It’s been over three decades since Sallisaw has presented a Key to the City.
But it happened this week as community leader Buddy Spencer received the prestigious honor.
Mayor Ernie Martens presented Spencer with the key to the city during the monthly city commissioner meeting Monday, Jan. 21, as a token of appreciation for all he has done for the community of Sallisaw.
Sallisaw City Manager Keith Skelton said the presentation of the key, along with a bronze commemorative city coin, was meant to recognize Spencer’s contributions to Sallisaw.
“Buddy has done a lot for our community since he’s been here,” Skelton said. “It just comes down to thinking about all he’s done for our community – and it’s been so much.
“And he continues every day to market our community and try to improve it,” Skelton added. “For those reasons, we dusted off some old designs for the key and came up with a new token of our appreciation for all he’s done for Sallisaw. And he was the first recipient of one of the bronze recognition coins.”
Spencer remains an active member of the Sallisaw community and is well known for his love of public service. Skelton said he continues to support Sallisaw’s economic development and education in the community.
With a long and very successful career in the automobile business spanning more than 50 years, Spencer has owned and operated over 10 dealerships in three states. He owned Buddy Spencer Ford in Durant, his first dealership, before later moving to Sallisaw in September 1995. The Spencer family currently owns and operates Blue Ribbon Auto Group in Sallisaw.
With a passion to serve his community, Spencer has served as president of the Chambers of Commerce in both Durant and Sallisaw. He was appointed by Gov. George Nigh to the Executive Committee to study reform in state government. He currently serves as president of the Sallisaw Improvement Corporation, where he has been a tireless proponent for expanding the city’s industrial park, especially companies such as Aviagen.
Spencer has also lived a life dedicated to his passion for public education. He has served as a school board member and also as president of the Oklahoma State School Board Association. The Oklahoma School Board Association annually presents the Buddy Spencer Leadership Award in Oklahoma City. He was instrumental in the marketing for the new middle school construction in Sallisaw.
Spencer was selected as the Distinguished Alumnus at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in 1983, a recipient of the Oklahoma Education Association Award for Excellence in Education, and a 2014 honoree of the State Regents of Higher Education Business Partnership Excellence Award.
Instrumental in bringing the Carl Albert State College campus to Sallisaw, he continues to support business growth and Spencer currently serves as a trustee for the CASC Foundation and is chairman of the Committee for Excellence in Sallisaw where they raise scholarship money for graduating seniors in Sequoyah County. With Spencer's leadership, the committee has raised over $600,000 for the students. He is also a member of the Carl Albert State College "Hall of Fame."
Pam Cloud, Managing News Director
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