Cherokee’s Main Street Director was recently named the state Director of the Year for Oklahoma Main Street.
In the world of Main Street, people tend to lose their last names once becoming a Main Street Director. This was certainly true of “Watonga Bob.” Always an informal guy on a first-name-basis-as-soon-as-he-met-you, Watonga Bob took on the program director position later in life after a successful business career. He passed away suddenly in 2010 but not before leaving an indelible mark in the Oklahoma Main Street world. A common refrain heard about him was “when all others said it couldn’t be done, he went to work and got it done.”
In 2011, the Program Director of the Year award was renamed in his honor because of his work ethic, service to his community and promotion of the Main Street Program. It is a true testament to the outstanding person he was.
The nominees for the Watonga Bob Shoemaker Award for 2020 include these four outstanding program directors. Jeff DiMiceli, Ardmore; Schaun Aker, Cherokee; Heather Sumner, Okmulgee; and Chelsea McConnell, Ponca City.
The Oklahoma Main Street Center requires each local program to hire and oversee paid professional directors to facilitate the daily activities and guide the organization through its annual work plan. The director is the point person for the local Main Street organization. They work long days and dedicate more time than they are paid to see their program become successful.
We want to take time now to recognize the Main Street Program Director of the Year for 2020. This recognition begins with a nomination from the local Board of Directors and then is voted on by all the Oklahoma Main Street Program Directors.
Schaun Aker has served as the Cherokee Main Street program director for more than six years. Her board president said that Aker is dedicated to her job and is the heart of the Cherokee Main Street organization. She has been such an inspiration and so respectful in her approach to the job that there is now a waiting list for people wanting to serve on the board. She is conscientious of the town’s needs and is preservation-minded. She works well with the merchants, helping them see the need for improvement in their properties and reminding them of possible grant opportunities. She also has helped create some of the best events the town has seen. She is deserving of this award and much more.