Herschel Brewster presented with 2020 Cecil Perkins Service Award
Updated: Jun 29
Herschel Brewster, President and CEO of First National Bank and Trust Company, has been chosen as the 2020 recipient of the Cecil Perkins Service Award. SWOSU Athletic Director Todd Thurman presented Brewster with his award earlier this month.
“Herschel has been a long-time, committed supporter of SWOSU Athletics and he’s one of the founding members of the SWOSU Athletic Association,” Thurman said. “He has been committed to the success of our athletic programs both on and off the field of competition. We can’t thank Herschel enough for all of his help and involvement with our department throughout the years.”
This is the eighth year that the Cecil Perkins Service Award has been presented. The award is named for Perkins, the former SWOSU Athletic Director who passed away in September 2013. Perkins helped pioneer the direction of the Bulldogs' athletic programs for more than a quarter century, elevating the SWOSU Athletic Department to the NCAA Division II level. His philosophy of putting the student-athlete first in any decision has led to hundreds of individual success stories that continue to positively impact the new generation of students, coaches and teams at SWOSU and beyond.
“Cecil Perkins was a man of service and he believed in Southwestern. He was a perfect example of striving to see SWOSU and the Weatherford community thrive,” Brewster said. “I’m very honored and humbled to receive an award named after Cecil Perkins and I would like to say thank you Todd Thurman and the SWOSU Athletic Department for thinking of me.”
Brewster and his family moved to Weatherford from Cordell in 1990 as he accepted the position of Head Lender at First National Bank. He had previously taught at Cordell for three years before becoming an Ag Specialist for Farmers National Bank, which was later acquired by First National Bank. In 1999, he moved into his current position as the President and CEO at First National Bank.
Since relocating to Weatherford, Brewster has been an active member of the community. He’s a past president of the Weatherford Arena Economic Development Foundation, the Weatherford Area Chamber of Commerce, YMCA and Rotary and in 2019 he was inducted into the Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame. Within his profession, he also serves on the Bank Board of Directors for the Oklahoma Bankers Association.
Even before moving to Weatherford, Brewster and his family would often attend SWOSU Basketball games, coming to watch John Loftin’s Lady Bulldogs in the midst of their great run in the 1980’s and Cordell native Brad Lenaburg as he played on the Men’s Basketball team. That also helped Brewster build connections with the university.
Brewster credits former Bulldog Booster Club President Dr. Joe Phillips and former SWOSU President John Hays along with Perkins for getting him involved with the SWOSU Athletic Department. The program’s success at the NAIA level in the 1980’s and 1990’s helped bring great notoriety to Weatherford, which is something he remembers fondly for the community.
“We heard about that 1996 Football National Championship for five years,” Brewster said. “I’d be off at meetings and there would be other bankers talking about seeing something about that championship team. Any time you can get your name out there, it brings more publicity and awareness to Weatherford and Southwestern. That’s the reason this town has done like it has is because of Southwestern and the successes they’ve had and we’ve been able to help them with some of that.”
“It’s immeasurable the economic impact that SWOSU has on this town and area,” he continued.
Once SWOSU reclassified to NCAA Division II, it was Hays who approached a group of Bulldog supporters about making an increased commitment to helping Bulldog Athletics. Included in that group was Brewster, who was active in helping build up the SWOSU Athletic Association, which now raises money to benefit student-athletes, primarily through scholarships.
Brewster is a past President of the SWOSU Athletic Association and a member of the board since its formation. He has taken great pride in helping build up the organization by bringing in new members and watching the growth and success of the SWOSU Athletic Auction, which is the biggest fundraising event of the year for the department.
“So many students have benefited from SWOSU – not just athletes – and they’ve bettered their way of life by having a college degree,” Brewster said. “We need to remember that this university has helped thousands and thousands of young people become better and more productive citizens. SWOSU has been a huge asset to humanity and to our community and we need to work really hard to make sure that continues for years and years to come.”
Among those young people to benefit from Southwestern Oklahoma State University are Brewster’s children, Amber and Colby, who both played golf for Perkins at SWOSU. Both of his children would go on to earn a degree from SWOSU and both are married to SWOSU grads as well.
“Southwestern means a lot to us. My kids are better kids today because of Cecil Perkins,” he said.
To this day, Brewster remains active with the SWOSU Athletic Association, often lending a hand to help with feeding teams or raising funds for recruiting. He plans to continue doing his part to make the community better and would encourage others in the area to do the same.
“The thing we have to remember is nobody is going to take care of Southwestern but us and that’s what Cecil would tell us,” Brewster said. “I hope by doing this, others will get involved and I hope that I’ll make Cecil Perkins proud.”
Cecil Perkins Service Award Recipients
2020: Herschel Brewster
2019: Stan Garrison
2018: Les Crall
2017: Jim Litsch
2016: Jimmy Harrel
2015: Rick Koch
2014: Max & Judy Pyron
2013: Joe Phillips
By SWOSU Athletics