, Muskogee, OK

Local News

April 21, 2013

Construction veteran helps kids build lives

— Dan VanKirk begins each workday before 6 a.m., then drives dozens of kids to school. Each afternoon, he drives the kids home, usually finishing before 4:30 p.m.

Between those times, he can be found helping out at the Muskogee Teen Center, 322 Callahan St.

As a school bus driver and Teen Center helper, VanKirk, 66, observes that it “seems like everything I do I do with kids.”

His wife, Eileen VanKirk, is the director of the Teen Center and Muskogee’s Youth Volunteer Corps.

“I’m always promoting this teen center,” Dan VanKirk said. “A lot of these kids came here as bullies, but they’re not bullies anymore. I’ve seen a lot of kids change.”

However, involvement with kids isn’t the only thing that keeps VanKirk going. He also enjoys gardening and doing things on the computer.

“I’ve got to have something to do,” he said. “If you don’t have something to do every day, you’re going down the wrong road.”

 VanKirk has been keeping himself busy ever since he graduated from Muskogee’s Central High School in 1965.

“Right out of high school, I went to work at a lumber yard and when that was over — when my day was done — I would go do construction,” he said. “I had several houses going. I’d work to dark every day.”

He stayed in the construction business for 35 to 40 years.

“I worked for Ricketts. We did a lot of telephone work and school work,” he said.

He also worked for a restaurant chain and built Taco Bueno restaurants in Enid, Sand Springs and Sapulpa.

VanKirk uses his construction experience at the Teen Center. He has helped the youths build cardboard boats for the annual River Rumba Regatta and a picnic table for the YVC.

Meet Dan VanKirk

AGE: 66.

HOMETOWN: Muskogee.

CAREER: Bus driver, Muskogee Public Schools; former construction worker.

EDUCATION: Central High School, 1965; some college and technical courses.

FAMILY: Wife, Eileen; seven children, 12 grandchildren.


HOBBIES: Gardening.

Text Only
Local News
AP Video
US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

     View Results
Featured Ads

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.