When I decided to run for OU student body president, I did not know that my campaign manager Tim and running mate Michael would have connections to my hometown. Tim’s father was stationed at Fort Sill for a few years, and his family helped establish a local childcare facility, Children of Joy Learning Academy. Michael had never been to Lawton before, so I invited him to visit during our summer break. I wanted him to meet my parents at their dry cleaning business, Class A Cleaners, and we were all surprised to learn that Michael’s older brother, who had also been stationed at Fort Sill, frequently visited this dry cleaners.
Upon reflection, I believe these unexpected personal connections demonstrate the powerful idea that there is more that unites us than divides us. Our service-oriented citizens and our forward-thinking organizations are what make me Lawton Proud. With respect to Lawtonians, we are an extremely unique community when compared to the rest of our state. There are so many individuals who have a connection to Fort Sill and the military. I myself am the son of Korean immigrants who wanted to pursue the American Dream and decided to open a dry cleaners to help our men and women in uniform. Growing up in Lawton Public Schools (LPS), I met numerous educators who helped me become a better leader and scholar. Two years ago, I committed to helping LPS with promoting information on social media regarding the $99.5 million Student Investment Program, which I am grateful that we all came together to pass overwhelmingly. Working in the Lawton City Manager’s office gave me the opportunity to meet incredible Lawtonians who work in our municipal government. These are the folks who work behind-the-scenes to ensure city operations are fully functional and efficient. They are the definition of public service.
Overall, our “Lawton Advantage,” as Goodyear calls it, is the strength and resilience of our citizens. The Lawton Advantage is even stronger because of the forward-thinking organizations that empower the next generation of leaders. Two of these groups that I have been involved in are Young Professionals of Lawton (YPL) and Leadership Lawton Fort Sill (LLFS). YPL’s mission is to build a network of young career bound professionals who will invest in our community. Through networking events and service days, I have enjoyed meeting other young Lawtonians who are passionate about service. I am a graduate of LLFS Class XXVIII, and throughout one year, I became acquainted with leaders from various walks of life. Together, we helped Hearts That Care Health Clinic and learned to understand the value of having a long-term vision. YPL and LLFS are just two of many phenomenal organizations in our community.
I am proud to call Lawton my hometown. As Lawtonians, we are united by our common purpose to serve our fellow citizens and proactively invest in the next generation. Let’s always remember who we are and move forward together with optimism and humility.