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James and Connie McCullough named henryettans of the year.
grads of hhs he received excellence award at osuit. national institute 2019 retired dean of school visual
connie registered nurse active in methodist church. started thanksgiving lunch cited for working with chamber

when discussion held to discontinue tennis program. started tennis association brought up long and rich tradition.
work at tennis courts
instrumental in rebuilding tennis courts through donations.
james is chair of henryetta education foundation.
dedicated lives to studnets, church and family.



Nearly 170 people were on hand Monday night to see James and Connie McCullough named as Henryettans of the Year for 2020.
The pair received the honor as part of the annual Chamber of Commerce banquet held at the civic center.
Both are heavily involved in the Henryetta tennis program. The Henryetta high school graduates were part of the committee formed to keep the tennis program going and helped spearhead a fundraising effort that resulted in the complete overhaul and reconstruction of the Main Street tennis courts.
James had served as OSUIT School of Visual Arts dean until retiring this past year. He is also chairman of the Henryetta Education Foundation. Connie is a registered nurse and both are active with the First United Methodist Church. They work each year to help provide an annual Thanksgiving dinner for the community as well as working with the chamber of commerce in various projects.
The evening also saw awards presented to outgoing chamber officers as well as special awards to individuals and organizations who have helped the community during the past year.
Steve Sanford’s Rustlers Barbecue was recognized as the Business of the Year. He was also recognized for organizing a music concert during the Living Legends rodeo.
Highway 62 Fireworks was presented the Community Patriot award for his annual fireworks display. Five years ago, that display was moved to Nichols Park and has entertained nearly 1,000 people.
For the past 25 years the Jim Shoulders Living Legends rodeo committee was the recipient of the Committee of the Year award. That decision came after the growth of the annual rodeo and its affiliation with the PRCA this year. Receiving the award were Tammie Hiatt, Mark, Hiatt, Ron Richmond, Andy Bealko, Lile Stogner. “To have a committee who has stayed together is pretty remarkable,” said chamber executive director Roy Madden.
Tammie Hiatt also received a custom belt buckle recognizing her work with the rodeo and being a Platinum rodeo sponsor.
The Hillcrest Henryetta Hospital was recognized for it’s recent expansion work and received the Community Health Investment Award. Hospital administrator Dee Renshaw received the award on behalf of the hospital.
A special Top Hand award recognized Arley Gray for his cooperation with the chamber. The maintenance supervisor for the city of Henryetta was also singled out for his participation as “Arley the Cowman” bull riding exhibition in the spring rodeo.
The Henryetta Economic Development Authority was the recipient of the Organization of the Year award. Madden cited the importance of the authority in helping fund the sewer project west of town and providing funding for the new bucking chutes at the rodeo arena. Receiving the award were authority members Jill Francis, Jennifer Munholland and Bruce Jones. Not present were authority members Keith Estes, Jim Beymer and Ron McAfee.
“The funding investment west of town will bring in future development,” Madden said.
Keynote speaker Ron Drake said small towns are the heart of America.
“We are faced with the reality that small towns are shrinking and the cities are growing,” he pointed out.
That problem stems from the small towns not giving residents what they want.
Recently he worked with Okmulgee in a revitalization program in an attempt to bring more business into that community.
He pointed out that a lot of communities look great on the outside but have problems on the inside. “A lot of cities are developing their downtown.”
He said people today are spending more on experiences than being spent on retail. That affects small towns and even shopping malls.
“There’s a truth that you want to go to places where people know your name. Small towns struggle doing that.”
Drake said to help make a successful downtown is by maximizing spaces including the upstairs. He said communities need to, “be intentional.” That would include providing activities and invents to bring people in.
He pointed out that some 60 percent of the money spent in town stays in town. “It circulates more and provides tax dollars.”
The community development speaker urged those at the dinner to believe that restoration is possible and the town can be developed and encouraged them to get a clear vision as to the direction for Henryetta.

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