MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

April 27, 2008

Well, I’m proud to be... ‘True’ or ‘transplanted,’ Okies celebrate Muskogee

Volunteering has been a lifelong trait of his

George Derrick’s commitment to helping others began years before he became Oklahoma’s first Peace Corps volunteer in 1962.

It continued for years after he finished his Peace Corps tour in 1963.

It continues today.

The Oklahoma Returned Peace Corps Volunteer's Association honored his lifetime of service with a plaque during National Peace Corps Week in February.

But Derrick, 68, doesn’t seek the honors.

“I believe what the Bible says — ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’” he said. “When I go help somebody, maybe the day will come when I need someone to help me. I don’t mind helping people, whether they’re young or old.”

This calling to help others has its roots in Muskogee County.

“I was raised in a community east of Oktaha, a little settlement called New Hope,” he said. “I had to ride the school bus from New Hope to Summit every morning. It came at 6:30. I had to get up at 4:30 every morning and milk cows because we sold cream. I’d ride home at five o’clock and milk cows again.”

The farm family knew the meaning of community.

“My dad and mom always helped when there was someone in the neighborhood in need,” Derrick recalled. “When we got old enough to help, they’d send us. If someone needed food, we’d take them food. If they needed wood cut, we’d go out and we’d cut wood. Whatever it was that we needed to do, we’d go help.

By the time he graduated from Langston with a degree in agricultural economics, Derrick learned about a new program that allowed him to combine his expertise and education with his desire to help others.



First foray to help the disadvantaged

John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961 as an independent government agency aimed to send volunteers to developing countries.

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