The Brag Board: Stories of Choctaw Success
This page is an opportunity for Choctaws who have made great strides toward accomplishing the vision of growing with pride, hope and success to tell of their accomplishments. If you would like to submit a success story, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Choctaw Warrior, PFC Joseph Aaron Miller, of Greeley, CO, graduated with honors on Oct. 4, from the Marine Corp Recruitment Depot in San Diego. He was awarded his promotion to PFC meritoriously and was one of only six Platoon “Honormen” out of his graduating class of 506 recruits for being his Platoon’s “Guide.”
PFC Miller achieved the unusual accomplishment of maintaining his Guide position for his entire 13-week basic training. He also received his platoon’s High Physical Fitness award, earned a perfect combat score, as well as the title of Rifle Expert. After a short leave, PFC Miller will be reporting to Camp Pendleton for additional advanced training.
PFC Miller is descended from Annie Scott, a Trail of Tears survivor, and the Beard family of LeFlore County on his father’s side and Eva Brashears, a Trail of Tears survivor, and Supreme Judge Joel Everidge on his mother’s side. His parents are Matthew “Scott” Miller and Rebecca “Beckie” Sue Davis Miller.
Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Ada Brown of Plano as justice of the 5th Court of Appeals for a term to expire at the next general election.
Brown is a civil litigator at McKool Smith PC, a former Dallas County Criminal Court judge, former prosecutor with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office and former adjunct professor at the Southern Methodist University School of Law. She is a member of the National Bar Association, J.L. Turner Legal Association, the College of the State Bar of Texas, Scribes, and the Committee for a Qualified Judiciary. She is a past board member of the Texas Public Safety Commission and Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education, past chair of the Dallas Bar Association Criminal Justice Committee and a teacher for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. She is also a member of Mensa and Connections United Methodist Church, and is a volunteer editorial columnist for the Dallas Morning News.
Brown received a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College and a law degree from the Emory University School of Law.
Read article on Gov. Perry’s Website.
By Tiffany Kirkes
I (Tiffany Kirkes) began working for the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program in September 2012. Kopps on the Run was the first business I began working with to establish a connection for On-the-Job Training (OJT) participants. Lena contacted our office with interest in learning about the programs we offer. Together we have successfully filled two positions at Kopps on the Run. I have had the privilege to get to know her and would love to share with you a little bit about Lena Kopp.
So, who is Lena? “I am a tribal member, I have some college with a lot of training and certifications from NCCER which is the National Center for Construction Education and Research. I worked construction since I graduated High School. Started as a labor and worked my way up from an Ironworker to an Iron supervisor and a boilermaker to a boilermaker supervisor. I am also a welder and have recently moved up to a Q/C which is a Quality Control Manager. All of the these things were a great achievement for me because of being a woman in the construction field; working in power plants, steel mills, paper mills, and refineries.
But, my latest achievement was starting my own business which is something I have always wanted to do. Starting a drug and alcohol collection facility was my husband’s idea and a really good one. Since my last baby who is now 10 months old, we wanted to have something where I could stay home with our 6 kids instead of me traveling off. My next goal is opening a welding school here in Hugo, OK. I am currently working on this as well.”
I feel that Lena is a valuable asset to the Choctaw Nation WIA, OJT program. She has accepted two of our participants from the OJT program to complete their training at her business. Not only has she accepted them for employment and training, but she has taught them new skills and has encouraged them to further their education. She has provided them with opportunities to obtain certificates in Psychemedics Sample Collection, Hair Collection, Urine Drug Collector, and allowing them to attend the local Kiamichi Vocational Technology center to be certified in Phlebotomy. Along with this training and skills they have also gained employment at Kopps on the Run, upon completion of the program.
Lena has took it a step further by informing many of the surrounding businesses and her colleagues with information regarding the services our office provides. In doing this it has led to multiple businesses contacting our office seeking participants to fill available positions and not always by going through the OJT program. I have also received e-mails and newspaper clippings providing me with leads to find employment opportunities for our participants still seeking employment. She also come up with the idea for me to create flyers to hang up in her office.
I have nominated Lena for her positive attitude, creative ideas, and the amazing training she provides our participants. She has fulfilled all request given with quick responses and complete dedication. I feel that she has gone above and beyond the call of duty to assist our participants and myself. I am very appreciative and truly amazed by all that she has to offer.
Jade Halliburton, from Crossett, Ark., has been selected to serve on the 2013-14 National Collegiate Agriculture Ambassador team by the National FFA Organization.
Halliburton is a sophomore studying Agriculture Education and Mass Communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Ark.
Halliburton underwent specialized training Aug. 5-9 in Greensboro, N.C., to learn how to best advocate for agriculture and agricultural education throughout the nation. Each ambassador must complete a minimum of 30 hours of presentations to businesses, schools, community groups and more. They will also facilitate seminars and workshops to audiences of all ages interested in learning more about the agriculture industry.
Together, this group of ambassadors help increase public understanding of the food, fiber and natural resources industry; promote awareness of the scientific, economical and mechanical resources needed to produce a safe and reliable food source; increase awareness of career opportunities in the agriculture industry for collegiate students and the general public and help provide growth opportunities in leadership, facilitation and the agricultural industry for the collegiate agriculture ambassador team.
Those selected as ambassadors were chosen in early July after submitting an application to the program and participating in an interview process. Each ambassador will serve a year in their role and receive a $1,000 scholarship for their efforts that can be used toward tuition and other school expenses.
The 2013-14 National Collegiate Ambassador program is sponsored by Syngenta, BASF and Cargill.
The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 557,318 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,498 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
About National FFA Organization The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 557,318 student members as part of 7,498 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. The National FFA Organization operates under a federal charter granted by the 81st United States Congress and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture. The U.S. Department of Education provides leadership and helps set direction for FFA as a service to state and local agricultural education programs. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online at www.FFA.org, on Facebook, Twitter and the official National FFA Organization blog.
Tyrone Burson, Ed.D., author of “Let Sleeping Dragons Lie,” has won the New Writers Contest hosted by Deep Sea Publishing, LLC. The title also advanced through the first round selection of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.
Burson is Choctaw through his great-grandfather and is a former linguist for the U.S. Air Force. He is also a retiree from the Air National Guard and currently teaches middle school in Alexandria, Va.
Kiley Lockett, daughter of Michael Lockett and Kathy Young of Oceanside, California, recently earned a place on the 2013-14 USA Gymnastics Trampoline and Tumbling Olympic Development National Team in Power Tumbling and Double Mini Trampoline.
Kiley won the Level 10 National Championship in Power Tumbling in her age group this year at the 2013 National Trampoline and Tumbling Championships in Kansas City, Mo. (see the Southern California Trampoline and Tumbling website or the results at the USAG website.
She was the 2013 Region 2 Champion in Power Tumbling, and is pictured with the Regional Team at the USAG website.
Kiley’s coach is Mihail Yordanov, who was a member of the Bulgarian National Power Tumbling Team. Kiley trains at Flip Force gym in San Diego.
Kiley is a scholar-athlete, who earned a 4.0 G.P.A. in school in the last two years at Lincoln Middle School in Oceanside. She is the grand-daughter of Betty (Suddath) Lockett and Jack Lockett (Jack played tight end and cornerback for the Sooners from 1949-1951 and was a member of the 1950 National Championship team). Kiley met Chief Pyle at the Choctaw meeting in San Diego last year.
Video of her tumbling at Nationals in Kansas City can be seen at links below: 8 skill pass ending in a double-back tuck: http://www.coachseye.com/Ahj1 Kiley’s last pass in the finals where she sticks to win the National Championship: http://www.coachseye.com/BiT5
Story courtesy of Wes James
On Saturday evening, Aug. 31, 2013, Choctaw Tribal Member Rich McCready and his dad, William ‘Doc’ McCready, made history in St. Joseph, Mo. They became the first father and son to be inducted into the Missouri Music Hall of Fame. At 43, Rich is also the youngest person to receive this prestigious honor. “Out of all my awards and accolades over the years, this [induction into the Missouri Music Hall of Fame] is the best one by far,” says Doc.
Rich goes on to agree with his dad that, “This is a huge honor and I’m proud to have shared this stage with my dad.” Doc and Rich join such other notables as rock and roll legend, Chuck Berry, Tenor Saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, blues guitarist Teddy Paxton and radio host Bob Heater.
Influenced by classic country music artists like Merle Haggard, Bob Wills, George Strait and his dad, Rich grew up with country music and began performing at an early age. In 1992 Rich moved to Nashville to begin his career and subsequently toured with artists such as Tracy Byrd, Toby Keith, Patty Loveless and Garth Brooks.
In 1995 Rich signed with Magnatone Records and produced his first single, “Hangin On.” His video was voted one of the top CMT 100 videos of all times. Later, in 2004, McCready’s song was adopted by TNN as the theme song for their Championship Rodeo broadcast. During 1996 and 1997, McCready had three R&R Chart hit singles and two top-forty hits on the Billboard charts. Later he made history as the first artist to have songs he wrote and recorded make it to number one on Christian Country Music Association charts three years in a row.
McCready has been nominated by the Country Music Association for Male Vocalist of the Year, Video of the Year, and Single of the Year. In addition, he has received numerous awards including the prestigious First American in the Arts Award for Musical Achievement.
Rich left Nashville in 2005 and returned home to the Seneca, Mo., area. “I wanted my children to grow up in the same environment where I grew up and attend the same schools I attended,” Rich noted. “I wanted them to share the same great experience I had.”
Rich now performs primarily in the Midwest to be close to his family, but still tours a few times during the year. He also makes regular trips to Nashville to continue co-writing songs with some of the biggest names in country music. Rich also spends a considerable amount time helping talented young artists polish their performance skills and giving them valuable advice and incite about the music business.
Doc, who was born and raised in Sand Springs, graduated from Sand Springs High School in 1955. Then went on to get his degree in chemistry and biology from Northeastern State College in Talequah, Okla., in 1962. He then moved to Kansas City, Mo., to pursue a career in periodontics. Upon receiving his D.D.S in 1966, he went on to get his degree in periodontics in 1976. He and his wife Ramona then moved to Seneca to begin practicing in nearby Joplin. Music remained his beloved avocation through it all. For more than 50 years, singer/songwriter/musician and record producer Doc McCready has performed in the four-state, Missouri/Arkansas/Oklahoma/Kansas area and in the country music capitol, Nashville.
Money was never his objective when it came to music. Paid or not paid, Doc performed for the love of performing. An outstanding singer and accomplished instrumentalist, Doc is also a member of two professional songwriter’s organizations: the Midwest Chapter - Nashville Songwriters Association and ASCAP. In 2007 one of the songs he co-wrote, “If God Wrote a Country Song,” went to number one on the Christian Country Music Association charts. His latest co-creation, “A Good Country Song,” is currently available on son Rich McCready’s latest album, “Ride On.” Doc also produced his son’s 2005 album Rich McCready.
In addition to playing and singing with his own band, Doc has also joined sessions with some of the best, well-known musicians in country music. He has also shared the stage with his own singer/songwriter/recording artist son, Rich McCready and on TNN’s Wild Horse Saloon broadcasts.
In 2004, Doc and Rich opened “McCready Recording Studio” just south of Seneca. Doc recently retired from his periodontal practice to spend more time in this state-of-the-art facility. The studio, located in a peaceful, rural setting is unique when compared to Nashville studios located in the hustle and bustle of a major city. Besides featuring the latest and best technology available, the studio also provides dormitory accommodations for singers and band members who are working on record projects. For more info about the Missouri Music Hall of Fame please visit their website.
Nikki Eagle Road, of Talihina, recently received her white coat during a special ceremony for first-year medical students at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa.
Eagle Road was one of 115 students in the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine honored during the annual White Coat Ceremony on Aug. 4. The ceremony emphasizes the importance of the doctor-patient relationship and focuses on the true meaning of the science of medicine. Student doctors also recited the Osteopathic Medicine Oath of Commitment, symbolizing their entrance into the profession.
A 2006 graduate of Talihina High School, Eagle Road is the daughter of Billy and Teresa Eagle Road, of Talihina, and the granddaughter of Velma Angel, of Talihina, and Celestine Eagle Road, of Hugo. She received her undergraduate degree microbiology and Native American studies from the University of Oklahoma in 2012.
OSU Center for Health Sciences educates and trains osteopathic physicians, research scientists and other health care professionals, with an emphasis on serving rural and under-served Oklahoma. OSU-CHS also offers graduate programs in biomedical sciences, forensic sciences and health care administration.
Seated: L-RClayton Davis, Carly Jackman, Spencer Peoples, Alexis Damron and Makenna Daniels. Back Row: L-REmily Osteen, Harlee Bailey, Janson Rose, John Jackson, Jace Hayes, Macy Watts, Matthew Osteen, Joseph Jackson, Bethani Bishop and Jason White Graduates not picturedZachary Aplin, Jared Hayes and Garrett Schulze
The STAR program awards students in 2nd through 12th grade that are Choctaw CDIB and Choctaw Tribal Members. These students receive a Wal-Mart gift card for A”s, A’s and B’s (all B’s is also recognized under this award) and perfect attendance each semester. The student can be awarded for both a grade award and perfect attendance in the same semester.
On July 18th, several members of the CNHSA staff was honored at the Area IHS Awards
• Gerrick Johnson, Talihina
• Pat Nation, Stigler
• Ame Layton, Atoka
• Tammy Williams, McAlester
• Kelly Adams, Broken Bow
• Connie Lakey, Hugo
• Sheila Rogers, Idabel
• Lori Humphreys, Poteau
• Steve McGee
Exceptional Performance Non-Clinical Award
• Going Lean
Exceptional Customer Service Award
• Gala Hotubbee
Noel first came to the WIA department in November of 2012. He was a 54 year old male; unemployed, dropped out of school, recently lost his job, temporarily disabled, and had a bad background. He seemed to very down on his luck and unhappy with his situation. He was living in Ringold, OK and at this time it was very difficult to find employment.
Choctaw Nation immediately began working on putting together a resume for him to take when applying for jobs along with a brochure informing the employer about our adult training programs. We visited websites such as choctawcareers.com and hirechoctaws.com. I also mentioned our Adult Education program that would assist him with obtaining his GED. We spoke to Emergency Assistance and LIHEAP to assist with rent and utilities. Discussed Career Development and the Career Readiness Certificate.
On his next visit Noel had expressed that he would like to become a physical therapist or PT assistant. We went over the amount of schooling and programs he would need to go through to obtain this goal. Later he decided he wanted to work on computers and rebuild them. Noel’s aspirations seemed be endless now, he was feeling as if he could do anything! He had turned in the application to Adult Education and soon after began participating in the GED classes in Broken Bow. After his second visit I noticed a change in attitude, he wanted to increase his knowledge, gain skills he never thought he could, and completely change his life around.
Mr. Gardner and I remained in contact with one another over the months. On May 7th, 2013, I received a call from him stating that he had completed the GED course, passed his test and was working the night shift at Tyson Foods, Inc. He attended his graduation in Wilburton, OK at East Central University on May 17.
His next goal was to eventually move to Durant, OK to find employment and attend the Kiamichi Technology Center. He has moved to Boswell, OK and is living with his sister until he earns enough money to move into an apartment in Durant. He and his son had been visiting the office frequently working on job searches, researched training programs, and practiced typing lessons to enhance his skills.
Due to Noel’s hard work and dedication I have recently been informed that he was hired on by the City of Durant, as a Flatbed Driver, and working full time. He also plans to attend evening classes at the Kiamichi Technology Center. He is determined to learn more every day.
On June 07, 2013 he had came in the office to visit and expressed his most sincere gratitude for the program and assistance he received. Noel had stated that when he first came into our office he was very unhappy with his life and felt there was nothing left. His mother had passed in August and his circumstances were less than satisfactory.
While in our office Noel would often joke and state that he wants an office job, in the air conditioning, and easy going. He wanted a job just like mine. But, on this day Noel stated that it had hit him last night that this job was not about sitting in the air conditioning, money, or ease of work. He understood that it was about caring for each individual situation and working hard to bring them out of that place of darkness. To help them see the light and guide them to a better life where they can stand on their own. He stated the best way for him to show is gratitude was to use the new attitude and outlook on life that he had gained and share it with others.
I know that with this newborn attitude and self confidence, Noel will achieve many great things in his life.