A community doesn’t have to be on a map to leave a memory or several memories.
During David Gammill’s youth, Ahpeatone was down to only the school and the church that met in the school on Sundays.
“But it was also a strong and vibrant farm community with a strong German influence,” Gammill said. “Neighbors were close in distance and close in heart. Death or sickness always brought food and visits from friends nearby. The farm wives would be ashamed if there wasn’t five times more food than the grieving family could ever eat.”
Gammill remembers with pride how good it felt “when my dad sent my brother and I to plow a neighbor’s fields when he had a heart attack.”
The tables eventually turned, but the response remained the same.
“I still tear up remembering how it felt when a neighbor’s tractors and drill showed up in our field as I struggled to plant our crop after my dad’s heart attack,” Gammill said. “Whether it was floods, tornadoes, or snow, everyone looked out after the people and livestock around them.”
‘I am truly blessed’
Now 61 years old, Gammill has school, farm and organizational ties to Walters and his insurance agency is in Grandfield.
However, Ahpeatone is still in his heart.
The school closed after Gammill’s fourth-grade year. But today he’s the head deacon and primary maintenance man for that Ahpeatone church.
And another thing that hasn’t changed is that help quickly appears when needed.
“A neighbor got sick during calving season last year, and me and several others made many a trip to pull calves and walk up a cow in labor,” Gammill said.
That sense of caring and commitment also has led Gammill to be involved with several organizations. He has served on the Walters Coop Elevator board for 20 years.
He’s served on the Cotton County Farm Bureau Board, the Cotton County Industrial Board and was involved in the Cotton County Cattlemen’s Association. Gammill is known by many in the wheat industry, having served as a director on the Oklahoma Wheat Growers Association for about 30 years.
Those are a few of the organizations he has or continues to serve.
“In every case, it is to ensure that my community and my industry can survive and thrive,” Gammill said. “Agriculture and ag communities in Oklahoma have gone through tremendous challenges and great reductions in the last 35 years. There are fewer people to serve as leaders, yet the need for concerned, dedicated and unselfish leadership has never been greater.
“Years of dealing with droughts, flood, embargoes, overproduction, regulations and 50 other challenges gives you a hope that there are solutions and help somewhere. There is always hope.”
In his life he’s seen many changes and expects more.
“I know that all things are under God’s control, and He opens and closes doors in our lives for His reasons,” Gammill said.
“My life has seen great challenges, but I feel it was to lead me to great blessings now.
“I feel my experience has let me add good leadership where I have been led to serve. I am truly blessed in all ways, with a good family, health and businesses.”