"He's everything good about Oklahoma."
You nominated them and now it's time to meet another of our 2007 Oklahoma Hero nominees. Today's nominee is likely in the best physical shape of our nine finalists, but NEWS 9's Doug Warner reports it's his spiritual strength others are relying on the most.
It's raining, it's early and the only sign of light is the beacon lighting the sky above Shawnee Municipal Airport.
"A lot of times, an hour earlier than this, we were up running," said Army National Guardsman Lieutenant David Jordan.
This hour was early enough for me, but not so early for these two members of the Oklahoma Army National Guard.
"Fortunately, I think we've ran enough that the habit has been formed," Jordan said.
This duos' habit of running laps around the airport together first began a little more than a year ago, and some 60-pounds ago.
"I'm not going to lie it's always been a bit of a struggle," Jordan said.
Way back then at 270 pounds, Lieutenant Jordan says just finding the energy to play with the kids was difficult. So you would understand why he thought his pipe dream of becoming an Army Chaplain seemed about as long as that run around the airport.
"It's not just about being in shape. It's about me being able to serve soldiers by serving my God," Jordan said.
Jordan's in the Army now, and he's already run himself halfway through the Chaplaincy program. However, Lieutenant Jordan says he would have never achieved his higher calling if he hadn't reached out to a member of his church congregation, OHP Trooper and National Guard Command Sergeant Major Doug DeRyckere.
"I do have camaraderie in Highway Patrol and National Guard. I just never thought anyone from church would want to get out and run, so that was pretty neat," said Command Sergeant Major Doug DeRyckere.
Lieutenant Jordan really knows how to pick them, DeRyckere heads up the Oklahoma National Guard training academy, he's also quite a spiritual man.
"And I've shared with him some prayer time I've had with God. I think that hit home also," said DeRyckere.
Unfortunately the days of pre-dawn runs together have become a rather rare occurrence. You see Lieutenant Jordan's running buddy has been tied up a bit recovering from a motorcycle accident, a clogged artery, and the possibility of being deployed overseas.
"My unit itself can be called up tomorrow," said DeRyckere.
Just hours after their run DeRyckere was flying to Fort Bliss in preparation of the 45th Infantry's upcoming deployment, "But that's why I raised my right hand and why I did back in 1973," he said.
Over three decades of dedication to his country and it turns out...
"Have you ever been called a hero before?" asked NEWS 9's Doug Warner.
"No, I haven't," responded DeRyckere.
The word hero had never been uttered to the Command Sergeant Major, until now.
"He's everything good about Oklahoma," Lieutenant Jordan said.
And everything good about our select class of Oklahoma Heroes, "It's nice to know someone would go to this extent to say thanks," DeRyckere said.