Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Crowe Named Sallisaw Chamber Member for April

Chamber President Marley Abell (left) presents a plaque to the April 
Chamber Member of the Month, Larry Crow.

The Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce named both its April Member of the Month and the entertainment headliner for Sallisaw’s Diamond Daze festival at its regular membership meeting on Wednesday.

Christian contemporary band Tenth Avenue North will perform Saturday, June 15 as part of Diamond Daze, according to Chamber President Marley Abell. Laird "Larry" Crowe, local real estate developer and owner of the newly opened The Rink, skating rink was named the Chamber Member of the Month for April.

A 1958 graduate of Classen High School in Oklahoma City, Crowe started his business career at a neighborhood dry cleaners before getting into real estate, where for the past 60 years, he has worked with mostly distressed properties.

“I’ve really enjoyed working in Sallisaw,” Crowe said after receiving the award from Chamber President Marley Abell. “It’s been a new life. It’s been work with excitement all over again. I can almost compare it to the way the pilgrims must have felt stepping off the Mayflower onto American soil.

“There’s work still to do; I’m just as excited about it as I was three or four years ago. It’s just wonderful. Thank you all.”

As the chamber membership dined on a Mexican meal of fajitas and all the fixings catered by Maria’s restaurant, guest speaker Dr. William J. Pettit, dean of the OSU College Of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation, explained the need for rural health physicians and how the new osteopathic college at Tahlequah, in partnership with the Cherokee Nation, will help rural healthcare.

One of the biggest challenges, according to Pettit, is the lack of primary care healthcare providers.

“We have 127.5 physicians per 100,000 population compared to the national average of nearly 150 physicians per 100,000 population,” Pettit explained. “In our state, every county but one is considered a health profession shortage area, implying there is not enough healthcare providers for that region.”

An aging workforce also contributes to the physician shortage, according to Pettit.

To help remedy those shortages, Pettit said recruitment is key in the rural areas of Oklahoma for keeping physicians in those outlying areas.

He is excited about the partnership between OSU COM and the Cherokee Nation in creating the nation’s first tribally-affiliated medical school.

“It’s a gorgeous facility,” Pettit said, sharing a rendering of the 85,000 square foot facility. “It will end up being a great addition to the W.W. Hastings medical campus.”

Construction is scheduled to begin next month, with the first classes to begin in the fall of 2020.

Pam Cloud, Managing News Director

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