The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 3, 2013

This year’s Pillar of the Plains list is very impressive

Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — The honorees for this year’s Pillar of the Plains have been announced, and it’s an impressive list.

Gary Lee Kirtley gave nearly 50 years of his life to education as a teacher, principal and district administrator. Since his 2003 retirement as assistant superintendent of Enid Public Schools, Kirtley has been summoned back several times for short-term assignments that have turned out to be anything but brief.

Martie Oyler, regional manager of Oklahoma Natural Gas, has been involved in many activities and helped a number of Enid organizations in the last quarter century. Oyler has been a valuable supporter of education. As a member of the 2010 bond committee, she helped develop the plan and was a public face for the campaign.

Dr. David Russell has served the medical community for more than four decades, including more than 30 years in Enid, and he continues today to serve in leadership positions for the medical profession, civic organizations, educational foundations and his church.

Last, but not least, brothers Rick and Larry Simpson are honorees. The Simpsons co-own Simpson’s Old Time Museum. As well as acting as historians with an encyclopedic knowledge of Western and cowboy lore, the two are accomplished filmmakers with their production company, Skeleton Creek Productions.

The Enid News & Eagle, along with community partners, created the Pillar of the Plains award to honor local people who have been active in the community. These individuals have taken on tasks and projects to better the quality of life in our community.

Enid and northwest Oklahoma have so many talented individuals who give their time and service to the community.

Each year, we have outstanding honorees for this special recognition.

This year’s recipient will be announced Jan. 10 at a ceremony at Convention Hall.

Past Pillar of the Plains winners are Doug Frantz, Bert Mackie, Lee Thompson, Janet Cordell, Lew Ward, Dr. Charles Ogle, Becky Cummings, Dr. Jerry Blankenship and April Danahy.

We enjoy being able to highlight community service. We feel it is part of our job as a newspaper to tell the stories of our people.

Without these volunteers, we wouldn’t enjoy the quality of life we have today.