Pictured left to right: Immediate Past President Lion Beth Flud; Anthony Nieto, Okmulgee Times General Manager; Patrick Ford, Okmulgee Times Editor; and President Lion R.C. Morrow.
(Photo and information provided by Dean Craig)
By Dean Craig Okmulgee Lion
Tuesday's Lions Club meeting was one of local flavor and a story just waiting to be told, because you would never hear it from him.. And that story is about Patrick Ford, the new Editor for the Okmulgee Times, replacing the legendary Herman Brown. Patrick was born and raised in Okmulgee, graduating with the Class of '86. An interesting side-note that Patrick shared with me was that he was in Lion Beth Flud's ninth grade History class and, of course, I had to tell that to the whole club as part of my introduction of Patrick and because Beth was in attendance, also. Of course I can keep a secret, it's just the ones I tell who can't.
During his growing-up years, Patrick had kind of thought about radio or TV as a career but not about writing until around the 10th grade when he had written some poetry that was published. He mentioned several teachers who had an impact on him, one in particular was Florence Hancock. He let her know that he wanted to be on the yearbook staff, and he was assigned as features editor. He quoted her advice to him--if you believe in what you do, you can be anything you want to be.
After graduating high school, some things happened that precluded him from attending college, so he set out to find a job, with not much luck. The last place he visited was the Okmulgee Daily Times, and the late Bettye Grant took him under her wing and gave him a job working along with the late Joe Foster. During this tenure, Patrick was exposed to everything, i.e., photography, layout, design, operating the press, inserts, delivery, and just about everything else associated with running a newspaper office. All of this experience would prove to be invaluable later on.
Patrick left the newspaper business for retail business for about six years but decided that retail was not for him, so back to the late Jerry Quinn for a job with the Times, again. But not yet are we ready to say "and the rest is history". It wasn't. Enter Herman Brown. After a period of time, Herman came to Patrick and said he wanted Patrick in his department. Thus, began a good working and close relationship between the two. So, suffice it to say that Patrick has paid his dues to earn his title as Editor. I am not a writer, but for the past three or four years I have endeavored to write the articles for our Lions Club programs, but not without Patrick's help and guidance. He truly has the patience of Job, never condescending nor disagreeable, but always giving tender guidance. I would be remiss not to mention the same guidance from Valerie Rice with www.okmulgeenews.net I am so thankful for both of them.
On a side note, both the Okmulgee Times and Lions International (as well as the Okmulgee Rotary Club) are celebrating 100 years of service to this community. And the two winners of the 100-year commemorative glasses were Lions James Thompson and Heather Sumner. Names drawn but not present to win were Jon Giddings, Tim Walker, and Leroy Parker. Be sure to be present next week to win a glass.
A special guest came with Patrick, Anthony Nieto, General Manager of the Okmulgee Times. Patrick alluded to the fact that Anthony always offers a positive outlook--hang in there, things will get better! And, with people around like these two, things will get better. The only thing that could be better is if they both decided to join the Lions Club, and you, too. We're still looking for a few more good men and women. "WE SERVE".
P.S. Don't forget that the Lions Club Mobile Health Screening Unit will be in Okmulgee during the Pecan Festival and all services are FREE, compliments of the Okmulgee Lions Club. Bring the kiddos also because we will have the spot vision camera (target age 6 months to 6 years) and the parents will be provided a print-out of the results. Also FREE. We'll be looking for ya'all, ya hear?