HULBERT – Shirley Teague has served as mayor of Hulbert for 14 years, but she's been on the Town Council since 2003.
Her dream for Hulbert's future is to grow and prosper, and one of her favorite things to do is spend time in town, just looking around.
She thinks what makes Hulbert a great place to call home is its people.
"We are like one big family," she said.
The park – which has had a few additions – and the Christmas parade, are two of the projects of which she's most proud.
"We've added shelters, a splash pad, lighted walking trail, and playground equipment, and when I drive by the park and see everybody in the park enjoying it, I know we have dome something people can enjoy," she said. "We have also installed street lights on the east side of town."
She credits Brigette Manes for coming up with the Christmas parade.
"She came to me and we worked together. Brigette said other towns have a parade, so why can't we? So we did, and it has grown every year and been a success," Teague said. "We also have an Easter egg hunt, and the police department has a Trunk or Treat in the park."
Teague was 3 years old when her family moved to Hulbert, where she has always lived except for a year when her husband worked construction in Oklahoma City. The last day of work, he came home and told her to load up: "We're going to Hulbert. And if we starve, it will be in Hulbert."
The Teagues have made a difference in their hometown. They were married 59 years before he died, and they had three children: two daughters and a son. Teague has five grandchildren – four boys and one girl – and seven great-grandchildren.
Fridays are one of Teague's favorite days because she cooks for the entire family.
"They almost all always come, and they don't eat and leave, but hang around," she said. "Sometimes I have to joke and ask if they're ever going home, but I'm glad they like to spend time together and with me."
Tahlequah folks may remember her, as she retired from the post office after 30 years as a window clerk, with 10 being at the Hulbert Post Office. After retiring, she wanted to get more involved in the community and decided to run for Town Council.
"My husband had served on the board and was fire chief, and I thought it was time to give time to Hulbert," she said.
The mayoral position is not elected, but councilors – or trustees – choose a mayor, according to Teague. In April 2021, her term will end, and she's decided to go off the board.
"I've worked with some very good council members, problems we have had we solved by working together, so this has made the job much easier," Teague said.
George Truitt, Ken Fore Jr., and Ed Beckham are former council members she named who have worked to make Hulbert a better place to live.
"Current board members Jim Morgan and Tristan Brave, Rex and Tina Jordan, and of course, my husband, Frank, and how he built the fire department up from one truck, and no station into a new station, and several trucks – this is just the tip of the iceberg of people who have done good things in Hulbert," she said.
And people in Hulbert have nothing but praise for Teague.
Police Chief Casey Rowe has known her 20-1/2 years, and he's been chief for five.
"I've got a big heart for her because she's all about Hulbert," Rowe said. "It's how she's always helping people. She's all about what's right is right, and what's wrong is wrong, and she's all about doing what's right for Hulbert. She's a person you can sit down and talk to and enjoy talking to. She's one of the best bosses I'll ever have."
City Clerk Leona Welch said Teague is just one of those people who takes everything into consideration before she makes a decision.
"I've worked with her a long time. I've been here 34 years, and she came in around 2003. She tries to do the best she can on behalf of the town and here and the employees. And that takes someone really special," said Welch. "She keeps the youth in mind, like with the park. She's a listener and works on a strategy to help any organizations and the school."
Teague has been a cornerstone for Hulbert for as long as he can remember, said Trustee Tristan Brave, who joined the board last April. He remembers first grade when she visited the school to read a book to his class.
"She has made huge strides for the betterment of our town and the lives of all of Hulbert's residents. Many may not be aware of the work she has done, yet she has pushed for advancements in this community to ensure the safety and longevity of of its people," Brave said. "I am thankful to be working with Mayor Shirley Teague. Her devotion to the people of Hulbert is more than honorable, and I would like to thank her for being such a positive role model for the kids in our community."