For three decades, he’s been ‘The Man on the Wichita Truck,’ but one of East Texas Oil Museum’s familiar faces has a new moniker after he was renamed in honor of a 40-year veteran oilhand and all his comrades in the oilfield.
Always hard at work, frozen in time in the middle of the museum’s central diorama, ‘Gwynn’ symbolizes the then-and-now contributions of oil-and-gas workers, immortalized in Boomtown, USA.
He’s named in honor of the late-Gwynn Gee, who spent more than 40 years at work in the industry. He was selected for the distinction after receiving 529 votes in an online poll conducted by ETOM Director Olivia Moore, who helped KC President Brenda Kays recognize Gee during National Oil and Gas Industry Appreciation Day Aug. 27.
“We love our community’s history and we celebrate that every day,” Moore said. “The first well to produce here in the East Texas Oilfield was the Daisy Bradford No. 3 that came in on Oct. 3, 1930,” but it was Aug. 27, 1859, that the first commercial well was drilled in the United States.
ETOM marked the day with free admission for all oilfield workers and their families as well as door prizes and other activities in addition to the recognition of Gwynn Gee.
“We’re honored to have his story as part of our museum,” Moore said.
Gee’s children – Greg, Galena and Gwynda – were on-hand for Tuesday’s event, and Kays praised their father’s dedication to his career in the oilfield alongside many, many others.
“I think that we can all agree that oil and finding oil was the event that put Kilgore on the map,” she added. “However, it was the people that actually made it happen and gave oil its face in Kilgore and in East Texas.”
For Greg Gee, it was a proud moment to accept a plaque from Kays honoring his father and to see a new white-and-blue patch, bearing the name Gwynn, on the Boomtown figure.
“I don’t get goosebumps very often, but I did,” he said. “It’s a really unique experience, and it makes me really proud.”