That’s the view of Ed O’Keefe, the new CEO of a group that intends to construct a presidential museum and library dedicated to Roosevelt, who acknowledged his most formative years were spent roaming the area that today bears his name in the form of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
“The whole reason we should, as North Dakotans, build this museum is because the Badlands and Medora are the fulcrum of the hero’s journey. In that incredible life that was Theodore Roosevelt’s, the experience he had in the Badlands, the people he met, the life that he lived, informed the rest of his existence,” O’Keefe said in an extended interview last week with the Herald’s editorial board. “I think he was quite literally right when he said ‘I would not have been president without my experiences in North Dakota.’”
O’Keefe joined the project earlier this month in a move that he called “providential.” The Grand Forks native has been working in media on the East Coast and began researching for a book about the 26th president, titled “The Loves of Theodore Roosevelt.” He was in Boston visiting another North Dakotan – Robbie Lauf, a former adviser for Gov. Doug Burgum – when