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Staying connected with the community

Brian Smith
Larry Ozbun sifts through pictures and newspapers he has collected. Ozbun has lived in Craig since 1960 and has served in several community organizations including the Lions Club. Currently, he is active in tracing his genealogy and family roots.
Courtesy Photo

Larry Ozbun, 70, has a business card despite no longer owning a business.

Printed in the bottom left corner of the otherwise empty, pale cream colored card is:

“Larry M. Ozbun



Craig, Colorado

You’ve heard of me.”

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Chances are, Ozbun said, that during his 50 years in Craig, most residents have seen or heard of the man who served Moffat County in the Army National Guard Craig Armory, Lions Club and the Republican Party.

His business card formalizes what he informally tries to do with his life: stay connected with people, events and politics.

Ozbun said connecting with the world is what he has always done and will continue to do, despite his age.

Currently, the Republican Ozbun, is as active as ever in local politics. Although he serves in a support capacity now, he enjoys meeting with local officials, encouraging residents to run for office and supporting state and federal candidates.

He is currently helping Bob McConnell, a Steamboat Springs resident, promote his Repub­lican bid for the Third Congres­sional District seat.

McConnell said people like Ozbun are “rare but not unique” in their passion for politics and “determination to pass along something better to their grandchildren.”

“He brings a great historical knowledge about the political environment in that part of the world,” McConnell said.

McConnell said he also admires Ozbun’s knack for connecting with people and knowledge of history and how it applies to the political scene.

“The power of history is lost on the younger generation, and he is a living history,” McConnell said.

Ozbun said he has noticed a political apathy in younger generations. He tries to counter growing political indifference by trying to involve the younger generation in the political process.

He discusses political matters with his family and 14 grandchildren and takes them to political meetings he attends.

Many other residents his age follow politics, he said, but sometimes give up on the issues because their voices are not being heard over the political clamor.

“Some of them walk away because they’re disappointed,” he said. “I can’t say that I haven’t been disappointed over time.”

But walking away, Ozbun said, is not the kind of person he is.

Politics have been the one constant in Ozbun’s life, even from a young age.

Ozbun grew up “watching the speaker on the radio,” catching bits and pieces of presidential speeches, political affairs and news.

It wasn’t until he started working for the Great Bend Tribune in Great Bend, Kan., as a delivery boy that he started to get a sense of the world and news.

During off hours, he manned the newspaper complaint desk, hearing the clicking of the news wire behind him. He would watch the headlines scroll out of the teletype and read the leads before anyone else knew the news.

It was from this constant stream of information that Ozbun developed his political passion and later a love of getting other people involved in the world around them.

After moving to Craig in 1960, Ozbun became involved in many community organizations such as the Lions Club and the Junior Chamber of Commerce. During his tenure in both, he increased membership greatly, he said.

In 1972, Ozbun got involved in the Moffat County Republican Party and served as a precinct chairman. He served for eight years as county civil defense coordinator. Later, he became the county GOP chairman and ran for Moffat County Com­mission.

The decision to take a lead role in local politics and community affairs stems from a lifelong trait Ozbun has.

Although he said he is somewhat shy, Ozbun enjoys meeting and getting the community involved in local matters.

“The challenge is not leading so much,” he said. “It doesn’t do you much good to go charging out there if you look over your shoulder and there is nobody behind you.

“Leadership is training other people to follow you.”

Throughout his life, Ozbun has not only led in the political arena, but also in his military service. He served in the Army Reserve and Army National Guard for 28 years. He retired from service with the rank of captain at 60.

Ozbun furthered his love for connecting with others through the business he started with another partner in 1968 — Credit and Collection Services. He ran the company while also serving in the National Guard until 1990, when he closed the business after feeling too overwhelmed by all of his responsibilities.

However, four years later, Ozbun found a hole in his life. He needed to connect with those around him. He then started investigating genealogy, working to connect his family tree. He recently submitted his DNA to a national registry called the Osborn-Ausburn surname project.

Along with discovery of family and lineage, Ozbun has a knack for the mechanical side of life.

In 1955, he raced in the National Hot Rod Association’s first sanctioned drag races in Great Bend. He won his first heat with his 1949 Ford Flathead coupe but lost the second heat.

Lately, he spends his time restoring a 1967 Chevy truck.

But what Ozbun enjoys most, what he remains most active in, is still what he grew up with — politics.

“It’s a privilege and a right,” he said

Brian Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or briansmith@craigdailypress.com.


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