TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (KFOR) – The Cherokee Nation is helping over 130 rural Oklahoma fire departments that usually rely on fundraisers to maintain their operations.
The Cherokee Nation provided $3,500 checks to 136 volunteer fire departments across the northeastern part of the state.
“I’m proud that the Cherokee Nation is continuing this tradition of investing in our rural fire departments. These brave men and women leave their homes and their families in order to save the lives of people they’ve never met. They don’t always get holidays off, nor do they get to pick the weather or the time of day when they are asked to rush to the scene of an emergency,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. “To each and every volunteer firefighter across the Cherokee Nation, we see the courage each of you have displayed while serving your community. There is no doubt that your selfless service will leave a lasting impression on the Cherokee Nation, and more specifically, the communities you call home. Thank you for saving lives and protecting our homes, our properties, and our livelihoods.”
Officials say the funding will help with equipment, fuel, or other items needed to protect lives and property in rural northeastern Oklahoma.
“Having Cherokee Nation’s support is wonderful. It allows us to be better at what we do by having the funding to reach our goals. We do not charge our citizens for run calls or a subscription fee, so having this funding eases the burden to the citizens in our fire protection district,” said Whitehorn Fire Chief Jay Stamps. “When you are able to tell a person that we are not charging them for our services, you can see the stress ease in their face. We love helping our friends and neighbors, and it is gratifying when you can ease their pain and suffering some with compassion.”
The Whitehorn Fire Department and the Peggs Volunteer Fire Department were both recognized as the 2020 Volunteer Fire Department of the Year.
“We are extremely honored to receive this award. We have a lot of great guys who work year-round to make this department successful, and a lot of strong community support that help make this a successful fire department. Really, this honor goes to them – the firefighters and the community that help make this department what it is,” said Peggs Fire Chief Dale Fine. “The help that Cherokee Nation provides is extremely important to rural fire departments. Departments have to budget for fuel, utilities, vehicle repairs, firefighting equipment, and protective gear for firefighters. The funding that we receive, we use it in so many ways. Having these funds help us give the best fire protection to our community.”