Support Salvation Army Wildfire Relief

A group of lifetime residents band together to help Hollis, OK

HOLLIS, OKLAHOMA -- A walk down Broadway versus a walk down memory lane.

Local attorney David Cummins says, "We debated about whether this was a dress shop or that was a little grocery store."

The two didn't fit well together for this group of longtime Hollis residents, people who grew up here and remembered the three barber shops and the soda fountain.

Longtime 'Hollisers' like Betty Motley really did notice the decline of their town.

"I think, for all of us, this is a lifetime endeavor," she states.

The old Motley Hotel opened in 1928 and is still a picture of vanished splendor.

She'd organized town cleanups before, but it took a meeting at the courthouse a year ago.

Betty recalls, "The Harmon County Treasurer explained to us that our budget was in trouble."

That's what really got more residents like attorney Cummins to join in.

"Each of us, individually, had seen what was happening to our community."

Eddie Watson did some of his own town clean up, but really got energized with the formation of this group calling itself Harmon County Forward.

"We take what we can get and do with what we have," says Watson.

Another retired teacher and coach, Larry Taylor, got on board, and in the past year things have started happening.

New trees line Broadway's new sidewalks.

The courthouse has a new set of flower beds.

There are new signs up and even a new mural in front of the old barbershop to hide the empty storefront behind.

Taylor says, "We've set down and talked about immediate needs, 3 year plan, 5 year plan, 10 year plan."

The swimming pool, closed for five years is open again.

Hollis, Oklahoma, like so many other small, western towns, could have dried up completely.

A lot of the people are gone, yes, but enough pride remains in some places to keep the doors open and the traffic humming.

For more information on what Harmon County Forward is doing to spruce up Hollis they have a page on http://www.facebook.com/HarmonCountyForward