The first community-wide Honors Campaign was launched May 8 by the Newkirk 4-H Club when an initial 8 of 26 local veteran volunteers participated in round one of interviews.
An Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame ambassador who met with the participating 4-H members the day before used the example of an Airborne paratrooper to illustrate what they might encounter when interviewing local veterans. When the speaker pointed out that the 4-H participants role was similar to airborne “Pathfinders” for the Honors Campaign, the youngsters liked the comparison so much that it was decided they would officially be called Pathfinders in the program.
Of those interviewed May 8, one was a WWII veteran and the rest were Vietnam era vets. A majority of those interviewed the first day were combat veterans. The next round of interviews is scheduled for June 13, according to volunteers working on the campaign.
Participating veterans previously had been given handouts explaining the nature of the Honors Campaign program along with the interview questions. Each veteran will receive a CD containing the video-recorded interview to share with family and friends. Follow up sessions will involve the young 4-Hers in discussions of what they learned in the process and what is involved in military service.
A community event is planned at the end of the summer to recognize the 4-H members and the veterans.
The northern Oklahoma town of Newkirk is likely one of the
most patriotic communities in the nation, at least based upon the activities of
a number of the residents there. An example of one such activity is
participation by a group of young 4-H club members in what is known as an
The Honors Campaign Program was launched by the Oklahoma
Military Hall of Fame to recognize greater numbers of veterans across the state
and to help Oklahoma’s youth better understand what it means to serve our
nation through military service.
“I am really excited about this project,” noted Karen Dye, a
local historian and key mover and shaker for the effort. “I think it is
important to connect our students with men and women who protected our country.
It is quite possible they may each have a relative that served in this
capacity. When we did a presentation on the land run, we found that to be the
Dye added that if the number of potential interviews becomes
too much for the 4-H club’s 6th through 8th graders,
other youth from Newkirk’s Jed Cord Students club 9th through 12th
graders may be recruited to help out.
“The club was named after a great young man from Newkirk,
Jed Hartley, who died in Iraq serving in the US Army,” said Dye, adding, “Club
members pledge to contribute 100 hours of community service during their high
2019 is the Honors Campaign “pilot” year and so
far Memorial and Booker T. Washington High Schools in Tulsa are also participating
through the Junior ROTC programs there. The 4-H club in Newkirk is planning for
this to be a community-wide effort carried out this summer. All veterans are
being identified for video interviews by the 4-Hers.
Librarian Marcina Overman has offered the use of Newkirk’s
public library facilities to host the student/veteran interviews, which could
number quite a few. The video-recorded interviews will be given to the veterans
as well as featured on a new internet site established by the Oklahoma Military
Hall of Fame.
Other communities are invited to become involved this year,
and Honors Campaign planners prepared this message as the first of a series of
newsletters to go to key participants, and with your permission will include
you in the recipient list. Thank you for your interest. Below is a description
of the Honors Campaign program from the web site www.okhonorscampaigns.org:
“Honors Campaigns are special community-based efforts to recognize local military veterans that are organized and managed by middle- and high-school students. Supported by the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame through its Ambassador program, an individual student, or a group such as a classroom, a 4-H or similar club, plans and carries the campaign through to its completion. A campaign may range from a single student interviewing a veteran, perhaps a family member, to a special recognition ceremony for veterans complete with book-length publications and internet sites. Awards and other recognition are presented to students for their work.”
Oklahoma's Youth Honoring their State's Military Veterans