Creek Nation chief is guest of Okmulgee Lions

By DEAN CRAIG

Okmulgee Lions

 

Whoever said it's not nice to fool Mother Nature must have known what they were talking about, but the Okmulgee Lions Club didn't have to fool her because we purposely plan local programs for these winter months, and Tuesday was a good example of why--the possibility of freezing drizzle.  But that didn't deter a good crowd of Lions to hear our speaker, Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief James R. Floyd.  Lion Beth Flud was the Program Chair but she had prevailed upon her husband, Mike Flud, to introduce the Chief because he has spent the major portion of his life involved with and for the Creek Nation.  A special invited guest was Muscogee (Creek) Nation Council member James Jennings, who has sponsored the Lions Club's appearance before the Council for the past several years to obtain permission to operate our project of selling fireworks on Highway 75 on Tribal land.  This project has been a saving grace for our club because we could not make budget on two pancake days per year.  By the way, the next pancake day is March 6, so make plans to attend (and bring a friend or ten) for some of our scrumptious pancakes.

Chief Floyd is a 1970 graduate of Eufaula High School, earned an Associate Degree from OSU, graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration from Northeastern State University, and earned a Masters of Public Administration/Health Administration from Portland State University in Oregon.  He completed post-graduate training at the University of North Carolina and the Brookings Institute.

Chief Floyd's career spans more than 35 years of public service - 28 years of federal service and 23 years in the Senior Executive Service.  He served in the Department of Health and Human Services for 10 years at the Portland, Oregon Area Indian Health Service where he served as Area Director before transferring to the Department of Veterans Affairs.  While heading the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, he coordinated federal health support for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.  In 2015, he was awarded the American College of Healthcare Executive's Regent's Lifetime Achievement Award for demonstrating "leadership ability...and innovative and creative management".

Floyd was elected Chief of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in November 2015, taking office on January 1, 2016, leading the nation's fourth largest tribe with 85,000 members.  In just two short years, major advancements in health care, education and training programs, restoration of the historic Council House in downtown Okmulgee, pending openings of the Okemah Hospital and Eufaula Clinic, establishing a 16-bed geriatric unit in the former Okmulgee Memorial Hospital for everyone, upgrading the former Country Club to house the Cultural Center for Research, plans for the industrial site property, additions to the 40-acre Omniplex grounds, and upcoming designs for a citizens' cemetery that would meet the burial needs "for the next 100 years".

The Chief and the Council were given a "BIG THANK YOU" for the resurfacing and widening of Mission Road.  As a side-note: The River Spirit Resort in Tulsa is a "whole 'nother story", and Pat Crofts, the River Spirit CEO and one of seven 2017 Tulsa World's "Tulsans of the Year", will be our program for March 13, and it is simply amazing of the economic impact the construction and operation of the resort has had on all of eastern Oklahoma.  All of these accomplishments have earned Chief Floyd recognition just last month by "Oklahoma Magazine" as one of the top five leaders in the state.

As you can see, a lot of positive events are occurring continuously within the tribe, and the Chief has made known their implicit desire to work with all entities in Okmulgee, such as the Chamber of Commerce, Mainstreet, OSUIT, Green Country, OADC, etc.  Both Lion Heather Sumner (Mainstreet Director) and Lion Kay Rabbitt-Brower (C of C Director) were in attendance.

What an uplifting program!  But regardless of anything, Okmulgee still remains the only city in the world that can claim headquarters for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.  See what you missed out on by not attending our meeting?  Don't do it again!  Give us a visit and maybe you can become a member of one of seven original founding Lions Clubs in Oklahoma 100 years ago.  Of course, none of us were here 100 years ago, and I don't believe in reincarnation--I didn't believe in it the last time I was here, either! "WE SERVE".

 

 

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