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Will Rogers Memorial Museums

World traveler meets Will Rogers
As written by Pat Reeder of the Will Rogers Museum Staff

Starring Elwood and Will
Elwood “directs” guests into the Will Rogers Memorial Museum Theatre.
Elwood, an eternal fifth grader, has traveled about five million miles in almost three decades, but he’s not through. Created in Doug Hand’s Rock Island, Ill., fifth grade, he is on his way to Salina, Kansas, after spending Will Rogers Days in Claremore.

He ended his Oklahoma trip with a visit to Westside fourth grade students of Paula Watson, Kelsey Hanigan, Michala Kedzior, Debbie Aitken and Pam Powers.
Elwood was introduced to Will Rogers through Carole and Jack Bender of Tulsa, creators of comic strip Alley Oop and a special Will Rogers strip last summer.

He was right at home with cowboys, horses, military and politicians — and Will Rogers. He has met Harry Carey Jr., Hollywood actor and Rogers’ family friend. He has been to the White House, to Desert Storm, to the nation’s Capitol and to Mexico, a place Will often visited.

Elwood has traveled Route 66, part of which was once called Will Rogers Highway, attended sporting events and traveled abroad.

At the Will Rogers Memorial, he met special guests for Will Rogers Days — Kem Rogers, Will’s grandson; Jennifer Rogers Etcheverry, Will’s great-granddaughter; Wyatt McCrea, grandson of Joel McCrea who played in two movies with Will; Charles Banks Wilson, Will artist; and hundreds of others along the way.

Created in 1980, Elwood’s motto is “Dream Big” and he travels the world on behalf of others, inspiring children to believe in a dream, to have the desire to follow that dream and see it through.

Elwood was created when a parent of one of Mr. Hand’s students objected to the class reading “Pinocchio,” the story of the puppet coming to life and having human dreams. So he decided to make something real.

Elwood teaches that dreams are the purest form of imagination and imagination is the key that will open any door. He can’t hear, see, walk or talk; yet he has been on major TV network shows and radio programs and his story has appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world.

Through it all he smiles — because he has been allowed to follow his dream, telling children they can make dreams come true.

Despite remaining in the fifth grade, he received a BBD (Bachelor of Big Dreams) from Yale University in May 1994 and Master of Arts in big dreams from Central Florida in 2001.

While at the Claremore museum, he visited with several Memorial touring groups including those from Texas in Tulsa for the National Preservation Society Conference.

Elwood meets Westside fourth graders

Elwood shared his vision of dreams with Westside fourth graders including Tracy Reeder, son of Tracy and Roberta; Jacob Ellis, son of Nova and Eric; and Courtney Cardwell,

daughter of Anthony and Vona; before he packed up and left Oklahoma for Kansas.


 


Meet Will

Texans in Oklahoma

While Elwood was at Will Rogers Memorial, he met a group of West Texas Preservation Society members. Dorothy Rosson of Snider, Texas, shares a cookie with him.


Elwood arrives

 

Will Rogers Memorial Museum staff Neva Kegley, Steve Gragert, Sherry Covington and Tami Humburg welcome Elwood to the museum.


1st Battalion - 106th Aviation Regiment

1st Battalion - 106th Aviation RegimentIn 1999, 1st Battalion, 106th Aviation Regiment, Battalion Headquarters served as the Aviation Task Force Headquarters for the 29th eSIB (enhanced Separate Infantry Brigade) from Hawaii. In 2000, the Battalion supported the 38th Aviation Brigade from Indiana. The 38th Aviation Brigade supported the 76th eSIB also from Indiana. The 106th Aviation sent B Company (UH-60) a portion of F Company (CH-47) and cells from C Company (AVUM), E Company (AVIM) and portions from HHC.

I AM IN KOSOVO WITH SGT. TOMMY JAGGERS AND A LOT OF OTHER SOLDIERS. THEY ARE BLACKHAWK HELICOPTER UNIT SO THEY ARE FLYING PEOPLE TO DIFFERENT PLACES AND DOING WHATEVER IS NEEDED FROM THEM. TOMMY IS A MECHANIC, SO HE IS ONE THAT KEEPS THEM FLYING. THEIR MISSION TO KOSOVO IS UNDER NATO ORDERS.

WE HAVE BEEN HAVING A LOT OF FUN. TOMMY TOOK CARE OF ME SO I WOULD NOT GET HURT.

FIRST TOMMY HAD TO TAKE ME OUT OF MY TRAVELING CAN.

THE WEATHER IS KIND OF LIKE WHAT WE HAVE HERE IN ILLINOIS.

I HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT THE BLACKHAWK HELICOPTERS. WOW!

 

BEEN HELPING THEM WORK ON THEM EVEN THOUGH I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO. SO THEY FOUND A PLACE FOR ME TO SIT.

I GOT TO SIT IN THE PILOT SEAT, BUT THEY DID NOT LET ME FLY THE BLACKHAWK. I WAS ALSO A PASSENGER. HERE I AM LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW AT ALL OF YOU.

I GOT TO SEE THINGS FROM A HIGHER VIEW ALSO, UP ON THE TOP OF THE ROTOR BLADES THAT MAKE THE BLACKHAWK FLY. GLAD THEY DID NOT TURN THEM ON WHILE I WAS UP THERE OR I WOULD HAVE DONE MY OWN FLYING!

I AM HAVING A LOT OF FUN HERE WITH THE 106TH AVIATION, ALTHOUGH THEY HAVE BEEN BUSY. I BELIEVE THERE ARE A FEW MORE PICTURES COMING. SEE YOU ALL SOON!


See Elwood on Youtube:

Here is the link to the Elwood video on Youtube from Coronado Elementary in Salina, Kansas.

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