Dr. Jay Falkner, president of Carl Albert State College, lives in Poteau and has traveled throughout the state and across the nation, but Sallisaw holds a special place in his heart.
And he envisions continued prosperity for the community.
“ This city is one of my favorite places in the entire world,” he told those attending Wednesday‚s monthly chamber of commerce luncheon at Ruger‚s Grill. “Every time I‚m here, it just feels like there‚s more and more growth, not only with the city of Sallisaw, but there‚s more and more opportunities for us to serve. That‚s the message of the day. How can we serve?
“What we‚ve found is, as this city continues to thrive and grow âÂ€Â” and you‚ve got amazing leaders âÂ€Â” what we see is, through the partnership of great leadership in those roles, the partnership with what we see Cherokee Nation is doing, how we‚re workin‚ with the local K-12 school, we‚re so excited.”
But Falkner says the success communities achieve is not by accident. “It‚s no secret formula, it‚s just hard work, it‚s just dedication by folks to make communities better. There‚s no special formula of why we‚re successful. It‚s the folks that we work with every day, work that‚s happening behind the scenes.”
In his six years as president of the community college with campuses in Sallisaw and Poteau, Falkner knows that working together is key to achieving success.
“It takes individuals who work collectively, and then they put those efforts together to build a next generation of power and leadership, a force to try to help people, that‚s what matters most,” he told the chamber members. “ That‚s who we are. That‚s the magic pill of Carl Albert. We are proud to be in the communities that we serve, and we‚re part of the communities that we serve. Servitude leadership is who we are, and that‚s what we do.
“I am so thankful for this community. These kinds of relationships and these kinds of chambers and these kinds of collaborations, they don‚t exist elsewhere the way that they do here.”
And as any good educational administrator is prone to do, he issued several challenges to his audience, and told them what they can expect if they‚re up to the challenges.
“One of my challenges today, I want everyone to think about as they leave this lunch today: Don‚t take this for granted,” he said, referring to Sallisaw and what the community offers and what it can accomplish. “You need to self-reflect, because this community is beautiful âÂ€Â” the way we can break bread together and talk about planning events to help all ages of folks, to make the world better for them âÂ€Â” that is beautiful. It doesn‚t exist all over. I want you to self-reflect, to thank the leadership that you have, ‚cause you‚ve got amazing leaders. Don‚t take this for granted. I‚ve been to a lot of other communities, and they aren‚t like this one. I‚m so thankful for it.”
Then he set his sights to lofty heights, and willed the chamber members to be all they can be, to do all they can do.
“ Take what we‚re doin‚ now, and let‚s see how far we can push it and expand it. The sky‚s the limit. We will accomplish what we allow ourselves to âÂ€¦ together, collectively. That doesn‚t happen everywhere. In this community, not only is it happening, but it can push us to a stratosphere that we‚ve never imagined.
“When you leave here, selfreflect. Think about the things that we take for granted,” he said in parting. “And let‚s see what we can do together to change the world and make it a better place, because we have the people in this room with the resources to do so.”
Member of the month
Akins BBQ, Convenience & Feed Store was honored Wednesday as the Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce‚s Member of the Month for September.
The store, which has been the hub of the Akins community for generations, was purchased by Seth and Brooke Lattimore on Dec. 1, 2020, with a vision to make the store a local âÂ€Â” and eventually regional âÂ€Â” destination for food and fun.
The store carries traditional convenience store fare âÂ€Â” snacks, candy, unique bottled soft drinks and cold adult beverages âÂ€Â” as well as seasonal plants and feed for a variety of livestock and pets. But what is the biggest draw for the store is barbecued meats âÂ€Â” slow-smoked brisket, juicy pulled pork, fall-off-the-bone ribs and smoked bologna âÂ€Â” accompanied by sides that include beans, loaded potato salad and zesty jalapeÃ±o coleslaw.