12:10 to the Top: Brian Bush

  • 12:10 to the Top: Brian Bush

Last month Brian Bush, a former member of the U.S. Air Force Education and Training Command Civic Leaders Group, was named resident advocate for Altus Air Force Base, a position created by Congress with the passing of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act in response to challenges many families in military housing face.

“The military servicemembers themselves get all the credit – and they deserve that – for putting themselves in harm’s way,” said Bush. “But their families serve right along with them and the very least we can do is provide them with safe, quality housing.”

Before accepting his new post, Bush, a practicing attorney who is the current vice-chair of Altus’ Military Affair Committee, had served as the executive director for Quartz Mountain Arts and Conference Center and Nature Park in Lone Wolf, just 15 minutes north of Altus, where he oversaw the day-to-day schedules of the 4,000-acre resort that features a 118-guestroom lodge, conference and venue facilities, an RV park and camping amenities as well as an 18-hole golf course. When the opportunity to help military families was presented, Bush felt he was right for the job.

“When the resident advocate position was first posted, I was really interested because it was a chance to do something I had been doing in a volunteer capacity through the MAC,” he said. “This was a chance for me to step into that role full-time, and it’s great to be able to assist these families while their family members are serving.”

As Altus AFB’s resident advocate, Bush is responsible for monitoring data, meeting with residents and talking directly to families who live in base housing to ensure their concerns are heard and that any

maintenance issues are taken care of in a timely manner. The role also functions as a liaison between military families, Altus AFB’s Wing Commander, the Military Housing Office and the privatized housing project owner so that together we ensure “that our military families live in quality, safe, energy-efficient homes,” he said.

Altus AFB has more than 500 on-base homes for military families, Bush stated. Continuing MAC’s mission, he will work with community leaders to help military families in homes outside the gate as well. “I’m excited to be in discussions about off-base housing so we can continue to improve opportunities for military families in the city of Altus and they can be more engaged in the community,” he said.

Growing up on a wheat and cotton farm west of Altus, Bush is grateful for his parents, David and Melody.

“Individually, Dad taught me a strong work ethic and Mom inspired me to get an education,” he said. “And together they taught me to live my faith and do everything in my power to make the world around me a better place.”

As a youth, Bush had the ability to formulate a strong, well-structured argument, he added. In 7th grade, he enrolled in a legal issues class that delved “into cases we had heard about all our lives,” he said. “It was a lot of fun because Mr. (Johnny) Morrow taught us about legal cases and our system of government.”

The class was also involved in programs at the state Capitol, where they reenacted “model congress, wrote and argued legislation on the House floor,” said Bush. “It was a huge game changer for some of us, farm kids, from Altus.”

Another influence, Mr. Morrow’s wife, Rebecca, taught social studies at the high school challenged students to contextualize current events into history and political science, Bush said.

As a senior at Altus High, Bush’s guidance counselor, the late Susie Hardage, encouraged him to look into Harding University, a private Christian college in Searcy, Ark. At Harding he received a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration, focusing on pre-law. He then was accepted into the University of Oklahoma College of Law where he earned his juris doctor.

After an internship at the Oklahoma County DA’s Office, Bush began his law career as an assistant district attorney. He then opened his criminal defense practice in Norman before being named assistant dean of students at Harding University. To be closer to family, Bush then became an adjunct professor and director of government relations at Oklahoma Christian University where he was involved in fundraising and the Academy of Leadership and Liberty.

“At the Academy of Leadership and Liberty, we worked on programs like the ones that meant so much to me growing up, bringing students together from across the state and around the region to learn more about leadership and how to get engaged in topics that matter to them and how to utilize our system of government and what we were blessed with in our liberties to actually make a difference in our communities,” he said.

The academy then created the Four-Star Leadership Program alongside General Tommy Franks, “teaming up the best and brightest students from around the nation as well as other countries to address major national topics to investigate challenges and formulate viable solutions,” he said. “Our theory was ‘if we turned their young innovative minds on to those problems as high school students, imagine what they could solve by the time they reached adulthood.’”

In 2011, Bush was presented the Chairman’s Award from the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce for his passion for the community and the chamber. In 2015, he and his wife Becca were both awarded Outstanding Young Alumnus from their alma mater Harding University.

Taking part in the 62nd annual National Security Forum at the Air War College at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., Bush described the forum as a “fascinating program with some of the best and brightest minds around the country [where] civilians learn about hotspots and challenges all around the world, what is causing those issues and what our response can be both diplomatically and militarily, if necessary.”

Bush serves as the president of the Harding University National Alumni Network. He is a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association and Jackson County Bar Association and is a board member for Jackson County Crime Stoppers. He has also been active with Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs, a conservative think tank working closely with elected officials on policies and projections at the state level.

Bush’s wife Becca works for a local CPA and is church secretary at Elm & Hudson Church of Christ. The couple have been happily married for 20 years, Bush said joyfully. Their son Tyler is a freshman at Texas Tech and their daughter Melynn is a 5th grader at Altus Intermediate.

“Becca and I are really proud of our kids,” said Bush. “We try to raise them knowing that regardless of where they live or what their profession may be, as long as they are willing to do the work and be sincere, learn and listen, they can make a difference.”