Every first Saturday of May, on a deceptively unassuming, and historically significant plot of land along Comanche Gap Road, in Harker Heights, the Tribal Council chooses a new Medicine Man.
The council, along with dozens of Harker Heights and Killeen community members, recognized Anthony “Tony” Dunn as this year’s Medicine Man award recipient.
The award is recognition bestowed on an individual for practicing good medicine — selfless service to others in the community.
Dunn, 69, of Killeen, joins a lineage stretching back to 1979. That year the Tribal Council selected its first Medicine Man — Herb Gormley.
“I was very surprised by my selection,” Dunn stated. “It really means a lot.”
Each year, since the passing of his father Bill Alford, David Alford has served as the Master of Ceremonies. This year, Medicine Man, and Tribal Council Member, Al “Doc” Wilson presented Dunn with his official regalia — the Medicine Man cowboy hat.
“You can tell how wise they are by how many feathers they have in their hat,” Alford said, referencing the tradition of placing a singular turkey feather into the hat of the new Medicine Man and a new one each year thereafter.
“It’s about giving credit to the Medicine Men. Those who help with community projects and at-risk youth,” Alford explained.
Dunn practiced much of his good medicine in the field of education with 36 years of experience as an educator and athletic trainer — 30 years at Ellison High School.
Previously, Dunn had been recognized by the Bluebonnet Chapter of the American Red Cross with a Certificate of Recognition for Extraordinary Personal Action, in 1990, and by VFW Post 9192 as Volunteer Firefighter of the Year, in 1982.
Also, his ownership, along with his father, at Shine & Dunn Tire Service has been relevant to his community involvement.
Since his retirement, Dunn has been employed by the Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home.
“My mom and dad taught me well and how to treat people,” Dunn stated. “It shows how much it means to me to do the right thing.”
Explaining that he’s had plenty of support along the way, Dunn stated, “I have a great wife, Karen and children – Dawn and Toby. I also have three grandchildren: Hallie, Andy, and Jessica.”
In addition to acknowledging the importance of family, Dunn said,” My job as a teacher and athletic trainer working with the kids — seeing them out and having them recognize me is very humbling.”