Kim Jaquez has documents confirming her as an Okie from Muskogee.
“I actually have an 'Okie From Muskogee' certificate that my grandfather signed when he was mayor, back in 1971-72,” Jacquez said. “We all have one, but my mom doesn't know where they are, an 'Okie From Muskogee' certificate and a key to the city that my grandpa gave all of us grandkids when he was mayor.”
Jacquez' grandfather was Elmo Madewell, mayor from 1970 to 1972.
“He kind of lit a fire under me to be a proud Okie and to really try to do everything to make this town the best it can be.”
Jacquez has shown her Okie from Muskogee community spirit in many ways, even at Muskogee High School. She was active in the MHS concert choir and Tuxedo Junction show choir. She continues to be active in the reunion planning committee for her Muskogee High School class.
She worked for what is now Refresco (Whitlock) beverage bottling company for 25 years. However, she said the job didn't give her much time to get involved with the community.
Her current job as Port of Muskogee office manager and events coordinator has opened doors for Jacquez.
"I have joined the women's leadership team at the Chamber of Commerce, which I love," she said.
She also is on the City of Muskogee Foundation's Quality of Life Committee, the Lake Area United Way.
"I'm looking into other civic organizations to join," she said.
Jacquez spent four years with the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.
"I had coworkers who were diagnosed with cancer, one, specifically who was at our Florida location when I worked at Whitlock," she said. "She kind of inspired us to start a team. She has since passed away."
A strong bond
Kim Jacquez recalled a close-knit class in high school, even with some 400 students.
"When I was in junior high, we had AR (Alice Robertson) and West (Junior) High," she said. "It's kind of a fun thing we joke about. Having the two junior highs back then, and when we got together as seniors, everybody bonded and we all made friends. It was no longer AR and West High. We were all Roughers."
Jacquez recalled classmate Major Ron Milam, who was working at the Pentagon when terrorists planes attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.
"He was one of the nicest people you could ever meet, very caring. He was a great guy," Jacquez said. "We try to honor him every way we can."
She said she participates in the Walk to Remember 9/11 each year to honor him.
Jacquez has organized nearly every Class of 1986 reunion.
"In 2016, our 30-year reunion, we decided to have it during Homecoming instead of a summer event. Since 2016, every year at Homecoming, we have quite a few come to town and we have a little mini-reunion and a tailgate. We get together and hang out at the football game."
She said her class still feels like a family.
"It's like we're really tight," she said. "I don't know what the bond is there, but I wouldn't trade it for anything."
Jacquez also has kept singing since high school.
"It started with my grandpa being a minister. He actually created an album," she said. "And I've been singing in church for as long as I can remember. Someone would prop me on a chair by the pulpit and I would sing."
However, she said she was shy until she got into junior high and high school.
"Choir director Bill Hearn pulled it out of me, brought me out of my shell and gave me the confidence to sing," she said. "He could see behind the shy girl. I didn't ever want to sing a solo and he called me out one day to sing in class with 100 kids. I got a standing ovation after that."
She said that incident changed her.
Other mentors also helped.
"Jan Freeman — we sang in church together and she let me sing with her on the radio show back in the day," Jacquez said. "My aunt, Micki Madewell, was a vocalist who inspired me."
Jacquez now joins the praise team and sings solo at Boulevard Christian Church.
"I love it," she said. "If I can lift people up, that's my dream. If I see people smile and worship along with me, you can't get any better than that."
Becoming a bigger
part of community
Jacquez said community involvement is in her blood.
"I'm just so proud of this town, and it's very important for me to keep moving forward," she said. "I know a lot of people say Muskogee doesn't have anything to offer. Me being in the position I'm in now, I see it so much more, so many things involved and people putting their best foot forward. It's important for me to be a part of that."
She said Port of Muskogee Industrial Development Director Marie Synar "created a job for me, needing an office manager and events coordinator to help her out."
"And it's just worked out perfect," she said. "It has opened up my eyes to see how much work goes into a community. I am so blessed to be a part of it."
She said she wants future generations to stay in Muskogee and be part of the workforce.
Jacquez said her job at the Port propelled her to get involved in community groups.
"I knew there was always people working behind the scenes," she said. "But I never knew what all there was until I got into this position now. Marie has opened up doors to be involved in things I want to be a part in."
HOW DID YOU COME TO BE AN OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE?
"My family has been here for maybe four generations. I was born and raised here. I never really thought about leaving because I love it so much."
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT MUSKOGEE?
"I love the hometown feel of it. I think I just love the friendliness of everyone. I love going out and seeing people and meeting people and hearing stories about other people. I love to promote Muskogee. It's my hometown. I'm very very proud of it."
WHAT WOULD MAKE MUSKOGEE A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE?
"Main thing is getting this bond issue passed. (Muskogee Public Schools bond issue for $110 million.) I think we need to invest a little to help grow Muskogee. I think our kids and our citizens deserve to have the best, just like everybody else does. We have a lot going for us, and I think we need to show it off."
WHAT PERSON IN MUSKOGEE DO YOU ADMIRE MOST?
"My mother, Kathy Springfield. She's everything to me. She's a working mom growing up. She taught me how to respect others, do good for everybody. She puts everybody before herself. She's a great role model for me, always involved in the community."
WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE THING TO HAPPEN TO YOU IN MUSKOGEE?
"Having all my family here. 9/11 was a big impact for my class. We've lost a lot in our class. My school years were so memorable, all of them because my class was so close. I remember a lot about junior high and high school years."
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
"Lately I haven't had very much. I love to go on road trips with my family, just local things around. We just go out and drive. We like to go to wildlife reservations out around Sallisaw. I love to shop, go to the local boutiques around."
HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP MUSKOGEE IN 25 WORDS OR LESS?
"Friendly hometown, exciting. There are so many new things coming around."
Meet Kim Jacquez
EDUCATION: Grant Foreman Elementary, Alice Robertson Junior High, Muskogee High School Class of 1986.
PROFESSION: Office manager/Events coordinator for Port of Muskogee.
FAMILY: Husband, Randall; daughter, Journey.
CHURCH: Boulevard Christian Church.
HOBBIES: Shopping, singing, spending time with family.