MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

July 16, 2014

Couple marry aboard Batfish

Departing park director weds friend from high school

Retired USS Batfish War Memorial Park Director Rick Dennis had one final task on the submarine Wednesday — to get married.

Dennis, who spent seven and a half years as director, stood on top of the World War II submarine Wednesday morning and exchanged vows with Jane Pruitt of Tucson, Ariz.

Marriage is a main reason Dennis cited for leaving his position. He said he is preparing to move to Tucson to be with his new bride.

“There’s no job settled there, yet,” Dennis said, adding that he plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in history. He said he will continue working with the Batfish as historian.

Jane Dennis, who works with Molina Healthcare, said she and Rick Dennis attended high school together. However, it wasn’t until a few years ago that they renewed their friendship through Facebook, she said.

During Rick Dennis’ tenure, the Batfish received new lighting, new footings and a mooring line. In 2013, the City of Muskogee Foundation granted funding for improvements to the museum’s Walk of Honor as well as a media and video system.

The War Memorial Park’s new director is Brent Trout of O’Fallon, Mo.

“We’re very excited to see him come in,” Dennis said. “I look forward to seeing the Batfish continue to grow and flourish as he moves on.”

Trout, 32, is a graduate of Northwest Missouri State University, where he served as an intern at the Nodaway County Historical Society. He also worked with special collections and artifacts at the university’s B.D. Owens Library.

He said he likes the size and oversight of the USS Batfish.

“I love to do a lot of things,” Trout said. “I like how I can do collection stuff, I can do archiving stuff, I can do marketing. Coming from a small historical society, my mentor, Dr. Steiner, said you have to be a jack-of-all-trades. I find that when I can do multiple things, it holds my interest. This site in particular, it’s an amazing place to be at.”

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

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