Local bank president invests in disability and community services
DAVIS, Oklahoma — A legacy of community service. It’s a way for life for Wes Hilliard who follows in the footsteps of his father, uncles and grandfathers on both sides.
They were either preachers or politicians.
Hilliard, who lives in Sulphur with wife Melissa and their three children, is community president at Simmons Bank in Davis.
When he isn’t at the bank, kids’ activities, Leadership Murray County, Davis or Sulphur chambers of commerce, or Kiwanis, Hilliard finds time to serve as a member of the Oklahoma Commission for Rehabilitation Services.
The commission is the governing board for the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. The state agency, known as DRS, annually serves 76,000. Oklahomans with disabilities through 25 employment, education and independent living programs and the determination of medical eligibility for Social Security disability benefits.
Oklahoma School for the Deaf, which serves the state from Sulphur, is a DRS division.
Hilliard, who completed his first term as commission chair in June, was appointed to the governing board in July 2019 by Oklahoma House of Representatives Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka,
Hilliard started serving in the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2004 and refocused in 2012 to serve the community closer to home and his growing family.
“Speaker McCall, who appointed me, and I share a special place in our hearts for Oklahoma School for the Deaf,” Commissioner Hilliard said. “We know the school is part of our community, a top employer and a great organization that looks out for unmet needs of Oklahoma children.
“I learned as a commissioner and a representative about DRS’ other disability programs and their impact on the lives of people with disabilities across in the state,” he explained.
Hilliard’s easy-going, likeable personality and people skills are perfectly at home with his business knowledge, reputation and networking ability.
All he really needs is more hours in the day.
“Disability services, community or public service are about helping people, and banking is about helping people achieve their dreams -- of a new car, or starting up a business or buying their first house,” Hilliard said.
“I never dreamed I’d be a banker -- I have a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in education, but banking just happened. The common denominator is relationships – but it really is a good fit.”
Simmons Bank was founded in 1903 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and today has approximately $25.1 billion in total assets with more than 2,800 associates in six states. Simons was recognized as one of the World's Best Banks in 2021, ranking in the top 30 banks in the U.S.
Oklahoma School for the Deaf is a deaf education immersion school that offers an academic environment with high standards for Deaf and hard-of-hearing students. In 2020, 112 students attending OSD communicated using American Sign Language and English. As the Statewide Resource Center on Deafness, OSD provided 29,428 direct outreach services to students who attend other public schools, their families and educators. Contact: 580-622-4900, https://www.osd.k12.ok.us/ or Facebook @OKSchool4theDeaf.
More information about Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services is available at https://oklahoma.gov/okdrs.html, phone 800-845-8476 or visit Facebook @OKDRS.
For more information
Jody Harlan, DRS Communications Director