As we prepare for Thanksgiving, it’s a great time to simply pause and say thanks for our many blessings.

With that in mind, I will start by saying I am thankful to be surrounded by individuals that truly strive diligently to bless this community with their time, talent and support. We have seen strong and consistent growth in the Chamber of Commerce. Within the past few weeks, our membership director RL Smith has worked diligently to advocate on behalf of the city and help build the overall membership in the Chamber. In October, we secured 12 new members. The new members are: Lawton Axe Throwing, Wades Driving School, Legacy Insurance – Watson and Wade Agency, Legacy Family Chiropractic, Stanton’s Apparel, Diamondback Harley-Davidson, Schwan’s Home Service, Tropical Smoothie Café (82nd location), AT&T Portables, Kratominal, and individual supporters to include Dr. Jack Spencer and Barry Albrecht.

Mark Brace and his wonderful team at BancFirst served as host for our Breakfast B4 Business and we had 80 in attendance. It was a great opportunity to network and it highlighted one more reason we can be Lawton Proud. The professionalism is undeniable.

As well, a year ago with what started with a meeting with Chris Escobedo, has since turned into an incredibly valuable group of apartment managers meeting monthly and working together for the betterment of housing within the community. We also continue to meet monthly with our hotel general managers and we discuss topics involving tourism, occupancy and quality customer service.

I am thankful tourism activities for the Lawton area remain strong. For the month of October, we were able to host seven events/groups in Lawton, and produced 492 trackable room nights, and 7,667 reported visitors with a potential economic impact of at least $344,828.47 to the City of Lawton.

As you may recall, in September we hosted the USACI sound off-world finals. There were people visiting our community from 35 states and two countries. We know this because they registered and participated in this great event. This event set the world record for the loudest car stereo in history with a score of 215 bds. In comparison, a jet taking off is 120 dbs.

The Texas Longhorn Breeders Association held a very successful show. We had visitors from 29 states. There was over 300 head of longhorns brought in for the show. The world record as certified by the Guinness Book of World Records was set for the longest horn space for a steer. It was 11 feet, 1.8 inches. This group was so very impressed with the efforts of the Coliseum they have already booked to return to Lawton next year.

As well another proud moment was the Perfect Timing Pig Sale. The event held here in Lawton was the largest grossing pig sale in the nation. Todd Kenny’s event had a record-setting sale with sales grossing over $1,750,000. An individual pig sold for $150,000. The buyers came to Lawton from 13 states to purchase pigs.

Also, we received word that the Chamber of Commerce received the highest accreditation ever, which is five stars. We are recognized as one of three chambers to receive this level in Oklahoma, and top 3% in the nation.

We could not host these events, nor would we see the success we have seen if it were not for the great teamwork and support of this community. We have much to be thankful for in this community. The board, staff, committee members and I and my family wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving, and when you sit down to enjoy your meal, please know I am thankful for you and all you are doing to support our wonderful community. We are blessed in many ways, and I ask you to seek every opportunity to share our blessings with others.

Brenda Spencer-Ragland is president and CEO of the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce.

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