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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

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For Immediate Release: May 6, 2008

Sen. Jeff Rabon honors career of one of state's first Highway Patrolmen
Sen. Jeff Rabon pays tribute to retired State Trooper Ed Vandergriff
who was honored by the Senate on Tuesday.

Senate Pays Tribute to State’s Oldest Trooper

In 1937 Ed Vandergriff was among the very first state troopers to serve the state when the Oklahoma Highway Patrol was first formed. At the age of 97, he is now the oldest living retired trooper in the state.
On Tuesday the State Senate honored Vandergriff with the passage of Senate Concurrent Resolution 86. Sen. Jeff Rabon was principal author of SCR 86. The measure was co-authored by Rep. R.C. Pruett, Rep. Paul Roan and Rep. Glenn Bud Smithson who are all former state troopers.

Rabon said Vandergriff had been a long-time family friend.

“Ed was a teacher in Frogville, Oklahoma when he read a newspaper article about the legislature creating the Highway Patrol. He applied and was a member of the first state trooper class at OU in 1937,” said Rabon, D-Hugo. “He left for a few years to protect his country in World War II, but after returning home he returned to his job as a trooper. He really is a hero.”

Rabon said Vandergriff had often recounted the technical challenges troopers faced in the early days. The only communication device in the 1937 Ford he drove was a giant pole wrapped in copper wire placed on the bumper. Every time Vandergriff and his partner went under an overpass, one of them would have to get out of the car to remove the pole so the vehicle could drive underneath.

Vandergriff eventually retired from the Highway Patrol in 1960, later serving as sheriff of Choctaw County for two years before retiring to a farm.

Vandergriff said he’d slowed down since turning 97, but was still doing “pretty good.” He also applauded the members of the Senate for their service.

“You have a job to do and you’re doing it,” Vandergriff said. “We appreciate you.”

For more information contact:
Senator Rabon's Office:  (405) 521-5614

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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