On Tuesday, the Senate recognized an Oklahoma soldier for his service to his country as well as his humanitarian efforts to help needy Iraqi families and those of deployed soldiers. Senate Resolution 41, by Sen. Harry Coates, Don Barrington and Randy Bass, commends Colonel William J. Finley
“My family and I have known Col. Finley for sometime and he has been an inspiration to all of us as well as everyone else who knows him. He has the heart of a true steward,” said Coates, R-Seminole. “He’s an amazing man and a great soldier and American. At the same time that he’s serving his country overseas, he’s building important relationships with the Iraqis he’s helping as those Iraqi children will be the leaders of tomorrow.”
Finley was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Regular Army in Field Artillery in May 1982. From then until February 2007, he held a variety of artillery position. His most recent position was Brigade Commander for the 2nd Iraqi Army Brigade/3rd Iraqi Army Division in Tal A‘Far, Iraq.
In 2007, Finley along with a group of caring Oklahomans in coordination with the Armed Services YMCA in Lawton helped found “Operation: Blankets are OK!”, a charity to provide blankets and other items to the children of deployed Fort Sill soldiers as well as needy children in Iraq. His coordinating efforts in Iraq at Fort Sill, where he is currently serving as the Deputy G5 at the Fires Center of Excellence, along with his outreach efforts to Oklahoma communities and organizations including the Oklahoma State Senate last fall has resulted in his team providing aid and comfort in the form of medical clinics, food supplies, and clothing.
“It’s always an honor for us when we have the opportunity to recognize our military men and women and the work they do for our state and country, especially those like Colonel Finley who go above and beyond the call of duty,” said Barrington, R-Lawton. “His outreach efforts in have made a tremendous difference in the lives of so many families both in Iraq and here in Oklahoma.”
Over the years, he has received numerous awards and decorations including the Bronze Star, the Distinguished Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the United States Army Ranger Tab, the Master Parachutist Badge, the Air Assault Badge, and the Combat Action Badge.
“What an incredible person! The fact that he saw how desperately in need some of those Iraqi families were and took the initiative to help begin a charity says so much about his character,” said Bass, D-Lawton. “We, in the Senate, were so proud to get to participate and help him in that effort, and we wish him lots of success in the future with it.”