The Claremore Daily Progress challenged readers to tell the story, real or imagined, of Sarge the Swan. Compiled here are the three winning short story submissions as well as previous reports about Sarge the Swan from the Claremore Daily Progress and the now defunct Rogers State University Hillpost.
First Place Sarge: The Untold Story
BY BRIANNA WAGNER
Life as a covert avian officer was more complicated than the bird (known as “The White Menace”) thought it would be. He had trained for many seasons to become a highly specialized combatant; dedicating his life to the flock. He stood apart from his dull feathered geese-in-arms and had proven himself to be a cut above the rest. Command took notice and he was given the assignment of a lifetime.
He was to be relocated, indefinitely, to act as security for a high-profile location and, while he had never heard of Claremore Oklahoma, he was prepared to give his very life to the cause. The students of Rogers State University were, according to Command, the future and it was his job to protect the students and to report suspicious activity. He was forbidden to speak of his assignment to anyone and was to remain deep undercover, using the locals to gather intel. He was also given a new name, one that the students and faculty of his new home would refer to him as: Sarge.
The assignment was, in the beginning, rather uneventful. He had detected no signs of fowl play on the campus and, other than the locals and tourists, no strange birds were ever seen. He made nice with the locals, gave the tourists a nice pond to stay at during their visit, and kept a watchful eye on the students. The Crow family often gossiped with him about which students were cruel and which were likely to give out food and the tourists, with their strange accents, were so polite that he actually enjoyed their visits. Life was simple but he enjoyed his assignment even if he was a bit lonely at times.
Then the news came in. They had been invaded by the enemy.
Immediately after learning the news, Sarge went into action. He was supposed to keep his cover and report any sightings of the enemy to Command but Sarge had come to see the students he occasionally harassed as his clutch and would do whatever it took to protect them. So, under the cover of night, Sarge battled the enemy raccoons raiding the trash.
It was a messy battle. Sarge was greatly outnumbered but the racoons didn’t have the training that Sarge did and were eventually driven back to their own territory. He returned to his pond dirty and exhausted, but victorious. He had protected his clutch while they were resting in their nests and he had managed to keep his cover as a civilian. Command was pleased and assigned him his own team who were tasked with keeping the racoons within their territory and away from the students.
For ten years Sarge has kept his watch, listening to the reports from the Owl and Hawk units nearby, and watched over the students of RSU. He has no idea that a crow has watched and shared his incredible story with all of you. So, next time you visit, make sure to thank Sarge for his dedicated service.
Runner-up The Great Battle
BY HEATHER GILL
Around my freshman year, I met Sarge when I went strolling around to get a feel for my new campus. A nice warm day, till I saw the majestic white bird sitting in front of the building I needed to go in.
Well, I failed to read the "Don't feed the swan," sign and threw some bread from my sandwich out so I could get him to move, which he did.
I walked in with a feeling of triumph, until an hour later I departed the building and saw him sitting on the sidewalk, staring at me. When I passed, I got a painful peck in an uncomfortable place and ran for my life.
Ever since then, I avoided the white feathered bird of death.
Runner-up My story about Sarge the Swan
BY EDITH KELLEHAN
I don’t know to much about Sarge, but he comes out to our farm pond from time to time and just swims with the geese all day. He leaves at night, but this week he has stayed two days. We love to watch him swim. What a beautiful bird.
RSU names campus swan Sarge
The Rogers State University swan, a part of the campus community for more than a decade, finally has a name: Sarge.
The moniker was announced in the most recent issue of the monthly Rogers State Hillpost, the campus student newspaper.
More than 250 people voted on the top five names in an online poll conducted by the Hillpost.
Zach Stoycoff, Hillpost editor in chief, said the name Sarge fits the swan because it pays homage to RSU’s past as Oklahoma Military Academy.
“This proves we just can’t go 50 years without a drill sergeant on campus. ‘Sarge’ is perfect because it fits the swan’s personality, RSU’s history and our dominance in academics and athletics,” Stoycoff said
Like a drill sergeant, Sarge patrols the land around Hart Lake located next to the Health Sciences Building and Herrington Hall, which used to be used for barracks for OMA cadets.
Pryor couple provides swans for RSU
Swans have long enjoyed a ubiquitous presence at Rogers State University, mostly floating majestically on the campus lakes, and sometimes guarding their perceived territory, preventing even the most fearless student-athlete from entering a building.
Recently, only one swan has called the RSU campus home after he lost his family to predators. But that changed this week when Nash and Dana Lamb, two longtime RSU supporters, arranged for three more swans to be acquired by the university.
“Knowing that swans mate for life, it broke my heart to see that swan all alone,” said Dana Lamb, who just completed her second year as Chairman of the RSU Foundation Board of Directors. “I am thrilled to acquire these swans as my going away present to the university.”
Dana Lamb located the swans at Groen’s Wildlife Services in Cedar Lake, Ind.