Cherokee Nation contributes $305,000 to fire departments

Tuesday, 18 August 2009
TAHLEQUAH, Okla.– Cherokee Nation recently contributed more than $305,000 to 124 rural fire northeastern Oklahoma departments at an awards banquet held at the new Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Catoosa.

This additional funding will allow for volunteer firefighters to purchase new equipment and the necessary resources for the upcoming fire season. Over the past three years Cherokee Nation has contributed more than $1.2 million to rural fire departments within its tribal boundaries.

"We had a great opportunity to show our true appreciation to our rural fire departments and all the volunteers that made those departments work, never asking for gratitude, always just working for the love of their community," said Chad Smith, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

"Each of these men and women benefit not only our Cherokee people but the entire community that we’re a part of."

Cherokee Nation contributes the funding as a way to show its commitment to the men and women that volunteer to protect their communities.

Funding is allotted to all fire departments that meet the criteria and are located with the tribe’s 14-county jurisdictional area.

"Cherokee Nation commends these volunteer firefighters for their exceptional display of the Cherokee spirit, ‘gadugi,’ working together for the benefit of the community," said Charlie Soap, Cherokee Nation Community Services group leader.

James Smith, Lt. Firefighter of the Dewey Fire Department in Washington County, said that the contribution from the Nation will go towards purchasing any new gear needed for their fire department’s volunteers plus maintaining the department’s equipment.

"Without Cherokee Nation we couldn’t do what we do, and this help is greatly appreciated," said James Smith.

James Smith was also the recipient of the 2009 Heroism Award, as well a 2009 Firefighter of the Year award for Washington County.

‘We understand the value of our volunteer fire departments," said Principal Chief Smith.

"A large portion of our Cherokee citizens live in rural areas and depend on the rural fire departments in times of emergency.

These firefighters are local heroes that give of their time and face dangerous situations to make others safe."

Awards were also presented to the Dewey Fire Department for 2009 Fire Department of the Year for the northern portion of Cherokee Nation and to Peggs Fire Department for 2009 Fire Department of the Year for the southern portion.

Several individuals also were nominated and recognized as 2009 Firefighters of the Year, including Dale Fine, Peggs Fire Department, David Lee Jones, Bell Fire Department, Rick Russell, Redland Fire Department, Loyal Dean Taylor, Shady Grove Fire Department and Lana Sanders, Disney Fire Department.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 18 August 2009 )