Historical society postpones ‘Heroes and Legends’ program

Robert Smith

The Osage County Historical Society has indefinitely postponed its premiere spring event, the “Heroes and Legends Fundraiser and Dinner,” which had been scheduled for May 7. This would have been the fifth year for “Heroes and Legends.”

Jerry Butterbaugh, president of the Historical Society’s board, announced in an email Friday, April 3, that the dinner will be rescheduled “when the COVID-19 Pandemic is less threatening and the ‘shelter-in-place’ regulations have been lifted.”

The Historical Society’s board of directors had already said its 2020 honorees would include the Rev. Kenneth Woodhams of Pawhuska; Osage artist Wendy Ponca of Fairfax; veterinarian Jan Johnston of Pawhuska’s Johnston Veterinary Clinic; John David Israel of Wynona, a western-goods craftsman known for his high quality spurs and bits; and the late Kenneth M. Taylor of Hominy, a decorated World War II veteran who is known for having helped to defend Pearl Harbor from aircraft launched by the Japanese fleet on Dec. 7, 1941.

“We are going to honor these people,” Butterbaugh said. “We are going to have this event, but we have to hold it when everybody’s comfortable getting out. This is a group of people all the community knows.”

He said “Heroes and Legends” will likely be “a nice celebration of old friends” when it is eventually held.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of pent-up demand,” Butterbaugh said, anticipating that people will have a great desire to see one another after being confined for a long period to avoid the coronavirus.

Had the coronavirus not made it impossible to hold the dinner as planned, on Thursday, May 7, at the Ag Building at the county fairgrounds, “Heroes and Legends” for 2020 would have consisted of a catered meal, introductions of honorees, and remarks by honorees or their representatives.

The program helps to spread knowledge of the accomplishments of distinguished residents of Osage County, and to create an historical record of the value placed on those accomplishments by the community as a whole.

Historical Society board member Garrett Hartness told the Journal-Capital that he was involved in carrying out the unfortunate but necessary tasks of canceling event preparations for May 7, such as the catering arrangement.

The 2019 honorees included artist Cha’ Tullis of Hominy, Pawhuska lawyer W. Robert Wilson, Pawhuska and Barnsdall businessman Milton Labadie, Skiatook businessman and aviation enthusiast Chester “Chet” Reyckert, and the late Mabelle Kennedy, a Pawhuska business and political figure. Wilson, a longtime Pawhuska city attorney, has passed away since the 2019 event.