Pictured left to right: Lion Dean Craig, Kris Bohanan, James Bohanan, and Program Chairman Lion Raymond Kennedy.
Tuesday's meeting was an introduction to the Lions for one of the newest businesses, Love's Travel Stop and Country Store, by General Manager, James Bohanan, accompanied by his wife, Kris. James said he was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee until his ninth grade, when his family moved to Boise City, Oklahoma. During his Senior year, his sister contracted leukemia so the family moved to Oklahoma City to be close to medical facilities, and he graduated high school there.
After high school, James joined the military and served in Desert Storm in Germany, Turkey, and Iraq. After his military service, he had two different short-term employment periods with Love's before beginning his third term in 2002. The Okmulgee store is his ninth store, and his second new one to open. Therefore, he says they plan to stay in Okmulgee as long as possible and have bought some land near Preston. He was asked if he had ever been to Okmulgee before, and his answer was that Oklahoma City was the closest he has been. But, they are eager to "settle down" because between him and Kris, they have six children.
James recounted the fact that Tom Love started Love's Travel Stop and Country Stores with one $10,000 gas station in 1964 and soon will be opening their 428th and 429th store. They are now in 46 states and was the first company of travel stops, meaning equipped with showers. It was around 1997, when Love's was having trouble getting gas during the gas-shortage, that Mr. Love created his own gas company. Love's only uses American fuel and does not use any foreign imported fuel. The Okmulgee store has 66 paved parking spaces for trucks, a lot of which are filled each day.
Some additional partnerships located in Love's stores include Taco Bell, Burger King, Dunkin' Donuts, Subway, and IHOP. In fact, there are only nine IHOP Express units located in travel stops in the world, and Love's owns five of them, which includes the IHOP Express in Okmulgee. According to James, Love's is expanding into hotels and storage buildings. All of the corporation is based on Tom Love's strong work ethics and they do their own 10-day training. All of their stores are clean and neat, and all of their employees are clean and neat, sans tattoos. And customers WILL be greeted with a friendly welcome and a smile. James invites everyone to stop in and get acquainted.
On a related note, someone (me) forgot to bring the 100-year celebration commemorative glass to be given to the person whose name was drawn and was present, so President Morrow suggested that we give two glasses next week. Be sure to show up so you can claim your prize. We have other prizes in store for a few more good men and women who become a Lion--the blessing for the opportunity to serve our community. In fact, the Mobile Health Screening Unit will be here during the Pecan Festival (diagnosing eight medical conditions) basically for adults, with the spot vision camera (target age 6 months to six years) and all of it is FREE, compliments of the Okmulgee Lions Club. "WE SERVE".
(Photos and information provided by Dean Craig)