Paul Allen was short on cash but long on dreams and ambition when he came to Enid in 1973.

Working with a strong team, the hard-working entrepreneur grew the Advance Meat partnership into Enid’s largest private employer (now AdvancePierre Foods).

“This honor is really one that should go to about 2,000 people,” the humble Allen said while accepting the 2014 Pillar of the Plains award Thursday at Convention Hall.

Giving credit to others, Allen praised the city’s generosity in giving Advance the opportunity to move into a building on 54th, where the company operated with minimal expense and had an explosion of success.

Allen and his wife, Joan, underwrote construction of David Allen Memorial Ballpark. One of the nation’s finest amateur ballparks, it’s named for their late son.

Both have remained involved in the baseball program.

He also has supported Habitat for Humanity, Denny Price Family YMCA, Salvation Army and Rotary Club.

Allen is somewhat shy to the attention Pillar of the Plains brings, just like the other accolades he’s received from his community over the years.

Being humble is just one of the many fine character traits of Paul Allen.

Allen is the 12th Pillar chosen since 2003. He joins Bert Mackie, Lee Thompson, Janet Cordell, Dr. Charles Ogle, Lew Ward, Becky Cummings, Dr. Jerry Blankenship, April Danahy, Doug Frantz, Martie Oyler and Gail Wynne.

The 2014 Pillar honorees Frank Baker, Ernie Currier and Richard “Dick” McKnight also are deserving of respect and recognition.

The Enid News & Eagle created Pillar of the Plains with partners to honor those striving to improve our community’s quality of life.

Honorees are chosen through public nominations, which are reviewed by past awardees to select the Pillar of the Plains.

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