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Powerful Living


Lighting the Way


Kiwash’s manager of operations serves both co-op and congregation By C.E. Carson


Roy Dewees is Kiwash Electric’s director of operations and the minister at Calvary Baptist Church in Cordell, Okla. Photo by James Pratt


By Magen Howard T


he fi rst fi ngers of morning sunlight have just begun to stretch over the horizon, bathing freshly tilled fi elds on the edge of Cordell, Okla., in tangerine and coral hues. It is a new day, and Roy Dewees is already at work. Not at his day


job as director of operations for Kiwash Electric Cooperative, where he helps keep electric power fl owing for thousands of consumer-members in Western Oklahoma, but at his second job—the one where he works for a higher power. The 56-year-old welcomes a visitor at the front door of Cordell’s Calvary Baptist Church with a smile. “Come on in,” he said. “I just put on some coffee for the ladies who are coming to decorate for the wedding shower this afternoon.” Dewees walks to the front of the sanctuary and settles into a pew with mus- tard-colored padding. On this Saturday morning, when not even a church mouse is stirring, Dewees is here to talk about the dual roles of pastor and operations manager. Clad in a navy blazer and gray sweater with perfectly parted salt-and-pepper


hair, Dewees fi ts both the pastoral and professional molds, but his words reveal the deeper truth of this man’s faith. “God can open doors,” he said. “If there is opportunity there for service and God wants it to happen, he’ll work everything out.” But that’s the last line of this story. To understand Dewees and his journey of faith, one has to start with … in the beginning.


In the beginning … Dewees comes by his connection to the electric industry honestly. His father


was a power line contractor. The family (which included his other three sib- lings) bounced from Ozark, Ark., to Oklahoma and Texas before fi nally setting in the Chicago suburbs where Dewees attended school until the 10th grade. During these formative years, his mother often wrangled her trio of children into a local Baptist church, where at 9 years old Dewees was saved. “The message the pastor delivered convicted me that I needed to accept Jesus as my Lord,” he said. “I waited a week and then went down the aisle.” With his spiritual walk on track, Dewees grew up and enjoyed the road of life, including the annual vacation to the Sooner State. The memory of those boyhood trips still draws a smile from Dewees, who laughed as he detailed fi shing and camping outings.


6 WWW.OK-LIVING.COOP


His parents were both native Oklahomans and longed to return home. Their talk took an unexpected jump into action, when—at the end of one of their annual trips—Dewees’ father turned to his wife during the drive home and said, “Drop me off at the airport (in Oklahoma City). I’ll head back to Chicago. Go back and put these kids in school here.” In that moment, Dewees’ father decided to take a step of faith, quit his job and start his own power line contracting business. “In their minds, they were rescuing us from the busy city life and getting us


back to a safe haven,” Dewees said. With only the clothes in the suitcase, the Dewees family started a new life in Sayre, Okla., in 1973. Two years later Dewees graduated from high school and began attending Sayre Junior College, where he met wife Roxann. The couple married after he graduated with an associate’s degree in business in 1977. Nine months later, Dewees uprooted his new bride and moved to Tipton, Okla., to work for a Southwest Rural Electric Association (SWRE). Just one problem—they didn’t have an opening. Yet.


The Tipton years Most would assume that a pastor (or a future one) would have faith but


Dewees demonstrated a true confi dence in the Lord. He marched into the Tipton co-op offi ce and fi lled out an application just knowing he was supposed to be there. Dewees put down two references—the superintendent and dean of Sayre


Public Schools—both of whom happened to be personal friends of the (then) current SWRE manager, Bill Green.


“I didn’t know he knew them, but after talking to them, he made an opening for me,” Dewees said. “It’s just one example of how the Lord has worked in my life. Every step of the way, from the time I gave my life to the Lord, He has taken care of me, every detail.” Tipton turned into fertile ground for Dewees’ fl edgling family, which grew in every way. Roy and Roxann welcomed three children Carisa (1982), Emily (1985) and Taylor (1988)—in even three-year intervals. Professionally, Dewees fl ourished as a lineman, demonstrating the true grit required by the position. Many days, including his seven-year wedding anni- versary, Dewees left his wife and children and marched out into storms and ice to serve his co-op. “A lineman’s mentality is—get it done,” he said. “You fi nd a way. You fi gure


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