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Randy Norman inducted into Hall of Fame

Randy Norman inducted into Hall of Fame

By R.L.Thompson

The Okemah Hall of Fame began in 1978 with Pat Martin serving as the first Master of Ceremonies. The event was held at Oakes Elementary School. 

Durwood McCord was the catalyst behind the creation of the Okemah Hall of Fame. Chancellor Emeritus Glen Johnson who has served many years as the Master of Ceremonies for the Hall of Fame, commented as he reminisced about Durwood McCord on Saturday evening, June 17 and the beginning of the Hall of Fame in Okemah. Johnson said that Durwood never met a stranger and loved to visit. Durwood would spend hours promoting Okemah.  It was said about Durwood that   “it would take him an hour and half to watch 60 minutes.”  

Johnson recognized Bob and Connie Reilly (both Hall of Fame members) for coordinating the Hall of Fame banquet  for 36 years.  The Okemah Hall of Fame is now sponsored and coordinated by the Okemah Community Improvement Association (CIA). The banquet was organized by CIA President Carl Alls and Board member Shannon Speir. 

This year’s inductee was Randy Norman. Master of Ceremonies Glen Johnson began his remarks about Norman stating he is a great guy who always takes care of the business at hand.  He gets the job done. Johnson reminded the audience of the old saying “when it is all said and done, there is usually more said than done.”  He observed with Randy Norman, the opposite is true.  Randy is not much on conversation, but everything gets done. 

Johnson highlighted Randy’s professional career at the Department of Human Services where he spent over 30 years. Throughout that time, Randy was working for the betterment of Okemah. Randy served on the Deep Fork Community Action Board and the Okemah Jaycees. Norman went on to be the Executive Vice President of the Oklahoma Jaycees. 

Johnson noted that during his time as a State Representative from 1982 to 1996, Randy Norman was always willing to help and he was an advocate for those at the Department of Human Services who needed assistance.

Johnson quoted the following from one of the letters of recommendation for Norman. “What Randy has done as a member and President of the Woody Guthrie Coalition is unparalleled in a community like Okemah.  For several decades he has gladly committed his time and been a catalyst in creating one of the most recognized events in Oklahoma.  From a fledgling start, that bordered on bankruptcy, to a recognized “prized” event in Oklahoma, this accomplishment is nothing short of miraculous.   Randy’s passion and commitment has forged the organization and event we have today and without him and his willingness to fully engage in the needs of both, we would most likely have seen this organization and event dissolve.” Johnson noted the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival is one of the two top festivals in Oklahoma. 

Johnson noted that Randy spends his time taking care of his family, running and operating the hay farming business that was started by his parents as well as his work with T&D Meats. Randy is currently involved with the Paden FFA Chapter where he supported his grandchildren in their annual showing efforts. He is an active volunteer with the FFA Chapter. 

Randy and his wife Pam raised their three children, Miranda, Kyle and Kent in Okemah. The Norman family was named the Okfuskee County Cattlemen’s Association Farm Family of the year in 2014.

After receiving his Okemah Hall of Fame Plaque, Randy expressed his thankfulness for the honor. He spoke about his family and care for his family. He commented on those whose leadership he followed naming Don Moore, Luna Burnett and Jay Stovall. 

He discussed when the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival began 26 years ago it was not popular, however, today Okemah welcomes thousands of visitors to Okemah annually. 

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