By Conrad Dudderar
A longtime Yukon homebuilder and retired educator was honored this week on his “golden anniversary” with Yukon’s leading civic group.
Past and present Yukon Rotary Club members surprised Leon Corn during the club’s April 19th meeting inside the Yukon Police Department, 100 S Ranchwood.
More than 40 people gathered inside the YPD’s community room to recognize Corn for 50 years of “Service Above Self” with the Yukon Rotary Club.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed Rotary over the years,” Corn told the audience. “I’ve had a lot of great times, especially with the friendships I developed. This is a group of people who are concerned about others.
“I cherish each and every one of you. If you ever need anything, call Betty.”
Betty Corn – who was recruited to join Yukon Rotary by Tony Kouba – welcomed some familiar faces to her husband’s 50-year celebration.
A “who’s who” of past Yukon Rotarians attended Tuesday’s noon meeting – Gerald Hillman, Rick Henthorn, Gary Miller, Becky Young, Dr. Steve McCullough, Mary K. Hollingsworth, and Rick Cacini.
The longest-serving current member who came was Dr. David Deason, who has been with Yukon Rotary for 48 years.
“Leon wielded a big shovel when we put in a disc golf course over at the community center,” Deason recalled. “We put in nine holes with big tractor tires and a pole.”
Special guest at Tuesday’s reception was Rotary District Governor Matt Tipton, of the OKC Midtown Rotary Club.
“Time is one of the most valuable things that we have,” Tipton said. “We’re all going to measure value in where we put our time.”
Tipton referred to Corn’s lengthy service to the Yukon Rotary Club, citing his “walking testimony for Rotary and what it means to the community.”
Leon Corn joined Yukon Rotary on May 1, 1972, five years after the club was chartered. He was sponsored by Jess Urton.
At the time, the Yukon Rotary Club had 36 members and met weekly at the Hilltop Restaurant before moving to the Golden Corral.
Rotary meets at noon Tuesdays, now convening at Grace Church in Yukon.
During his 50 years with the Yukon Rotary Club, Corn has been named “Rotarian of the Year” six times – 1974-75, 1982-83, 1984-85, 1986-87, 1992-93, and 1994-95.
Corn has served as club president four times – 1976-77, 2001-02, 2003-04, and 2016-17. He is a past Yukon Chamber of Commerce board member.
In 1993, he earned the Paul Harris Fellowship Award from the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.
During the ‘70s and ‘80s, Corn was in charge of a Yukon school “Career Day” program sponsored by Yukon Rotary and chaired the club’s Student Rotarian program.
NEW PAVILION, BODY ARMOR
In the mid-‘80s, Leon Corn served on a committee that installed a new pavilion at the City of Yukon’s Sunrise Park.
“That pavilion was built by this Rotary Club – with hands and boards,” wife Betty said. “It’s been remodeled and revised some by the city, but it started out as the ‘Rotary Pavilion’.”
Corn chaired Rotary’s annual pancake breakfast for several years through the early 2000s.
The club’s flapjack feast began at the First United Methodist Church before moving to Central Elementary School, then to the American Legion Building, and finally to the Dale Robertson Center.
In 2016, Corn came up with the idea to start a Yukon Rotary Club campaign that raised more than $14,000 to equip Yukon police officers and firefighters with new protective vests.
He was sitting at the breakfast table reading an article about Yukon graduate Michael Blackmore, who owned a Purcell company that manufactured body armor for first responders.
“After the shootings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, public sentiment was running strong in support of law enforcement,” Betty Corn related. “Blackmore’s goal was the equip every police officer in the United States with hard body vests, which could reject shots from AK-47 and AK-15 assault rifles.”
Raising funds for the body armor has been Yukon Rotary’s largest project to date.
Leon Corn spent more than 40 years building houses in Yukon “because he met somebody in Rotary that got him started in that,” his wife noted.
In closing her presentation, Betty Corn thanked everyone for coming out for the April 19th noon meeting to make her husband feel special.
“He is special,” Yukon Rotarian Becky Durham summarized.