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Ron DrakeOpen letter to Okmulgee

I never would have thought when I came to town for a three day consultation over two years ago that I would end up with a cool loft, living in downtown Okmulgee most every week! Okmulgee Rising may have originated from the Main Street organization, but it has spread into a mantra for the whole community to rally around. Remember, the importance doesn't lie on where the idea came from, but where it leads you. The leaders of Okmulgee are in one accord, which is the shared goal of striving daily towards making Okmulgee a better place. The schools, hospitals, Creek Nation Capital, the downtown, the University, and even cleanup on Highway 75 are all on the rise! Also remember, none of this happens by the community leadership alone; real change can only occur when the people of this great community stand together and demand progress for the better! Okmulgee Rising Together! Don't sit on the sidelines! Complaining gets you nowhere...Get involved!

My time here is over for now, but you will always be on my heart and in my prayers. There have been many who have thanked me for my efforts here, but again I thank you for this tremendous opportunity. I especially thank you for taking me in, feeding me meals, providing entertainment, and without a doubt filling me with lots of joy and laughter! I'm thankful to so many of those whom I served with in multiple community groups. There are many of you that selflessly give of your time to serve others! I'm so impressed with how many of you there are. Okmulgee is a very giving community.

I'm proud to say some of my favorite friends anywhere live right here in Okmulgee. I want to thank you all for teaching me what real acceptance looks like. I want to thank you for showing me the power that comes from believing in yourselves. You've consulted me, the consultant, on the power of never giving up, forgiving the past and pushing for a better future! To my core group of friends that have stuck by me from beginning to end, you'll be my cherished friends forever.

I'm especially thankful for Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology! Without the leadership of Dr. Path and his leadership team I would not have been here the past 22 months! The projects we have set in motion will make a tremendous impact on Okmulgee for many years to come. I feel as if I'm a part of the OSUIT family, and for that I'm very grateful. Thank you to the many friends I now have that took this outsider in. Thanks for rocking the institutional boat along side me!! I still bleed Razorback Red, but plenty of Orange sweat poured out of me the past years!!

As I leave Okmulgee, here's what I believe:

I believe over 200 people will live in the downtown core in the next 3 years.
I believe there will be multiple restaurants and nightlife activity in downtown Okmulgee, including activities for teenagers and youth.
I believe more than double the amount of current volunteers will be serving in the next 3 years. #okmulgeerisingtogether
I believe OSUIT will complete over $10 million in restoration projects downtown, including restoring the Bell Tower on the Square.
I believe Muscogee Creek Nation will restore the Historic Council House along with the museum across the street, adding tremendous culture to the community.
I believe multiple other building renovations will continue to happen, totaling another $10 million or more, bringing lives and tax dollars downtown!
I believe the downtown will be filled with cute shops and lots of people!
I believe Okmulgee will be a success story I will share all across the country for many years, using you as an example of restoration!
I believe in the great people of Okmulgee, for without you believing in yourselves none of this will happen!
I believe Okmulgee will continue to Rise on every front! #okmulgeerising

May God bless each and every one of you!

All my best,

Ron Drake