Army Specialist 5 Max Meek wasn’t sure he’d get to attend a University of Oklahoma football game at all this year. After nearly 50 years of being a season ticket holder, his name wasn’t chosen to receive tickets due to limited capacity because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve had tickets since 1972,” Meek said. “I really wanted to go to the first home game this year.”
Despite no season tickets, Meek found himself at the OU-Missouri State game Sept. 12, where he was honored as the OU College of Professional and Continuing Studies Patriot of the Game.
“When I found out I’d been selected, I was like, ‘Holy Mackerel!’ We go to all the games, so I knew what was going to happen. It was just a real shock and honor for them to do that for me. I really appreciate it.”
After dropping out of junior college in California, where he happened to play basketball with actor Tom Selleck, Meek was drafted into the Army in the summer of 1967, following in the footsteps of his father and brother who both served in the military. Meek was sent to Vietnam to serve as a platoon medic. He served from 1967 to 1969, earning a Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Combat Medical Badge.
“Most draftees were in the infantry, but for some reason they made me a medic for the infantry,” Meek said. “I went through the training, and they sent me to Vietnam.”
Meek moved around, serving with several different platoons. He earned the Purple Heart due to injuries he incurred in February of 1968 while with the 25th Infantry division during the Tet Offensive.
“We were on a mission, had a real heavy fire fight and had to call in an airstrike. We had taken a lot of casualties. They dropped bombs pretty close, and I got wounded,” Meek said. “We lost more people during that time period than the rest of the war.”
When Meek got out of the service in 1969, his parents had moved from Los Angeles to Norman. He decided to stay in Norman himself and enrolled at OU, earning an accounting degree in 1972.
“OU let me in on probation. By this time, I had a little more sense,” he joked. “I got my accounting degree and then went to work at Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (OEC) in 1975. I stayed there until I retired.”
During his 40 years with OEC, Meek worked his way up to general manager before retiring in 2016. It was a member of his OEC family who nominated him for the Patriot of the Game honor.
“When I found out I’d been selected, I was like, ‘Holy Mackerel!’ We go to all the games, so I knew what was going to happen,” Meek said. “It was just a real shock and honor for them to do that for me. I really appreciate it.”
Today, Meek lives in Norman where he enjoys fishing, spending time with his family and, of course, Sooner football.
“I attended my first OU game in 1967. I enjoyed it so much,” he said. “I have so many great memories of going to games over the years, but this one was just fantastic.”
The College of Professional and Continuing Studies has a long history of meeting the educational needs of military-affiliated students by providing onsite and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs for service members, veterans and their dependents. The college began sponsoring Patriot of the Game during the 2019 football season to further its commitment to this mission.
To nominate your military hero for Patriot of the Game, visit the Patriot of the Game website, patriot.pacs.ou.edu.