By Rep. RICK WEST
I’ve been at the Capitol for about a month and a half now, and nothing has brought me more pride than authoring an amendment to House Bill 1149, which was passed last week in the House of Representatives.
The bill names numerous highways across the state after important people in Oklahoma’s history. I felt it was only appropriate to honor four of the bravest men from Heavener this way. Now, the portion of U.S. Highway 59 in LeFlore County beginning at the intersection of U.S. Highway 59 and State Highway 128 in Heavener extending north two miles will be designated as the “Pearl Harbor Survivor Highway.”
Doyle Winters, Jerry Roop, Donald Loe and Jay B. Vaughn served bravely when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor 75 years ago. I’ve heard survivors talk about smoke, debris and loud noises filling the sky that day.
In just 20 minutes, 44 torpedoes were dropped. Barely an hour later, a second attack occurred and further devastated our nation. I cannot fathom what it must have been like for Doyle, Jerry, Donald, Jay or the thousands of others who were on base that day. And because of their brave service, I don’t have to.
Quite frankly, naming a piece of a highway seems a bit trivial compared to the sacrifice these men made. But where words fail, I hope signs on the road serve as reminders for all of us to pay tribute to those who came before us.
I had the great pleasure of hosting the family members of Doyle, Jerry and Donald last week. Doyle’s wife, Norma Jean Winters came with their son-in-law and daughter, Ray and Pam Winters Luman. Sharon Roop Wiles and Loyce and Donna Roop Miller came to honor their father. And Pastor Phillip and Barbara Loe Routen, the daughter and son-in-law of Donald Loe, brought Daniel Pixley along to the Capitol.
I’m thankful these folks made the trek to Oklahoma City, and I hope they know what a great privilege it was for me to make the “Pearl Harbor Survivor Highway” happen.
I also hosted my first page this past week. Kelsey Janway is a senior at Heavener High School, where she is a proud member of the Choctaw Nation. She was elected governor and “Outstanding Page” for the week of March 6-9.
Pages participate in a mock session, where they practice legislative procedure including drafting, amending, and debating legislation. The outstanding page is selected by their peers for performing well in all duties on the floor as well as in the mock legislative session. It is an honor to be selected to participate in the page program, but it is an even greater honor to be recognized by peers as a hard working individual. Well done, Kelsey. You made House District 3 proud.
Remember I’m at the LeFlore County GOP Office at 1301 S. Broadway in Poteau every Friday from 9 a.m. until noon, and catch me Fridays at 7:35 a.m. on KPRV. If you want to reach me at the Capitol, you can call my office at (405) 557-7413 or email me at [email protected]. Thanks, and God bless.
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