Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Brenda Spencer-Ragland Chamber View 12/3/2019

Posted by: Communications Manager on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Recently I have enjoyed the opportunity to read several great books. Most were for assigned classwork.
I have read a few about leadership, being an agent of change, reflection and the importance of self-
reflection. I also read a letter I received that referred to be the Bette Davis of the Chamber. At first,
being a little naïve perhaps, I thought that’s kind. They are perhaps complimenting my eyes, since Bette
Davis was known for her beautiful eyes. I later thought, perhaps they are referring to me as Bette Davis for
my age. I finally just gave up on trying to sort out why someone would take the time to write me a
letter and not explain what they were thinking or provide enough logic in the letter that would allow me
to sort it out. Many may consider me naïve.

They may do this based on my faith. Some don’t believe in
my faith, and that’s okay. I don’t need people to take on my faith, but I do want to work for and with
people that share the same values as I do. After a year of being at the Chamber, I still believe that’s why
I am here. I truly believe the 929 members that have invested in the Chamber, and in this community
are striving to do something positive for the community. Our Chamber members want to see Lawton
prosper and grow. They want to welcome others to our community so they too can see what we see.
Lawton is perfectly located in the foothills of the Wichita Mountains. There is so much charm, beauty,
and history to be discovered. I stand proud of our beautiful region, and I ask that you please do the
same. Share the news of all the good things we have in Southwest Oklahoma to enjoy.

Speaking of being proud, we need to share what we are proud of as well. For me, I have two
grandchildren that attend Lawton Public Schools. Both are excelling. Spencer and Waylon both are
good students with good grades. I am proud of their progress in school. I am also proud of Lawton
Public School. My three children graduated from Lawton Public School, and all three are doing just fine
in their chosen professions. When you hear of individuals looking to move to our area, share your story
of success both with the education, and being able to find quality and affordable housing, quality
medical, and yes fantastic places of worship. As well, there are incredible opportunities to get
involved. If you like to hunt, fish, volunteer, dance, sing, act or just take on additional educational
opportunities as an adult, there is nowhere better than Lawton, Oklahoma.


Share the good – this is our
community, be proud of it and know it’s okay to be boastful. Also, I recently read the book “What Got
You Here, Won't Get You There" by Marshall Goldsmith.

Overall, a pretty good read and it fits into the
leadership/ Self-Help category. A key takeaway is a fact we cannot undervalue the importance of Self-
Awareness - what is unknown to us may be well-known to others.  This leads me to always remember, I
know things about myself others know, I know things they don’t know, and they know things about me
that I don’t know/see, and somethings are hidden/left undiscovered by me or others… As we get more
involved in our community, we will learn things about others, and we will learn facts versus fiction.

I would challenge all of us to attempt to learn and share facts about all situations. We can do this by
getting involved in the community, and then we can better share information to all looking for a new
home. In 1992 I chose Lawton as my home, now in 2019, I can honestly say it was a good choice, one I
would certainly choose again.

Our next scheduled luncheon is coming up on November 14. We will have speakers providing and
update on Tourism and Agriculture. If interested, visit our website at

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Healthy Bites- Leftover Ham and Bean Soup

Posted by: Matthew Martin Intern on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)


Olive oil 

Onion Celery




Ham bone 


Bay leaves 

Vegetable broth

Cannellini beans 

Salt & pepper 



In a large soup pot, add the oil over medium heat. Stir in the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook for a few minutes until the onion becomes tender. Add the garlic, ham, ham bone, parsnip, bay leaves, and broth. Bring to a boil over high heat then lower to medium heat and cook for 30 minutes.

Add the beans, cumin, thyme, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Let everything cook for another 30 minutes, then remove the bone, bay leaves, and parsnip. Season to taste.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Join us for our Annual Chamber Holiday Open House on Friday, December 13th!

Posted by: Communications Manager on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)


Join us for our Annual Chamber Holiday Open House on Friday, December 13th! The annual Chamber Holiday Open House is an opportunity for the Chamber to thank our members during the holiday season. In addition to meeting other local business leaders, guests will be able to enjoy holiday fare and delicious treats in the spirit of the holidays. Join your local chamber of commerce as we celebrate the holiday season! 



Friday, November 22, 2019

Healthy Bites - Italian Hot Dish

Posted by: Matthew Martin Intern on Friday, November 22, 2019 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)


1-1/2 cups uncooked multigrain bow tie pasta (about 4 ounces)

1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms, divided

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce

1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided


Preheat oven to 350°. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente; drain.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet coated with cooking spray, cook and crumble beef with 1/2 cup mushrooms, onion and green pepper over medium-high heat until no longer pink, 5-7 minutes. Stir in seasonings and tomato sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 15 minutes.

Place pasta in an 8-in. square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with meat sauce and remaining mushrooms. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese and 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese.

Bake, covered, 35 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake until heated through and cheese is melted, 5-10 minutes.



Friday, November 15, 2019

Healthy Bites - Fresh Green Bean Casserole

Posted by: Matthew Martin Intern on Friday, November 15, 2019 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)


Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing

5 cups sliced green beans

4 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 cup grated Parmesan

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons canola oil

1 1/2 cups diced onions

2 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1/2 teaspoon House Seasoning, recipe follows

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup garlic powder

1/4 cup black pepper


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 1 1/2-quart baking dish with nonstick spray.

Boil the green beans in the chicken broth for about 20 minutes, and then drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth.

Meanwhile, mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan and 2 teaspoons of the oil in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the onions until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes, and then add the mushrooms and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes longer. Remove from the heat.

Pour the reserved 1 1/2 cups chicken broth back into the pot the green beans boiled in and bring to a boil. Add the green beans to the skillet with the mushrooms and onions.

While that is coming to a boil, combine the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water in a small bowl to make a slurry. Slowly pour the slurry into the boiling broth, whisking constantly as it thickens, about 2 minutes. Pour the thickened mixture over the green beans and add the sour cream, House Seasoning and salt. Stir well.

Pour into the baking dish and sprinkle with the panko and cheese mixture. Bake until the casserole is hot, about 10 minutes, and then broil until the breadcrumb topping is slightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes.

Mix together the salt, garlic powder and pepper.


Monday, November 11, 2019

U.S. Chamber Awards Lawton Fort Sill Chamber with 5-Star Accreditation

Posted by: Communications Manager on Monday, November 11, 2019 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

U.S. Chamber Awards Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce with 5-Star Accreditation


Lawton, OK – November 12th, 2019— The United States Chamber of Commerce, at its board meeting this week, awarded the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce with 5-\Star Accreditation for its sound policies, effective organizational procedures, and positive impact on the community.


“It is critical that business leaders have a voice in the debates that will shape the business climate in their communities,” said Raymond P. Towle, IOM, CAE, U.S. Chamber Vice President of Federation Relations and Institute for Organization Management. “Accreditation recognizes a chamber’s work to foster a healthy business climate that enhances the quality of life for its members and its community.”

 Accreditation is the only national program that recognizes chambers for their effective organizational procedures and community involvement. In order to receive Accreditation, a chamber must meet minimum standards in its operations and programs, including areas of governance, government affairs, and technology. This extensive self-review can take 6-9 months to complete.


“It is an honor and privilege to work with Chamber members, Board and staff totally dedicated to the betterment of this community. I am so very proud that we are being recognized at the highest level of accreditation—five stars level first time ever in the 120-year history of the Chamber that we have achieved this level of accreditation. Five-star accreditation is only awarded to 217 Chambers nationwide and places us at the top 3% of the country”. said Brenda Spencer-Ragland, President & CEO of the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce.


Local chambers are rated Accredited, 3-Stars, 4-Stars, or 5-Stars. State chambers are recognized as either Accredited State Chamber or Accredited State Chamber with Distinction. The final determination is made\ by the Accrediting Board, a committee of U.S. Chamber board members.


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.


About Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce


The Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce is a strong, action-oriented organization.  Over 900 investors work through the Chamber to advance economic growth.  The Chamber asserts a leadership role in the development of increased business and tourism opportunities, the unification of our military and business community, the advancement of a pro-business legislative agenda, and in the promotion of community enrichment.




Friday, November 8, 2019

Healthy Bites - Mixed Onion and Bread Stuffing

Posted by: Matthew Martin Intern on Friday, November 8, 2019 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)


large leeks
4 tbsp. margarine or butter
jumbo onion
medium carrots
stalk celery
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
can chicken broth
3/4 c. golden raisins
1/4 c. apple brandy or apple juice
1 1/2 loaves firm white or whole wheat bread
1/2 c. fresh parsley leaves


Cut off roots and leaf ends from leeks. Discard any tough outer leaves. Cut leeks crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Place leeks in large bowl of cold water; with hand, swish leeks around to remove any sand. Transfer leeks to colander. Repeat process, changing water several times, until all sand is removed. Drain well; set aside.

In nonstick 12-inch skillet, melt 2 tablespoons margarine over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery, and cook 12 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in thyme, sage, and pepper; cook 1 minute. Transfer vegetables to large bowl.

In same skillet, melt remaining margarine over medium-high heat. Add leeks, and cook 10 to 12 minutes or until tender and golden. Stir in broth, raisins, and apple brandy; heat 1 minute. Transfer mixture to bowl with vegetables; add bread and toss until well mixed.

Spoon stuffing into 13-inch by 9-inch glass baking dish or shallow 3 1/2-quart casserole. Cover with foil and bake in preheated 325 degree F oven 40 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.




Healthy Bites - Whole Grain Pumpkin Spice Waffles

Posted by: Matthew Martin Intern on Friday, November 8, 2019 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)


2 ¼ cups (200 grams) oat flour*

1 tablespoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon allspice or cloves

3 large eggs

Scant ⅔ cup milk of choice (I used plain, unsweetened almond milk)

Scant ½ cup melted coconut oil or 7 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

½ cup (122 grams) packed pumpkin puree

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Suggested toppings: more maple syrup, nut butter and/or toasted nuts, coconut whipped cream…


In a large mixing bowl, combine the oat flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and all spice or cloves. Whisk to combine.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs. Then add the milk, coconut oil or butter, pumpkin purée, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk until the mixture is thoroughly blended.

Pour the liquid mixture into the oat flour mixture. Stir with a big spoon until just combined (the batter will still be a little lumpy). Let the batter rest for 10 minutes so the oat flour has time to soak up some of the moisture. Plug in your waffle iron to preheat now.

Once 10 minutes is up, give the batter one more, gentle swirl with your spoon. The batter will be pretty thick, but don’t worry! Your waffles will turn out great. Pour batter onto the heated waffle iron, enough to cover the center and most of the central surface area, and close the lid.

Once the waffle is deeply golden and crisp, transfer it to a cooling rack or baking sheet. Don’t stack your waffles on top of each other or they’ll lose crispness. If desired, keep your waffles warm by placing them in a 200 degree oven until you’re ready to serve. Repeat with remaining batter and serve with desired toppings on the side.

Healthy Bites - Roasted Turkey

Posted by: Matthew Martin Intern on Friday, November 8, 2019 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)


12-14 lb. whole turkey, neck and giblets removed

kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

onion, cut into wedges
bunch thyme

Small handful of rosemary sprigs

small handful sage leaves
head garlic, halved crosswise
1/2 c. melted butter
2 c. chicken broth


Position rack to the lower third of your oven and preheat oven to 450°. Pat turkey dry with paper towels and season the cavity generously with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with onion, thyme, rosemary, sage and garlic. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wing tips under the body.
Brush butter all over turkey then season generously with salt and pepper. Place turkey breast side up on a roasting rack inside of a large pan. Pour chicken broth into the pan. Transfer to oven and immediately reduce oven heat to 350°.
Baste every 30 to 45 minutes with the juices on the bottom of the pan, and roast for 3 to 4 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh. (The meat temperature should be 165°).
Cover cooked turkey with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.


Thursday, November 7, 2019

#ShopSmall Lawton-Fort Sill 2019

Posted by: Communications Manager on Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 12:00:00 am Comments (1)

Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year – for large chains – but what about small, locally owned businesses? The Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce is teaming up with American Express to promote Shop Small Saturday in our community. #ShopSmall Lawton Fort Sill is on Saturday, November 30th!

Share Your Support With Free Downloadable Materials here


Download our full list of 2019 #ShopSmall Lawton-Fort Sill Business here.  


#ShopSmall Activities Line Up:

  • Shop Small Saturday encourages residents to shop local and small businesses within the area on November 30th. 10am-4:30pm. Starts at Hilton Garden Inn, with a Shop Small kick-off from 10a.m.-11.a.m.
  • The Shop Small kick-off will include a free continental breakfast for guests, a participating business list and instructions. For every $10 spent, guests will receive a ticket to be entered into a special drawing. Tickets must be dropped off at Darby’ Big Furniture to be entered for the grand prize.
  • The Shop Small Wrap Up will end at Darby’s Big Furniture with the winner announced shortly after 4:30p.m.

#ShopSmall Lawton Fort Sill Event Instructions