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Bob Usry,


it's been a long and winding road by Tory Tedder


He was kicked out of high school and never graduated.


At 18, he joined the Navy and spent two years on an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War. When he got back home, he led a rock-and-roll band playing in some very tough joints—"I played places where they searched you for a gun or a knife and if you didn't have one, they'd give you one," he recounts of his younger years—and he worked tough, too, with a motto "Never hire a man you can't whip." "I lived a wild life and had a good time—for a while,"


reflects Bob Usry, "but, then things were falling apart and I decided I wanted to be better." [50-184-011-03] For those of us who haven't always lived as we should,


Usry's story serves as inspiration. It's a good story with drama, humor, and conflict—lots of conflict—but, it comes down to seeing the person you want to be and making yourself into that person. It takes strength of mind and soul. At the age of 37, Usry was saved. He has been an active member of CrossPointe Church since 1987 and has since become an ordained minister. His was inspired by the teachings of Dale Carnegie, author of "How to Win Friends and Influence People." Te result is the Bob Usry with us today. In 1993, Usry was appointed to the board of OEC


Foundation, Inc. to establish Operation Round Up® (ORU) where he served until 2004 when he became the district 8 trustee. About his time with ORU, Usry says, "Te best part was making a difference at Christmas, because I was one of those kids who, if it hadn't been for the giving spirit of others, I would not have had a Christmas. Tat's why I like to give back now." Usry, a member of Sooner Rotary Club, cites the Rotary


Youth Leadership Awards camp (RYLA) as his most meaningful achievement. He and his wife, Ellen, established the leadership camp in their rotary district over 19 years ago and have worked together to develop it into what many regard as one of the most successful RYLA programs in the nation. "Our camp is special because we work on the heart," emphasizes Usry.


He lights up when speaking of his wife of 45 years. "She's


my bud. I'm at my best when I'm next to her," he professes. "Ellen's been with me through it all." Teir two sons, Bobby and Jaime, who both work in the


family business, Bob Usry & Sons, Inc., live in Norman and come over often with their kids to swim and play with Nanny and Papa.


Bob Usry, from top to bottom: Dec. 2012 trustee portrait by Shevaun Williams; The Usrys as Grand Marshals at the 2010 Norman Christmas Parade; Sitting in his home office at his drafting table. Photos of Ellen are placed prominately in Usry's line of sight, while a drawing of the ship he served on in Vietnam is to the left.


News Magazine 13


Co-op People


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