When I got engaged, my editor at The Lawton Constitution talked me into writing a column – excuse me, a series of columns. The purpose: Documenting milestones to the wedding.
I turned her down initially.
Aside from my mother, my fiancé and perhaps my unborn children, I told her that I couldn’t imagine anyone else caring about a Lifestyles reporter at a local newspaper getting ready to exchange vows. I’d be taking up half-pages in vain.
“You’d be surprised,” she said, “I think you should think about it.”
A week after my first column was published (because when an editor nudges, you scoot), fan mail arrived. A gift saw its way to my desk in month six. Somewhere around month three or four, a complete stranger offered to loan me her wedding dress for the big day.
It was mind-blowing. Stirring. Completely endearing. And I have to say now that I’m not sure why I was ever surprised.
This is Lawton. This is who we are – a community built on compassion, empathy, ever-evolving partnerships. We look out for each other, we take care of one another; we believe in constant acts of kindness, checking in, wishing good luck, handwriting thank-you notes. The give-you-the-shirt-off-my-back saying? It was definitely inspired by a Lawtonian.
In my 26 years of life here, I’ve been afforded many unique and wonderful opportunities – from brainstorming the design of Kid’s Zone at Greer Park to delivering the keynote at the dedication ceremony for Cameron University’s Academic Commons building and now becoming the first Community Relations Director for the City of Lawton. These achievements and the many life lessons and adventures in between could not have been possible without the kindhearted and ambitious leaders of this city. They constantly work with the future of Lawton in mind and now, more so than ever, the fruits of their labor are starting to be seen.
With the rise of young leadership through organizations such as Young Professionals of Lawton, the more than $85 million dollars worth of construction projects currently in progress and the recent passing of educational increases by vote that underscore the importance of academics in our area, our City on the Move shows great promise.
Quality of life items – sidewalks, recreational projects and youth programs – are emerging regularly to not only beautify Lawton but to foster a greater sense of community and identity, as well as educate citizens in various facets.
For the second year, Lawton has been designated as an Oklahoma Excellence Certified Healthy Community, due to its commitment to promote wellness and healthy behaviors through events such as Lawton Fort Sill Open Streets. Our collaborations with Fort Sill, Lawton Public Schools and local nonprofits showcase our community-minded initiatives and further our development because we are truly stronger together.
Public Safety, Field Utilities and Water/Wastewater endeavors have earned Lawton a “Class 1” ISO rating for the first time ever – an honor bestowed to only 3 cities in Oklahoma and only 241 cities nationwide. Other accolades this past year have included an Oklahoma Asphalt Pavement Association award and the opening of Lawton’s first CNG fueling station.
There’s 101 reasons to be Lawton Proud and we aim to build off of that legacy each day, as a community. No matter your profession, standing, age or title – you are contributing to our history and have the chance to make a real impact on the city in which you live, work and play. I hope you choose to take part and get involved, ask questions and seek partnerships with the many individuals who also wish to grow and improve Lawton. There’s a world of excitement, discovery and opportunity right in your own backyard.
It’s yours for the taking.