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Goodman says goodbye

Newly-retired sports editor recounts McMahon Foundation's impact on Lawton-Ft. Sill

Saying goodbye is never easy, especially when you love your job and the many great people who crossed your path during the past 45 years.

Today I want to talk about how everyone in Lawton, or Southwest Oklahoma for that matter, can be an advocate for this part of our great state.

Yes, we pay people at the Chamber of Commerce and the state tourism folks to tout the many great things this region has to offer, but every citizen can find their own way to be an advocate.

Granted, having a newspaper at your disposal to tout the accomplishments and good things about this region does make it a little easier for me to push various causes, however, when I first started, that was the furthest thing from my mind.

Back then, I was just worried about writing a small brief without any huge grammatical or spelling mistakes.

All of that changed when I had the honor of meeting the late Maj. Gen. James Drummond at a Lawton High School baseball game when his son Jimmy played for the Wolverines.

Maj. Gen. Drummond was an amazing man who played football for both Paul “Bear” Bryant and Vince Lombardi while playing football at West Point.

When he arrived at Fort Sill to take over command of III Corps Artillery, he loved to talk sports, and often he would show up at the newspaper in the evening to visit with Gene Thrasher and me about everything and anything.

Like many working people, Maj. Gen. Drummond often was unable to make it to LHS for those 4 p.m. baseball games. He decided to launch a campaign to get lights at the LHS diamond so the Wolverines and the local American Legion team could have a home field with lights.

Maj. Gen. Drummond, as one might expect, did a great job explaining the need, but without any funding available, the school board basically said it’s a good idea, but we just can’t do anything at this point.

That night after I had accompanied Maj. Gen. Drummond to the meeting, we came back to the office and discussed ways to further the project. He said I needed to explain the need in a future column and explore funding ideas. I penned a couple of columns that seemed to gain momentum for the effort and get the City of Lawton’s Parks and Recreation Department involved.

Not long thereafter, lights were installed at LHS, and such events as the Bo Bowman Invitational and American Legion summer ball were being played under the lights. That’s when I knew had learned a valuable lesson about using my columns in a positive way to bring about change.

Last week, while trying to organize these farewell column notes, I noticed just about every one of the events I was deeply involved with got financial assistance from the same source, the McMahon Foundation.

While those of us who have grown up in the Lawton-Fort Sill area are well aware of what the McMahon Foundation has done for our city and immediate region, young people and those who are new to Lawton have no idea just what that great group does each year to make our lives better.

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