Eastern alumni recognized for service and accomplishments during annual Homecoming event
WILBURTON, OK (Nov. 5, 2013) – Eastern Oklahoma State College recognized outstanding alumni for their service and accomplishments at the college’s annual awards dinner during Homecoming festivities last week in Wilburton.
Dr. Delana Taylor McNac, a 1980 Eastern graduate, was inducted as the 30th member of the EOSC Alumni Hall of Fame. McNac’s mother encouraged her to attend Eastern because she knew her young daughter wasn’t mature enough to attend a large university straight out of high school.
“She sent me to Eastern so that I would have a chance to grow up and become a much more responsible young lady before I took on the challenge of a four-year college,” McNac said. “What I found here were good friends, excellent instructors that believed in me and my dream, and whose teaching and encouragement supported me through that hard-fought journey to veterinary school.”
McNac has had a varied and successful career. She was a veterinarian for several years before earning a counseling degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and pursuing a career as a hospice chaplain in Tulsa. It was her experience working with hospice patients that inspired her to take a risk on a project that has become her life’s work.
“I have listened to the stories of the dying and if I have learned anything, it’s that we better live because you don’t want to be sitting there talking about what you wish you would have done,” McNac told the audience at her Hall of Fame induction. “Those many people have inspired me to take risks, to go out and do things that I wouldn’t have had the courage to do as that shy kid back at Eastern. I can always watch TV in the nursing home, so I go out and do things that sometimes are risky and Pet Peace of Mind was one of those.”
In 2007 as director of spiritual care with Hospice of Green Country in Tulsa, McNac developed Pet Peace of Mind, a program designed to keep hospice patients with their pets. The program provides veterinary care, grooming, pet food, volunteers to help care for pets, and a place to rehome the pets after the patient dies. The program model was expanded nationally through Banfield Charitable Trust and McNac currently serves as the national program manager. Through her work, Pet Peace of Mind has been adopted by 77 program partners in 33 states.
Bradley Boles, a 2004 Eastern graduate, was honored with the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award. A graduate of Marlow High School, Boles was a member of the Mountaineer baseball team and was recognized as a NJCAA Academic All-American during his time at Eastern.
“I just thought I was coming here for a two-year stint to get where I was going to go, which was a Division I university,” Boles said. “I had no idea what Eastern would mean to my life.”
Boles said he met many people at Eastern who have had a lasting influence on his life, including lifelong friends, faculty and his future wife, Michelle. Boles said when he moved to Wilburton, he learned how to be independent for the first time.
“When I came to Eastern, I didn’t know one person. Living on your own, it really helped me grow up as a person. I feel like those values and the things I learned at Eastern, I’ll have them with me the rest of my life,” Boles said. “Eastern will always have a very important piece of my heart.”
Boles is the president of Wilco Manufacturing in Marlow. Under his leadership, the family business has been ranked by Inc. Magazine as No. 11 in the Top 100 Oklahoma Companies and No. 30 in the Top 100 Fastest Growing Private Manufacturing Companies in the United States, making it the top ranking Oklahoma private manufacturing company in the list.
Two other awards were also presented at the Homecoming Dinner. Bill Miller of Wilburton received the Distinguished Former Faculty award, an award that honors individuals who have demonstrated dedication and achievements in the teaching and mentoring of Eastern students. Miller taught drafting at Eastern from 1975-2000 and served as the chair of the Technical Division. Since his retirement, Miller has stayed active at Eastern and volunteers regularly within the athletic department.
The Forwoodson family of Wilburton were also honored with the Heritage Award in recognition of the family’s profound impact on the history of Eastern. The Forwoodson family has several generations of Eastern graduates and a long history of supporting the college. DeRoy Forwoodson, a 1957 graduate, accepted the award on behalf of the family. DeRoy’s wife, Lou, and all three of the Forwoodson children, Tim, Todd and Kim, graduated from Eastern, as did several of their grandchildren. In all, 12 members of the immediate Forwoodson family have attended or graduated from Eastern. DeRoy also served on the EOSC Foundation Board of Directors and created an endowed scholarship for Eastern pre-pharmacy majors from Latimer County.
Eastern President Dr. Stephen E. Smith (far right) gathers with the 2013 EOSC Homecoming Award honorees including (left to right) Bradley Boles, Outstanding Young Alumnus Award; DeRoy Forwoodson, representing the Forwoodson family for the Heritage Award; Dr. Delana Taylor McNac, the 30th member of the EOSC Alumni Association Hall of Fame; and Bill Miller, the Distinguished Former Faculty Award.