Members of the Mustang Hall of Fame and the Mustang Chamber of Commerce board of directors held their annual dinner March 12.
The hall of fame members shared stories of their own contributions to the community’s growth, praised each other’s impact and rejoiced in Mustang’s way of life.
On the tables in the Town Center’s banquet hall were pictures of Robert Crout, the longtime hall of fame leader who was killed in an auto accident in the Texas Panhandle in July.
Canadian County Commissioner David Anderson emceed the event, noting that Crout had enlisted him a year ago to help take over the hall’s leadership.
“It feels surreal to be here a year later,” he said.
“I’ll do my best tonight. You guys are like family to me.”
Anderson commented on the impact of Crout as a civic leader and developer.
“He loved Mustang, and he was a champion for it,” Anderson said.
“I miss my friend. Mustang is a better place because of him.”
Anderson also reflected on growing up in Mustang, when Sara Road was a dirt road and you could buy a soft drink at Burger Run for 19 cents.
Robert Crout’s widow, Kathy, spoke about his commitment to the hall of fame.
Robert saw the hall as a club of people who had made impact since the time that everyone knew everyone else in town.
“He wanted to make sure that history would not be forgotten,” she said.
Last year’s hall of fame inductee, retired Deputy Fire Chief Roy Widmann, reflected on the honor.
“It’s been a year,” he said.
“I still can’t believe it. It’s a huge honor.”
Widmann said he moved to Mustang in 1985 specifically to join the fire department.
“I miss it, but I don’t miss getting up at 2 o’clock in the morning or 4 o’clock in the morning,” he said.
Hall member Carole Ann Hanna noted that her ancestors came to the Mustang area during the Oklahoma Land Run.
She was “visiting the family” at the Mustang Cemetery one day and was wondering who was going to tell the stories of the town’s ancestors.
That was the beginning of her work as the town’s primary historian.
“I decided, ‘you’re going to write those stories.’”
Hannah reminisced about her father, Jesse, who had been the Mustang Elementary School janitor and a bus driver.
“People still tell me what he did for them,” Hannah said.
“They say that the only reason they made it through school was through his skills in helping them.”
The group voted on this year’s hall of fame nominees. The winner will be named at the chamber’s annual banquet.
The nominees are:
• Kathy Crout, who was nominated for work in the community and her involvement with Robert Crout in developing the community.
• Nila Birchett, the drill master of the awarding-winning Canadian Valley Rangerettes equestrian drill team.
• Kevan Gentry, the owner of Gentry Services, who has held leadership positions in the Chamber of Commerce, Western Days, FFA and the Mustang Roundup Club.
• Leslie Osborn, the Oklahoma labor commissioner and a former state representative.
• Ken Carpenter, a farmer, auctioneer and real estate broker.
• Lynda McColl, who served three terms on the Mustang City Council and was a president of the chamber.
• Mike Wallace, the deputy police chief, who has held leadership positions in the fraternal order of police and the American Legion.