PAWNEE - Gary Vance
spent a good part of his
adult life circling parts of the world as both an Army and commercial airline pilot. Now, the Pawnee rancher is setting his sights on a new goal of becoming the next representative for House District 35.
"Our state Legislature has a lot to say about Oklahoma's future and the people of north-central Oklahoma and House District 35
need to have a part in that conversation," Vance
said."My circumstances allow me to devote full-time to the job of representing the people of District 35 and that's what I intend to do." Vance, a Pawnee native and Oklahoma State University graduate, served two tours of duty in Vietnam as an Army pilot.He
was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Soldier's Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, two Bronze Stars and 34 Air Medals. Vance later worked as a pilot for Delta Airlines, retiring after 27 years of service. He
then moved his
wife Gail and two sons back to Pawnee in 1976.
"It was a perfect place for my kids to grow up," said Vance
, whose family operates the Diamond V horse ranch in Pawnee County. Vance, 63, has also been involved with several Pawnee groups including: the Pawnee Rotary Club; serves as vice president of the Pawnee Bill Museum Association; member of the Pawnee Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7966; and a member of the Pawnee Cemetery Board.
"I like getting involved," Vance
said."I like making things happen."
Vance's platform includes improving Oklahoma's public school system, health care, Social Security, roads and bridges. Vance
has been blessed with a great family and business success.He
also says he
has been lucky.
Vance retold the story of how he
and several fellow soldiers went through flight school training and each went to Vietnam. He
was the only one to survive.A teary-eyed Vance
sometimes ponders why.
"I question how did I get to come back?"he
On a lighter note, Vance
also has a bit of showbiz in his
past. A few years ago, Vance sold and leased some of his paint horses for use on Chuck Norris' television show, "Walker: Texas Ranger."Vance
also got to appear in an episode.
"It was a fun experience," he