500 918.333.8225 1501 SE Bison Rd, Bartlesville Now Leasing: 1, 2, & 3 Bedroom apartments



Join us this June for a fun-filled, week-long day camp for kids currently enrolled in 3rd - 9th grade. Visit to register and see the full list of camp themes. Camp is Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 3:30pm.

June 10 - June 14, 2024

*will attend all camp themes

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June 17 - June 21, 2024

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We have NEW opportunities for adults! Tri County Tech is accepting applications for our affordable flex programs. We have spots available in EMT, Paramedic, Construction Technology, Applied Welding, Precision Machining Operations, and more! This new opportunity allows many FLEX programs to be customized for each student, allowing them to enroll in specific program courses. Learn more about our programs and apply at


Tri County Tech’s Commencement Ceremony will be held Thursday, May 16, at The Center. Programs will be split up into two ceremonies. The first ceremony is at 5:30pm, and the second is at 7:30pm. Be sure your graduate has picked up their tickets as they are required guests to attend. For questions, contact our Student Services Department at 918.331.3333 or via email at

June 3 - June 7, 2024

The deadline to apply for our CNA program is May 20, 2024. You can start your career as a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) in just a few short weeks. Nursing homes, hospitals, adult daycare centers, personal homes, and assisted living facilities all require nursing aides to act as a helpful liaison between the RN or LPN and the patient. This program gets you entered into the workforce quickly, and is a stepping stone to a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry! Learn more and apply at

56 bmonthly | MAY 2024
VISIT TRICOUNTYTECH.EDU TO LEARN MORE! 6101 Nowata Road, Bartlesville, OK There will be no discrimination in the technology center because of race, color, sex, pregnancy, gender, gender expression or identity, national origin, religion, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, age, or genetic information in its programs, services, activities and employment. The following individual is designated to handle inquiries regarding the technology center’s nondiscrimination policies, including Title IX: Tara Stevens, Director of HR & Compliance Officer | 6101 Nowata Road, Bartlesville, OK 74006 918-331-3248 According to the State of Oklahoma Sex Offenders Registration Act, registered sex offenders must self-disclose their status before admissions. Privacy policy: Non-discrimination policy: Title IX Training provided by: OSSBA Workshop Resources:

Swing Fore Students

Tri County Golf Tournament Seeking Sponsors

Tri County Tech Foundation invites the local community for an unforgettable golfing experience at the Swing Fore Students Golf Tournament. The fun-filled event will be held at 11:00 am on October 4 at the Hillcrest Country Club. Sponsorships are available, ranging from $1,000-$5,000.

This tournament claims the honor of being only one of two tournaments held at Hillcrest Country Club, recognized by Golf Digest as one of Oklahoma’s top golf courses. Registration includes a four-person team registration, mulligans, and the chance to win incredible tournament prizes. With upscale swag bags, free beverages, and a delicious buffet lunch, participants can expect an afternoon to remember.

“I was thrilled to support the Tri County Tech Foundation and its mission in such a fun way! Knowing that my participation makes a real difference for students doubles the excitement,” past participant Taylor Potter said.

Golfing is a blast, but when it helps others in need, it’s even more rewarding. Last year, the tournament raised $38,000 for student scholarships, and the goal is to raise even more this year. These unrestricted funds have been crucial to fulfilling Tri County Tech Foundation’s mission of ensuring no student is denied an education due to lack of funds.

“Thanks to the overwhelming response from you, our incredible community, the Tri County Tech Foundation was able to give 21 full-time students tuition scholarships,” Foundation Executive Director Kim Smith said.

“Your enthusiasm and support for last year’s event meant the world to us. Thank you for making a difference!”

The funds raised by the Tri County Tech Foundation help students afford tuition at Tri County Tech, empowering them to pursue new careers and improve their economic prospects. Last year’s graduates started their careers with an average hourly wage of $21.54, contributing to a collective annual salary of $5.9 million.

“I am truly grateful to the Tri County Tech Foundation for the assistance I am receiving,” said K.B., a scholarship recipient. “When I graduate, I hope to take what I have learned at Tri County Tech and make a difference in people’s lives.”

Thanks to the Foundation, Tri County Tech can honor its mandate of putting students first in everything. Unlike most technology centers and colleges, Tri County Tech chooses not to receive federal funding for tuition assistance. This decision allows TCT to better serve students by tailoring its programs to workplace needs, rather than navigating the red tape of federal government funding. Students can graduate faster while learning the skills needed for a successful career. None of this would be possible without the generous support from businesses and individuals within our community who contribute to the foundation.

“I love playing in the Tri County Tech Foundation tournament every year because it combines two things I love: golf and bettering the Bartlesville area community,” said past sponsor Chris Batchelder. “The Foundation’s mission is to ensure no student is denied an education due to the lack of funds, and this is a fun and easy way to help make that happen.”

Supporting the Swing Fore Students tournament directly impacts Tri County Tech students, enabling them to pursue their educational ambitions.

“Thank you for transforming a day on the golf course into life-changing learning opportunities for our students,” said Tri County Tech Foundation Specialist, Champagne Kane.

For more details on becoming a sponsor or registering your team, visit

MAY 2024 | bmonthly 57 EDUCATION
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MAY 2024 | bmonthly 59 Stay. Enjoy. Repeat. Follow us on Facebook 918-336-1000 Book an Event at Price Tower! We are teaming up with The Eatery to cater your perfect party! Call today! Opens May 5th in the Gallery! Copper Bar NOW OPEN! Tue-Fri 5pm-10pm & Sat 6pm-10pm On the 15th floor!
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Lorront Carney

“Join the Navy and See the World”

Lorront Carney was born February 14, 1961, in Vinita, Oklahoma. The family moved to Bartlesville and he graduated from College High School in 1979. In his senior year, he joined the Navy in the delayed entry program and after graduation reported to San Diego for Boot Camp in July 1979.

He joined the Navy because of the phrase, “Join the Navy and see the world.” He said Boot Camp was a learning experience and one of the best things he ever did because it taught him to respect authority and to be a leader as well as a follower and was mainly discipline and physical training.

Boot Camp lasted six weeks, then he went to the east coast and reported aboard the USS Saipan. The Saipan was a transport for Marine helicopters and amphibious tanks. The Marine detachment would have four thousand to five thousand Marines plus equipment on board the Saipan.

He was assigned to V-3, a member of the hangar deck crew. The responsibility of the hangar deck crew was to bring the helicopters down from the flight deck to the hangar deck, tie them down and the squadron crew did any required maintenance. His quarters on the Saipan was on the third deck down, just below the galley and the bunks were stacked three high. His normal day was up at five thirty and after breakfast, if it was a non-fly day they did maintenance and if it was a fly-day, they shuffled aircraft according to the launch schedule and the needs for that day.

At times, the fly-day would last well after dark. His general quarters station on the ship rotated and would be in the fire bunker, damage control or the fire pressure system to fight fires in the ship. The general quarters were rotated so each person would know the different general quarter stations. He was on the Saipan for a year and a half then sent to Lakehurst, New Jersey A School.

A School was technical training for your MOS. His MOS was aircraft handler, Aviation Boatswains Mate Handler and trained how to move aircraft around the ship in a safe manner.

He trained on how to move aircraft using motorized dollies, a four-wheel dolly with a tow bar. There would be 25 aircraft on the hangar deck, and he trained on how to move the aircraft without hitting another aircraft. The school lasted eight weeks, then he went aboard the USS Independence, CV62.

He was assigned to the hangar deck and moved aircraft according to fly-day and non-fly days. While he was on board, the Independence went down to the Cape of Good Hope, Roda, Spain, up around Sicily, Italy, Portsmouth, England then came home. He said he went aboard the Independence in 1980 and not much was going on in the world, it mainly peacetime service. The crew was allowed liberty at the various ports and said most of the people in the different countries were very friendly. He joined the Navy to see the world and being a young man from Oklahoma, it was quite an experience, but it made him appreciate home much more. He left the Independence July 1983, discharged and began working at the Newport News Shipbuilding. He worked with sheet metal and worked on the ventilation crew and helped install ventilation systems and bulkheads on ships.

He joined the reserves, VA-62 at Oceania Naval Air Station at Virginia Beach, Virginia. For his annual training, his unit went aboard the USS Eisenhour and watched the pilots make practice landings. There were four cables that the pilot was to catch with the tailhook. He landed with full power, so if he missed the cables, he could take off and try again. He transferred to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyards in Virginia. He was there during Desert Storm. He thought about going back on active duty but thought his work at the shipyards was just as important.

He retired and moved to Bartlesville in 2012 to help care for his stepfather. He enjoyed his Naval career and would do it again.

MAY 2024 | bmonthly 61 UNSUNG HEROES

The Gift of Grace

This is a story that needs to be told. I have written over 100 stories in the last seven years, and this story hits me the hardest. My first child Blake was born in 1993 when I was 24 years old. What a blessing he was (and still is) in my life. I was just coming out of 6 years of very intense partying and my addiction to cocaine. I was trying to find myself as a man, a husband, and now a new father. Growing up for me was not easy. I was severely abused by my stepfather. I remember as I laid in my bed with welts on my legs and bruises over my buttocks that I would never become a father. I would NEVER put my kids through this nightmare…and that is true to this day. I never had a father who loved me… my real father walked out on me when I was 6 days old, my mom, and my brother Kevin who was 4 years old. Growing up I was beaten and abused by the man who I thought was my real father. When I was 12, I was going through boxes in our attic. I found my birth certificate that had a different last name than the one I had at the time. With tears falling from my eyes, I realized that this man who had abused me for years was not my real father…who was I?

second child, even though there were small signs that our marriage was coming apart. I believe it will always be different for dads when they have a daughter. I believe everything changes from how we love, how we protect, and how we would jump into a lion’s pit to protect our little girls. A few years later, we had our third child Parker. If you want to know what I looked like when I was 16, just go by QuikTrip and see my son. He is the spitting image of me. When we divorced, he was just three years old…but what a blessing he was (and still is). He grounded me and kept my eyes on being a Dad. He will never know how much he helped make me a Dad.

Then we had our second child, our daughter Madison…our little girl. I was so proud because we tried so hard to have our

After I was divorced, Christy and I started talking and began a relationship. We started right where we left off 18 years before. Best friends! Our relationship started in 1985 as friends, and it still stands today - she is my best friend. Christy had 3 kids who I became close to while we were dating - Tyler, James, and Mary Beth. We started talking about bringing our six kids together. After we married in 2005, we blended our family, and I can say it was hard at first. Having to deal with exes brought a challenge to our relationship. Every other weekend we dropped off kids while continuing to build a relationship with our new kids.

62 bmonthly | MAY 2024 GOD’S GRACE

It was hard, and they were a little rebellious! Why wouldn’t they be? I know because I had to go through the same thing when we moved to Bartlesville in 1985.

Months before we were married I started to fall back into my addiction, and I still don’t know why. It was devastating! Sometimes I believe that God was looking down and saying “you will be my Job.” I had been clean for 12 years. I fell back into this addiction and Christy had no idea. I tried for months to cover it up, but day by day I was lost and in the darkness. Three months after we married Christy came to me and said she was pregnant. I was married to the love of my life and I was so lost. Every dream I had was being stripped away by my addiction. It looked hopeless. If I could tell you the truth, I was at death’s doorstep. Our marriage was at the brink of ending. Only God had a plan that would turn it all around and that miracle was Grace.

Grace Olivia McPhail was born June 12th, 2006 just 11 months after we were married. I believe this was God’s last life preserver thrown to me. There were so many lives depending on me grabbing it or just to let it slip through my hands. If you wonder why we called her Grace, it’s because of the meaning of her name. Grace, a Latin girl’s name, comes from the word gratia and means “favor” or “blessing.”

so deep into my addiction that most, if not all, who knew what was going on said it’s Hopeless. Many people told Christy to divorce me and move on with her life. It’s hard to tell you how dark it was for me, and our family. Just 6 months before, our family stood with us as we took vows. Our wedding pictures of our new family were meant to show a fairy tale come true. I promised Christy I would be there when Grace was born and I was. I was there to welcome Grace into this life, but ashamed that as her father I was so close to death.

What did I do after she was born? I went out and got high just like I did for the 9 months that Christy was pregnant. Christy kicked me out of the house and had the divorce papers drawn up. Here I was 36 years old with 6 kids and a new child with the love of my life. Every dream that I had ever wanted with Christy was slipping away. I will say this and Christy might say no, but I truly believe if it was not for Grace’s birth, we would have divorced. She could have walked away very easily, but that little girl who I call the “anchor of the family” kept Christy believing that I could change. I could be the father and husband who she married. Grace was my best friend as she was growing up, and we did everything together. The memories I have with her are some of the best! After we lost Tyler, when she was 3 years old, she brought this family together. After this devastating loss and just as God knew she would, Grace helped heal so many broken hearts.

Grace is a virtue name that was regularly used by Puritans in the sixteenth century to signify God’s love and divine grace . In Greek mythology, the Three Graces were goddesses of nature who personified flowering, brilliance, and joy - “God’s gift”!

During Christy’s pregnancy, I had fallen

As I write this story, Grace is two weeks from graduating from high school and beginning her new life away from home. It is a tough time for me…really tough. I really can’t imagine going down the hallway to her bedroom and saying goodnight and love you baby to an empty bed. I carried Grace and tucked her into bed for over 13 years. As I laid her down in bed, we would always say to each other ” Love you first, love you last… to the moon and back!” Thank you God for the gift you gave Christy and I and our family…the gift of Grace! Love you baby girl! Dad

MAY 2024 | bmonthly 63 GOD’S GRACE
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An Art Experience

BAA Offers Memorable Art Experience to All Ages

The Bartlesville Art Association is not just for accomplished artists working in various media, it also offers valuable practice and insightful workshops to the amateur artist as well. An important focus of the association is sharing the world of art and teaching new skills.

An especially popular program that accomplishes this goal is the Summer Art Camp. For the past 20 years, BAA has offered a month-long art camp for students in grades one through twelve. The June art camp is directed by Steven Graham and this year BAA is adding a one-week camp in July with Quincey Turner.

The self-described “goofy” Steven Graham has been director of the BAA Art Camp for over 20 years. He is a funny and entertaining man who reveals the world of art to elementary students. Once again, he will be teaching along with his assistant, Cindy, who is his wife of 34 years, and art teachers Erinn Rakes and Gabriela Johnson. Graham teaches youngsters art history, composition, design, and the creative process all while making the class an enjoyable experience.

In Graham’s classroom at Kane Elementary, he dresses in selfmade costumes to grab students’ attention. Then he encourages those with little confidence as artists by teaching them, “that art is a way they can feel good about themselves. Everybody is valuable and can make things that are original to them.” His students have even created art by making “pictures” out of earthy things in the style of Andy Goldsworthy. To say that Graham’s world is focused on art is an understatement. He considers a successful day of teaching as one when his kids are working so hard that they have lost track of time and are surprised that

art class has ended. Second only to his love of art is his skill in making boomerangs and teaching his students to make them. Graham found his first boomerangs at the Science Museum in Oklahoma City when he was in high school. After that, he was hooked. Another quirky creation is his didgeridoo, which he has built and plays.

Graham lives at home with his wife, two Dorkies (Yorkie/Dachshund mix), two birds, stacks of used books that he has repurposed as sketch books. Each book is filled with amazing colorful characters of the comic world and his imagination. His personal art collection contains zany and unusual paintings of local settings. His backyard workshop is full of boomerangs in various stages of completion and an axe throwing backdrop. Graham loves things that fly.

Steven Graham’s mantra is, “Art is a lifestyle; even if I wasn’t teaching art, I would still be teaching it.” Graham is ready to open the eyes of young students to the magic of art in another fun-filled art camp June 3-28. But, if you cannot make it in June, check out Quincey Turner’s art week July 15-19.

Art Camp is only one of the many offerings available to the public. Other activities include a free Art 101 class for members including topics from “Planning the Shot” in photography to “Sewing a Zippered Purse” and “Beginning Pastels,” plus other regular classes and workshops. Anyone interested in registering for a class should check the website: bartlesvilleartassociation. org or contact BAA Monday through Thursday at 918-3328463 from 11am to 3pm. BAA is in the Comanche Center, 217 S. Comanche Ave.

MAY 2024 | bmonthly 65 THE ARTS
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The Gift of True North

There’s Nothing Quite Like Fishing in a Stream

My son took me trout fishing on the Cache La Poudre River near Fort Collins. While in Colorado, I was admiring the gear at a fly fishing outfitter talking to a salesman and I mentioned that I had been fishing with Salvador Dali and I used a dotted fishing line. Caught every other fish. (credit to Stephen Wright) Which left him standing there looking like a trout that swallowed a bad leech.

Later, at a LuLuLemon store, a young saleswoman and I struck up a conversation. She breathlessly exclaimed, “I love to fly fish!” She tells about her Dad taking her fly fishing. They would stand on a bridge above the water watching the motions of the trout. Matthew Neill Null describes this in Allegheny Front, “They turn again, tumbling like leaves, then straighten with mouths pointing upstream, to better sip a mayfly, to root up nymphs, to watch for the flash of a heron’s bill. The current always trues them, like compass needles. When she watches them, she feels wise.”

I find myself at times swinging the golf club too hard, taking back the fly rod well past 10 & 2 o’clock to a place and rhythm of my choosing. It’s natural to overswing a fly rod and with too much effort, get the fly caught back behind you on a bush. The line whips and whistles back and forth, but the power is misplaced, diverted, and the line, leader, and fly collects in a tangle far short of the target. But in proper sequence and energy, all parts heavy and light, move in proper rhythm and order as they pass overhead in 4/4 time.

There is something about fishing in a shining stream that makes me feel serene, at one with sun and water and nature. Life forms us like a cold forge of water pressuring trout. With grace the trout tumble like falling leaves, until they eventually straighten and point upstream.

My best fishing years happened in my youth, down in the pasture at grandpa’s pond, accessed by a meandering bovine trail which I walked with a cane pole over my shoulder, in my hand a Folgers coffee can filled with dirt and worms. Grandpa and I would bring back a mess of crappie, clean them, and take them to the kitchen, where Grandma coated them with egg and cornmeal, salt and pepper. We hunkered down around the table, said grace, and ate with conviction the fruit of our harvest, fried fish, corn on the cob, and sliced tomatoes from the garden.

About the time I was fishing with a cane pole, I was also forming my opinions about God and the nature of myself. Just like anything that requires hours of practice, like fishing or golf, or chasing after God, there is always room for redemption.

Sometimes I see things in this world, like the recent solar eclipse, and it stuns me. I heard many friends describe it. Here is how Annie Dillard described the eclipse in 1979. “I turned back to the sun…the sun was going, and the world was wrong. The grasses were wrong; they were now platinum. Their every detail of stem, head, and blade shone lightless and artificially distinct as an art photographer’s platinum print. This color has never been seen on earth.”

Sometimes I am, as in the lyrics of a Pink Floyd tune, comfortably numb. I am unphased by the wonder of the world I live in. But, it is the goodness of living on this orb that keeps me going, the people around me and the wonder of it that make it worthy of my contemplation.

All good and remarkable things, trout drifting in a stream or a moon that is 400 times smaller than a star, yet can completely darken it, come as gifts. The gift of wonder enables the grace I feel in my heart to animate and resound in new ways. Wonder is a gift we all need in a cynical world filled with heads bowed toward lit screens. It is the fuel that gives us the energy to live freely and with abandon in ways that make fishing and stargazing joyful. And we begin to see things clearly, like trout moving through a shimmering stream thinking with their hips, falling gracefully like leaves, but always returning, like a compass needle to true north.

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Super Spring on the Horizon Area Teams

Poised for Success to Finish the School Year

If Shakespeare could label this year’s current local sports scene he might well refer to it as “the spring of our supercontent.”

Washington County high school track teams boast a multitude of likely state champions in May, several prep baseball teams are writing winning scripts, Bartlesville tennis is cooking, Bartlesville freshman golfer Jay Wasemiller is burning up the links and Bartlesville’s boys’ soccer team is closing in on a playoff spot.

On the college level, Oklahoma Wesleyan University diamond dynasty is building toward another Herculean campaign.

The real beginning of the Second Coming of Oklahoma Wesleyan University baseball goes back to the late 1990s when the school hired Marty Carver to resurrect the moribund program after several years of being laid to rest.

A quarter-century after Carver’s masterful effort, the Eagles have transformed into one of the fiercest forces in the college diamond scene. The 2024 crew could be one of their best — which is saying more than a Bunyanesque mouthful.

From 2011-2023, the Eagles amassed an incredible 648-212 (.753) record, including a 317-83 (.793) home record and 242-90 (.729) conference mark. During those years they qualified for the NAIA World Series three times (2014, 2017, 2021), won the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Conference national title (2011) and placed as NCCAA national runner-ups in 2012.

Tag-teaming to lead the OKWU baseball dynasty have been head coaches Kirk Kelley (2010-11, 2019-present) and Matt Parker (2012-2018).

Kelley’s 2024 Eagles head into May with approximately 35 wins and a running start toward storming into the NAIA postseason playoffs and battling to get back to Lewiston, Idaho for the NAIA World Series (only 10 teams nationwide out of a possible 210-plus).

The story of OKWU baseball since 2010 (Kelley’s first year, with a rebuilding record of 25-31) could be known as Cinderella meets David, Hurricane Corridor, or Talons and Tailfeathers on Fire. “I think it’s the quality of people (players) we get,” said Kelley — who as of mid-April 2024 owned a career 278-143 (.660) record at OKWU. “When you get good kids that work hard, that’s the key ingredient.”

Kelley said the key acquisition in the early 2010s that helped rev up OKWU’s explosive dynasty were the Palese brothers (Nick and Jake) and pitcher Chris Needham. “Those three really started it,” he said. “Plus, we wanted to keep J.D. Nalder and others on the previous team and we convinced them to stay.”

Following two seasons (2010-11) Kelley moved elsewhere — to coach college football. But, he had a major hand in the hiring of his successor Matt Parker, who had played for Kelley at Lyon (Ark.) College back in the 2000s. “I knew of his work ethic,” Kelley said. “I told this place can win — and he believed it and did it.”

Parker reached 300 career wins in less than seven seasons and recorded a 325-113 career record prior to leaving after the 2018 campaign.

Kelley returned in 2019 to take Parker’s place. Since his return the Eagles have posted nearly 220 wins. “I’ve seen first hand the quality of the coaching staff,” said senior outfielder Josh Logan, who is on the final stretch of his baseball career. “Coach Kelley has 35 years of coaching experience on every level. .. He cares for his players ... and focuses on our development. Plus his staff has been great. I think they have been the biggest pieces.”

Kelley has stuck by Logan despite his many injuries, including a knee ailment that sidelined him during fall ball and practice. “That’s been hard,” Logan said. “I stuck through it, I put in the hours each day and and now seeing the result of it and that’s been great.”

During an early April three-game series against McPherson (Kan.) College, Logan went 6-for-13 at the plate with two doubles and a homer and six RBIs,

Team offensive leaders through the first 40 games included: Victor Sanchez (.450, 11 2Bs, 16 HRs, 66 BIs, 5 SF), Logan (.349, 14 2Bs, 16 HRs, 58 BIs), Ravaughn Morgan (.418, 17 2Bs, 10 HRs, 45 BIs), Javier Marcial (.404, 11 2Bs, 10 HRs, 48 BIs) and Jorge Aldrete (.345, 15 2Bs, 5 HRs, 45 BIs).

Logan credits the mound performance as the biggest difference. “Our pitching is one of the best staffs I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” he said. “Our pitching staff helps fill gaps when the offense doesn’t have it,” and vice-versa.

Kelley pointed to Evan Foor as a tremendous difference maker (9-1, 3.07 earned run average, 3 complete games, 70.1 IP, 60 Ks, 22 BBs).

Kellen Brothers has snapped back from Tommy John surgery to make an invaluable contribution (3-1, 3.96 ERA, 25 IP, 39 K’s, 9 BBs). Braelen Pippin is 5-1 (5.70 ERA, 36.1 IP, 49 Ks, 22 BBs).

“I’m trying to get it (consistency) back,” Brothers said about the marathon healing and recovery process,” adding his desire is to play on the pro level.

MAY 2024 | bmonthly 69 LOCAL SPORTS

Skate and Create

A Look at the Local Skateboarding Scene

So I (read old guy skater) got the chance to sit down for a few minutes with Blake Sutterfield (read amazing local skateboard phenom) for a few questions about the local scene circa 2024. What follows are some high points.

So what got you started in skating?

Man honestly (the TV show) “Rob and Big.” Rob Dyrdek basically. Watching that show growing up… I don’t know, I liked what they were doing. They were skating and having fun. Now that dude, he’s up there, he is a smart businessman.

What was the first deck you got?

It was an Alien Workshop Meaty board.

What was the first big trick you landed?

It was the Ollies and the 180s. That was always pretty cool and I learned heel flips before I learned kick flips. Really?

Yeah, it was the weirdest thing. All my buddies were doing kick flips but I couldn’t kick flip to save my life but I could heel flip.

What’s your favorite spot in town?

Man in town? It’s hard to say. We kinda started at the magic ledge, right there across the street from Frank and Lola’s. On the backside of the Arvest parking lot, we skate there quite a bit, just right along the sidewalk. Besides the plaza, we love the plaza but you know the plaza is not the best place to skate. They don’t really give you the boot unless they straight see you. It’s been a while since they’ve really went out of their way to kick us out.

What do you think about the new skatepark?

Dude, I like the park. it’s good I’ve seen so many people on a skateboard that I never thought I’d see on a skateboard. It’s gotten a lot of people together and it’s gotten a lot of people off the couch. I’ve seen a lot of people start skating because of the new park. And not only just skateboarding, these kids right

now are doing crazy stuff on a scooter.

It’s really cool that everyone is getting along. You can go to Tulsa and there’s a big bike/skate community and they all are together and they don’t beef. No one’s hateful on each other. It’s cool man, skateboarding in Oklahoma is at a peak right now. It’s taken off. There’s a lot of pros visiting Oklahoma.

What do you think of the fact that one of our local guys (Ryan Crane) designed the park?

I think that’s cool. It’s cool because he gave us all input on it. He let all kind of chip in on it, so it’s pretty special to us all.

So what’s next for you?

Man, right now I’ve been in a little bit of a sit still. I’ve had a kid so it’s been pretty tough. I drove up to Texas for a contest last summer, I’m still trying to stay active I just haven’t been practicing as much. We were about to go skating tomorrow, drive around to some spots and make a day of it. The Rock was open a few weeks ago. We were getting together on Saturdays and we were going up there and skating. It was good to skate again.

MAY 2024 | bmonthly 7 1 COMMUNITY
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Art in Bloom

Local Florist Roots + Blooms Wins Award

A Bartlesville florist recently won “People’s Choice” at an art museum experience in Tulsa. Fifteen floral artists showcased their work at this year’s Art in Bloom at Philbrook, including Native American artist Whitney Virden, owner of Roots + Blooms. This event, that took place the first weekend in April, gave guests an opportunity to see stunning floral displays through the creative eyes of floral designers. Each year, florists from around the area apply to be in the show then, once selected, are randomly assigned a location within the museum.

“We were instructed to learn the history of our location and draw inspiration from the art and architecture of the Philbrook,” said Virden. “I received my assigned location in February with a mockup due mid-March. We had a large wedding in the middle of March, so I couldn’t start on the piece till after. I completed the piece in a little over two weeks.”

The room she was assigned was the south terrace that housed a sculpture of Madonna & Child.

“When I looked at Mary and the young baby Jesus, I began to contemplate the suffering of Christ and the anguish of his mother Mary,” said Virden. “As a Comanche, Kiowa and Cherokee woman, the love and grief between Jesus and Mary inspired me to reflect on the suffering my family has endured, and many indigenous families endured during the era of Indian Boarding Schools.”

She further explained that from 1879 until 1969, thousands of Native children were forcibly removed from their families and communities by the United States Government and placed in Indian Boarding Schools for the remainder of their childhoods. Families who resisted faced imprisonment or starvation. Several generations of Native children were cut off from the love of their families and subjected to violence and abuse of all kinds.

“At the mercy of a strict agenda of assimilation, these children were stripped of their language, kinship connection, food ways, dress, traditions and generational knowledge in an all-out assault on their Native identities,” she shared. “The impact of this system is still deeply felt in Indian Country today and continues to create a divide in families and communities, including my own family. I was disowned by my grandmother at a very young age for not being Native enough. I’ve struggled most of my life not feeling enough. However, through the creation of this piece I found healing, not only from the rejection I’ve felt from my grandmother, but also from the loss my family has endured.”

Her submission was a Native mother and child. She chose to bring a hand from the grave that brought seeds of killing, stealing and destroying. The roots coming into the child from those seeds are of pain, sorrow, revenge and bitterness. However, she encouraged, there are also seeds being planted in the child of hope, acceptance and love.

“Those seeds have green sprouts showing the path to life and freedom,” she said. “The title of my piece is ‘What Will Take Root’ and subtitled ‘A Fight for the Heart.’”

The structure of the child has one foot in the grave and one foot in the world. His path will be determined by what he allows to take root.

“My family has also suffered the loss of two children,” Virden confided. “My beautiful nephew Marcus at ten years old and my beautiful nephew Zachary at the age of 19. When I looked at the mother who had her hand on the child’s cheek saying goodbye, I wept many times.”

Although she has not lost her own children, she expressed she has witnessed the loss her brother and sister have endured with much pain and sorrow.

“I have learned when faced with hardships and circumstances that bring sorrow, grief, pain, anger or confusion we have a choice,” she continued. “Allow those roots to lead us to destruction or look for seeds of hope and love that lead to life, renewal and redemption. What seemed like a random selection to participate, a random selection of a room, led to a renewal of my own spirit and a deep healing from within.”

The sculptures were made of chicken wire air clay and covered in dried leaves, dried rose petals and dried Amaranthus. The characters will last for years and are being stored in a back room. She hopes to find a permanent home for them and would appreciate suggestions. She had never sculpted before but felt called to it and pushed herself outside her limits and went all in.

“I was blown away by the sold-out attendance, and the feedback I received about my piece,” she said. “Knowing that people could feel what I was saying through my piece meant the world to me. I shed many tears with people. Some would just look at me, and I could see it in their eyes, and we would cry with no words spoken. It touched a deep part in some people and no words could be said.”

Because she won, she will get to make another piece in the main entrance at Philbrook next year and already has a piece in mind.

MAY 2024 | bmonthly 73 LOCAL BUSINESS

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

During the Civil War (1861-1865), high casualty rates coupled with a lack of personal identification led to large numbers of unidentified soldiers being buried along marching routes and battlefields. In response, a system of national cemeteries was established in 1862 to ensure the proper burial of all service members. Still, many unknown remains were recovered in the years following the Civil War. At Arlington National Cemetery, there are individual graves of unidentified Civil War soldiers. Additionally, the remains of 2,111 Union and Confederate soldiers are buried beneath the Tomb of the Civil War Unknowns. While exact numbers cannot be determined, estimates are nearly half of the Civil War dead were never identified.

During World War I, U.S. service members received aluminum identification discs, the precursors to “dog tags,” to aid in the process of identifying remains. The related policy gave options to families of the war dead. If requested by the next of kin, the remains of service members who died in Europe would be transported to anywhere in the United States at no cost to the family. Or, families could choose to bury their dead at permanent U.S. military cemeteries established in Europe. In December 1920, New York Congressman and World War I veteran Hamilton Fish Jr. proposed legislation that provided for the internment of one unknown American soldier at a special tomb to be built in Arlington National Cemetery. The purpose of the legislation was “to bring home the body of an unknown American warrior who in himself represents no section, creed, or race in the late war and who typifies, moreover, the soul of America and the supreme sacrifice of her heroic dead.”

In October 1921, four bodies of unidentified U.S. military personnel were exhumed from different American military cemeteries in France. On October 23, 1921, the four caskets arrived at the city hall of Châlons-sur-Marne (now called Châlons-en-Champagne), France. Town officials and members of the U.S. Army’s Quartermaster Corps had prepared the city hall for the selection ceremony. Early on the morning of October 24, 1921, Maj. Robert P. Harbold of the Quartermaster

Corps, aided by French and American soldiers, rearranged the caskets so that each rested on a shipping case other than the one in which it had arrived. Major Harbold then chose Sgt. Edward F. Younger of Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 50th Infantry, American Forces in Germany, to select the Unknown Soldier. Sgt. Younger made his selection by placing a spray of white roses on one of the caskets. After arriving in Washington D.C. on November 9, 1921, the Unknown Soldier lay in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. About 90,000 visitors paid their respects during the public visiting period on November 10, 1921. On November 11, 1921, the Unknown Soldier was placed on a horse-drawn caisson and carried in a procession through Washington D.C. and across the Potomac River. A state funeral ceremony was held at Arlington National Cemetery’s Memorial Amphitheater, and the Unknown Soldier was interred in the what would become known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Nationwide, Americans observed two minutes of silence at the beginning of the ceremony.

In March 1926, soldiers from nearby Fort Myer were the first to be assigned to guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The guards, present only during daylight hours, discouraged visitors from climbing or stepping on the Tomb. In 1937, the guards became a 24/7 presence, standing watch over the Unknown Soldier at all times. Today, soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as “The Old Guard,” stand watch over the Tomb. The Tomb Guards, also called Sentinels, are chosen for this prestigious and highly selective post only after rigorous training and a demanding series of examinations.

Each element of the Tomb Guard’s routine has meaning. The Guard marches 21 steps down the black mat behind the Tomb, turns and faces east for 21 seconds, then turns and faces north for 21 seconds, and then takes 21 steps down the mat. Next, the Guard executes a sharp “shoulder-arms” movement to place his or her weapon on the shoulder closest to the visitors, signifying that he or she stands between the Tomb and any possible threat. The number 21 symbolizes the highest symbolic military honor that can be bestowed: the 21gun salute.

74 bmonthly | MAY 2024 LET FREEDOM RING
MAY 2024 | bmonthly 75
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