By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Former Enid Mayor Doug Frantz was named Citizen of the Year during Thursday’s annual Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce Banquet.
Frantz was honored because of his service to the community and his family’s long history of local leadership. His most visible service came in 1999, when he was drafted to run for mayor at a time when Enid’s municipal finances were in poor condition. He served two terms.
Frantz said he was “very appreciative” of the award.
“You go to a lot of meetings and serve on a lot of committees, and you get something like this,” Frantz told the audience at Convention Hall.
He said his wife, Diane, is the best deal he ever made.
“I appreciate living in Enid all these years,” he said. “It makes you realize all the great things. I have chosen to live among family, work for a family business, live among old friends and be supported by a great church.”
The Frantz family came to Enid during the Cherokee Strip Land Run in 1893 and claimed land in what now is downtown Enid. A great-great-great uncle served as territorial governor. Frantz is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and a Vietnam War veteran. He commanded a rifle platoon and was injured in a firefight at age 23, receiving the Purple Heart.
Following his military service, he returned to Enid and joined the family business. He has been involved in the community in many ways. Frantz twice was chairman of the United Way annual fund drive and is a member of Rotary Club and Noon AMBUCS. He has been a board member of Booker T. Washington Community Center, Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce, Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center and Oklahoma Easter Seals.
He also served as co-chairman of the first Denny Price Family YMCA expansion project. He is a board member of Central National Bank and a past president of Northwest Oklahoma Association of Life Underwriters.
Citizen of the Year was just one of the awards presented Thursday night.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Leonard Northcutt. The award was last presented in 1995. Northcutt has served as president and campaign chairman of the United Way and was named Enid Jaycees Outstanding Young Man in 1973. He has served as president of YMCA, president of Rotary Club and chairman of Enid Development Coalition. He also was instrumental in the formation of Emmanuel Christian School and was its first board president.
Northcutt was president of the Enid Phillips Partnership Drive in 1978, and was the Salvation Army Outstanding Citizen of the Year in 1980. Recently, he served on the Enid Community Foundation Board. The award was presented by Bert Mackie.
Northcutt is a graduate of Oklahoma City University in 1963 with a degree in business, and moved to Enid and entered the family automotive business. He became president in 1965, when his father and mother died in an airplane crash. Northcutt has built new facilities and moved the dealership to its current location on West Garriott. He has added several auto franchises over the years, and was recognized by Time magazine with its quarterly dealer award. Northcutt also has served as a director and chairman of the Oklahoma Motor Vehicle Commission. The award was presented by Stan Brownlee.
Northcutt said Enid has been good to him and gave credit for the business expansions to the people who work for him.
Two awards were presented for civic improvement. The first went to Community Development Support Association for repurposing a historic downtown building into The Non-Profit Center. The 48,000-square-foot building once housed Newman’s Department Store and sat vacant for 15 years, except for a short time as a furniture store. CDSA purchased the building in 2008 and began the process of refurbishing it. The center allows non-profits to co-locate, share resources and reduce operating costs in an easily accessible location. CDSA conducted a funding campaign to raise $2.5 million to complete the full renovation.
The award was presented to CDSA Executive Director Cheri Ezzell.
The second civic improvement award was presented to the city of Enid for construction of Enid Event Center, a 74,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art center in downtown Enid. The facility began as a proposal in the 1980s when a Central Business District Improvement plan was completed.
Other awards presented were: Ambassador of the Year, Matt Clark; Business Person of the Year, April Danahy; Volunteer of the Year, Sharon Trojan; and Special Recognition to Hiland Partners, Triangle Insurance and Wymer Brownlee for occupying important buildings downtown after Continental Resources moved to Oklahoma City. When Continental Resources moved, it left a large building in downtown Enid vacant. Hiland Partners moved across the street to occupy the building, now known as the Hiland Tower. Triangle Insurance moved into the building formerly housing Hiland Partners and renamed it Triangle Business Center. Wymer Brownlee purchased and remodeled the old First National Bank building and will move its offices into it next week. Recognition was given to those three businesses for saving important buildings.
Andi Holland, outgoing chairman, said she learned during her time leading the chamber board that Enid has Washington’s ear.
“(Department of Defense) officials said they know Enid because Enid comes to visit them every year, while other towns only come when there is a crisis,” Holland said.
The chamber sponsors a yearly trip to Washington, D.C., with city officials meeting with lawmakers and Pentagon leaders.
Holland, who is director of Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center, later passed the gavel to incoming chairman Stan Tatum, executive director of St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center. Tatum told the audience it seems like the chaos afflicting much of the world has passed Enid by, due to the foresight of city officials and the chamber.
After being recognized as outgoing chairman, Holland told of how the people of Enid accepted her family when they moved here and made them feel welcome and appreciated.
“What a blessing it is to live in Enid, America,” Holland said.