Community , Government

Veterans Memorial Commission discusses two vacancies

Two vacancies opened on the Osage Nation Veterans Memorial Commission in May with the passing of Richard Luttrell Sr. and the resignation of another member moving onto the Nation’s LLC board.

Luttrell, a WWII Army Veteran Captain, passed away on May 10 at age 92 and was the first of the original five Osages confirmed to serve on the Veterans Memorial Commission, which was charged with design, planning and overseeing construction of the Osage Veterans Memorial, which opened to the public on Veterans Day 2018.

The VMC held its first meeting without Luttrell on May 15 in Pawhuska with the fellow commission members applauding Luttrell after the regular meeting roll call.

“Gone, but not forgotten, he was a gentleman, really smart,” VMC Chairman Franklin McKinley said of Luttrell with fellow member Frances Williams adding “he will be missed.”

“It was interesting to hear the priest speak about how (Luttrell) was planning his funeral kind of like he was when he was planning our big event,” outgoing VMC member Richard Perrier said of Luttrell planning the Nov. 11 dedication and opening of the memorial. “He had everything scripted for us and he had a three-hour meeting with the priest to do the same thing and that was the way he was – of course he was an officer, right? And so, we can expect that.”

The meeting was also the final one for Perrier, who resigned from the VMC recently to take a seat on the Osage Limited Liability Company (LLC) board. That day, Perrier took his board oath at the tribal courthouse to serve as an interim member on the LLC Board, which now has three members.

Williams noted during the meeting that Luttrell’s family offered a $100 cash donation to the VMC at his funeral, which was the prior day. With the memorial now built and open to the public, the VMC’s other duties include maintenance and upkeep, including future additions of Osage veteran names to the memorial.

Remaining VMC members are McKinley, Williams and John Henry Mashunkashey, who discussed possible Osages to serve on the commission including a retired tribal judge and Army veteran.

Mashunkashey said he recently visited with Marvin Stepson, who previously served as Chief Judge of the ON Trial Court (2006-2018) and asked if he would be interested in serving. Stepson said he would be interested, said Mashunkashey who added Stepson would be an asset thanks to his history and knowledge of Osage veterans.

The VMC discussed other veterans’ names at the meeting, but none had spoken with the commission members about possibly serving on the VMC. The commission’s next regular monthly meeting is scheduled June 19 in Pawhuska.