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Continued from page 15


More than Aloe: Edna’s Legacy In an interview with Oklahoma Living magazine in 2006, Edna shared that her general philosophy in life was, “I don’t have to, I get to. Every choice in life is an opportunity, not an obligation.” She wrote a book in 1986, titled I Don’t Have To, I Get To. Edna believed that everyone was presented with opportunities and should make the most of them. “You know, a little dirt never hurt anyone,” Odus says, chuckling. “She believed there was no job beneath anyone, and every job was important.” Personally, Odus credits his mother for much of his work ethic, leadership skills, and personal growth. Through his mother’s influence, Odus took a self-improvement class called the Dale Carnegie Course. The students attending the course voted on the class winners. Edna had previously taken the course and re- ceived second place. This course aimed at helping participants to improve their sales skills, assertiveness and confidence level. She knew the course would only help her teenage son in his career and life. Odus took the course and received first place. “When I came to show to her my certificate of first place, she just started crying,” Odus remembers with teary eyes. “She was just so proud I had ‘beat’ her. She was always very reluctant to accept any awards herself, but she would bend over backwards to recognize someone else’s accomplishments.”


With his leadership skills—and with his mother’s influence and support behind him—Odus was a prominent player in the recent revitalization of the town of Medicine Park, which was in decaying condition years ago and is now a vibrant tourist spot in southwest Oklahoma.


Edna’s many other accomplishments include U.S. Small Busi- ness Administration’s Oklahoma Small Business Exporter of the Year, regional Woman in Business Woman Business Owner of the Year, first woman to be inducted into the Oklahoma Commerce and Industry Hall of Honor, and most recently, in 2009, she was inducted into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame, among many other awards and recognitions.


However, to Odus and to the many others she has touched, the legacy she left was that “life is not about making money but about helping people. You do what you can to help others; and in the process, you will succeed as well. It will not make a difference what you did in life, as long as you were happy while doing it.”


Editor’s Note: As a personal friend of the Hennessee family, I was unable to attend Edna’s funeral. The day of her funeral fell on Oklahoma Liv- ing’s deadline with the new printer, and I could not get away. When I apologized to Odus for my absence, he said, “If my mother was alive, she would have told you that you did the right thing for honoring your work. That was just who she was.” OL


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