Brian Bush, your Altus Chamber of Commerce President and C.E.O., and wife Becca, a local business owner, were both recently honored by Harding University. The couple were selected as the university’s “Outstanding Young Alumni”.
Brian and Becca Bush both graduated with the Harding University Class of 2000.
Harding University, a private, Christian institution of higher education, has 6,075 students representing 49 states and 44 foreign nations. Its main campus in Searcy, AR, with remote campuses in Little Rock and Memphis, and international campuses in Africa, Australia, Chilé, England, France, Greece, and Italy. But last weekend at Harding’s 91st Annual Homecoming Weekend, there were some very notable connections between the university and Altus. The nearly 100-year-old university boasts a large and active group of alumni around the globe, and the Homecoming festivities each year include the selection of alumni award recipients along with reunions, parades, and of course a very important football game.
The Bushs were honored this year as part of those alumni awards, and on display at the football stadium was a powerful offense that would look very familiar to Altus Bulldog fans.
Bush said that Altus High School Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Jeremy Reed credits Harding University with helping him develop his version of the vaunted flexbone offense that has already given rise to some incredible success in Coach Reed’s first two seasons at AHS. For Reed, however, the lessons he learned from Harding are even deeper than that. I’ve only been on campus at Harding University two times, but both times I walked away wanting more,” said Reed, “the atmosphere is a true brotherhood in every sense. I have the utmost respect for their football program and coaches.” Coach Reed says he stumbled upon Harding as he began running the flexbone offense, and he immediately reached out to the coaching staff to learn more, where he received a warm welcome.
“Since that day, I have had a friendship with several coaches there that will last forever. Harding Football loves to win, but molding men is what makes them special,” Reed explained. Reed said it was evident to him that Harding strives to honor Christ through its program, and he added that he would love for his own son to experience what Harding has to offer some day.
Brian and Becca share Coach Reed’s appreciation for Harding. The couple met as freshman on the Harding University campus in the fall of 1996, and they cherish the story of their love and its connection to their alma mater. They were introduced by Becca’s longtime friend and Brian’s roommate Kevin Chism, who is now part of the Harding football coaching staff. Brian and Becca attended classes together and shared their first date to a movie on campus. By the time they finished their degrees at Harding, the couple would live out many of the campus traditions, and Brian would eventually serve as President of the student body.
The couple now makes their home in Altus where Brian now serves as CEO of the Altus Chamber of Commerce and works with the Altus Southwest Area Economic Development Corporation. In addition to managing the operations of the Chamber of Commerce, Brian works closely with community, educational and business leaders to further the economic growth of Altus and create an environment where businesses can thrive. Brian coordinates efforts with local, state, and federal government officials, including efforts at the Oklahoma Capitol, the Pentagon, and the U.S. Capitol. Brian’s career includes public service as an Assistant District Attorney, small business experience as an attorney, and private higher education experience as Assistant Dean of Students at Harding University. Brian has designed and delivered programs that have been featured on CNN, Fox News, and affiliates of ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. These programs include Four Star Leadership with General Tommy Franks, training young leaders from around the world; Peace Through Business Rwanda, working with emerging women business leaders from Rwanda; Complex Dialogues, studying incarceration rates and criminal justice in Oklahoma; and the Oklahoma Sports Leadership Academy, working with professional and college athletes to help develop the next generation of leaders. While serving the Altus community, Brian has also been appointed by Governor Fallin to serve on the board of directors of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and serves as chair of the State Chamber of Oklahoma’s Aerospace, Technology, and Telecommunication Committee.
Becca Bush is now a full time mom, but she also recently opened her own business known as Buttermilk Station. The name comes from the earliest days of the Altus area, when the community served as a trading post for area ranches and received the nickname from the Cowboys who would often stop by for a glass of cold buttermilk. Becca has combined that rich history and pioneer spirit into a multifaceted business that serves customers of all sizes. Becca’s retail booth inside Abby Lane in Altus features creative decor, clothing, baby items, and specialty gifts while the service component of Buttermilk Station is able to create unique, one of a kind promotional items through computerized embroidery of hats, shirts, blankets, handkerchiefs, and other beautiful items. Becca purchased the embroidery business from longtime Altus residents Carl and Carmen Bills when they decided to retire. Becca says she cherishes the example Carl and Carmen set as pillars of the business community and strives to honor their legacy as she works with customers from single orders for individuals all the way up to large, bulk orders for local companies and organizations.
Above all, Brian and Becca say their most cherished titles are those of Mom and Dad to Tyler (13) and Melynn (6), who they pray will one day attend Harding University as well. The family worships at Elm & Hudson Church of Christ in Altus along with their extended family and strives to serve wherever they can, including the Altus All Sports Association and the Altus 12th Man Club and volunteering for Altus Public Schools.
On the football field and in the community, Harding University has some interesting connections to our City. Brian and Becca say they are incredibly honored to receive this award from a University they love so much, and they are very excited to cheer on Coach Reed and his Bulldogs as they make our community proud each week.
“Coach Reed has captured the spirit of what Harding is all about, and he is even taking that spirit to new heights in how he leads these young men,” said Brian Bush. “I am so proud of our Altus football team and so thankful that they are getting to experience a piece of what makes Harding special. The best part is that these Bulldog coaches and players are reminding us how to find the best in ourselves. It’s truly inspirational.”
Reach Michael Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org