Dear Conservation Friends

From M. Darrel Dominick, NRCS State Conservationist (Ret.)

Dear Conservation Friends:

My family and I want to thank you for your support, prayers, and friendship over the past two tough months. Through adversity we have found hope because of you folks and our faith that a brighter day is ahead.

One of Gwyn’s favorite movies is “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart. I know you know how the movie goes and you know it concerns the adversity a man and his family goes through that brought agony and uncertainty. But through this tough time, an angel named Clarence, who’s looking for his opportunity to earn his wings, is sent to guide the man through his life to a point where he realizes that what’s important are all the people in his life. Clarence continues to say that whenever you hear a bell an angel earns wings.

We had a friend give us a bell shaped like an angel. The inscription on the bell reads “No man is a failure who has friends.” You have given us a great gift by being our friends and insuring that we know we have not failed. We thank you for this special gift.

I want to assure you that I did my best with every opportunity and challenge presented over the past six years. I am proud of our work together because we did make the Oklahoma landscape better. I thank you again for the opportunity to be a part of this special time and your partner, who will support locally-led conservation to the end of my days.

I want to also assure you that I did my best to not have this reassignment occur. I was told to basically make Congressman Lucas “happy” by quieting the questions at the national level being asked about appropriations and allocations. I could not answer all of those questions because I did not have the information necessary to answer them. I answered questions and provided information concerning the Oklahoma NRCS budget and what I did know about the national scenario.

I did not ask Congressman Lucas or anyone else to place amendments on appropriation legislation that would do anything to anyone’s budget. I asked no one to lobby for any such action.

I did not have anything to do with Chief Knight’s departure from the agency and subsequent promotion. Those are decisions made in Washington, D.C., and I live in Stillwater, Okla.
I did continue to take up for what I know was needed in Oklahoma for operations and keeping conservation work on track. If I had it to do over again, I would stand up again for the conservation efforts here along with doing the right thing. I will continue to do business this way.

I encourage all of you to focus on providing leadership to get conservation on the land for our customers. I encourage you to not forget that you can set the conservation agenda for the United States! Oklahoma leaders did this from the Dust Bowl to today and it should be expected to continue in the future.

I will close by thanking all of you again for what you do here in Oklahoma. I ask you to support the next state conservationist and achieve bigger and better conservation on the land than what we have accomplished since 2000. My family, over the past three generations, thanks you for the opportunity to be a part of the Oklahoma conservation family. It was a great 66 years!

Take care. It’s a wonderful life!

M. Darrel Dominick, NRCS State Conservationist (Retired)