Just a waddling little bird, Artie was only one year old in 1961 when he waddled onto a cargo plane that had delivered supplies to a group of scientists stationed on his home continent of Antarctica. Undetected by the crew, Artie traveled on the plane to the United States, where he was finally discovered as the plane unloaded in Oklahoma City.
Artie was very tired, and just a little warm, even though it was February, and by Oklahoma standards, quite cold.
The crew, already quite impressed with the little fellow, knew that steps had to be taken quickly to assure Artie’s well-being. And, the cargo plane only delivered supplies to Antarctica every six months. So the crew placed Artie in a tub with a block of ice and carried him into their captain’s office, where they presented the case to find a home for Artie until he could be flown back to the frozen world of Antarctica.
Captain Smith pondered the situation, wondering what one could do with a penguin, for six months, in the long hot summer months of Oklahoma.
He posed that question to his neighbor, E. J. Drabek that very night. Now, coincidentally, Mr. Drabek owned a local air conditioning company and indeed, was an expert in climate control. Captain Smith’s home had been equipped with Mr. Drabek’s products and services, and yes, it was a very comfortable home. But could climate control technology and Drabek & Hill handle the needs of a penguin when the Oklahoma summer began?
Well, yes, Mr. Drabek figured, he could devise a room in his warehouse that could satisfy the requirements. And so he and Captain Smith completed the penguin’s temporary home, complete with icy pool for dipping. Artie stayed with Mr. Drabek until August, when the cargo plane returned to Antarctica. It was a somewhat sad parting, for the little penguin had won the hearts of Mr. Drabek and his staff. Artie had become adept at opening the door to his own office and sometimes waddled right into the very comfortable showroom just to greet customers!
A few months after Artie’s departure, after several customers had inquired about the penguin, E.J. Drabek decided that Artie should become the company mascot. After all, what better example of his company’s expertise in the air conditioning arena could there be than providing a comfortable home for a penguin!
And to this very day, Artie is immortalized as the Drabek & Hill penguin, a permanent part of their logo, and yes; a fond remembrance of a brave little adventurer who made a lot of friends in Oklahoma.