In a few days, parents throughout Mustang will be experiencing the dual feelings of pride and nostalgia as their children pass through one door and head on to new challenges.
This year, I’ll be one of them. And, as we celebrate our son’s high school graduation, it’s a time to not only reflect on his accomplishments, but also on the blessing this school district, this community, has been in our lives.
Part of that blessing has been how our family has been able to interact with people – from city officials and staff members to business people, school district representatives, residents, even politicians. This has not just been as parent and student, but through the honor of presenting the stories of them all. And, it’s something Travis has had the benefit of, as well.
In August, I will celebrate 10 years as a journalist in Canadian County. That’s more than half of Travis’ life. As much as it has been more than a job, a career or a way to make a living, it’s become a way of life, a way to not just report on things, but also a chance to showcase the best of Mustang, Canadian County and more. It’s the people and organizations that make our community special, the way so many of those among us try to make this a better place, how they illustrate every day the kind of people I hope my son will continue to be.
That’s how a job has been so much more. Through the years, as he has grown, so too has Travis’ view of the world, and he has had a unique opportunity to learn about things even many adults don’t know about – things like city council, what county commissioners do, how organizations like the Mustang Historical Society, American Legion, Masons, Youth and Family Services (just to name a very few) do so much for so many. He has been able to take part in helping children find Easter eggs, taught people about the living history of Fort Reno, helped fry a giant burger. And, that’s just the surface.
Because, more important than anything are the people he has gotten to know, individuals he might never have even met under other circumstances. They are leaders like Jay Adams, Chuck Foley, Brian Grider, Kathleen Moon-Staples and Jeff Landrith; they are educators and advocates like Sean McDaniel, Paul Ray and Bob Hughey; they are living inspirations like Al Benson, the Cook family, Dan Cromwell, Dolly Husmann. I wish I could name them all, but there are too many – and, in a world where negativity seems to be so prevalent, that is saying a lot. The best of our extended community is a large and varied tapestry. They are the best of who were are, people who show him every day what people can achieve when they try, what true dedication is and how great a community can be when we all work together.
So, as we ready for these few hours that will mean the transition of one phase of his life to another, I thank those who have made a difference for Travis, both his past and future. And, I thank too the owners and staff of the Times, those who have made it possible for me to continue in this role, who show every day that they are committed not just to running a profitable business or reporting the news, but to being a part of what makes our community great.
The future is bright – not only for our graduates, but for all of us because we truly are blessed to be a part of the world that is Mustang, Oklahoma.