UPDATED: Council greenlights Stilwell ambulatory facility, honors vets
Veteran and Cherokee Nation citizen John R. Carleton, 73, of Owasso, is honored May 13 with the tribe’s Medal of Patriotism. To his left and right are Dist. 13 Tribal Councilor Buel Anglen and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation citizen and Korean War veteran Ralph A. Feather, 86, of Jay, center, receives the tribe’s Medal of Patriotism on May 13. Feather is flanked by Dist. 9 Tribal Councilor Mike Shambaugh, left, and Principal Chief Bill John Baker. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation citizen and Korean War veteran James D. Roe Sr., 85, of Warner, left, receives the tribe’s Medal of Patriotism on May 13. Principal Chief Bill John Baker, right, was among those who presented the honor. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH –The Tribal Council voted May 13 to seek grant funding to establish an ambulatory facility at the Wilma P. Mankiller Health Center in Stilwell.
Authorization was given to the Cherokee Nation administration to apply for $2 million in federal funding from the Indian Health Services Small Ambulatory Program. It also states that the CN has $2 million in matching funds designated for the project.
CN Health Services officials said the IHS Small Ambulatory Program is funding made available on a competitive basis for qualifying projects to construct, expand or modernize small ambulatory health care facilities owned and operated by tribal health organizations to serve American Indian patients. Funding from the program is intended for construction of a new satellite facility, construction of a replacement facility, expansion of an existing facility or the modernization of an existing facility, officials said.
“Cherokee Nation is seeking grant funding from the Small Ambulatory Program for expansion of the Wilma P. Mankiller Health Center in Stilwell,” states an email from W.W. Hastings Hospital CEO Brian Hail. “The Health Center is an outpatient (also known as “ambulatory” based on the concept that patients seeking care at an ambulatory facility are typically able to walk into the facility) care facility providing care outside of a hospital setting.”
The Tribal Council unanimously approved the measure, which calls for the facility’s construction after “demolition of the original portion.”
Also at the May 13 meeting, veterans Ralph A. Feather, 86, of Jay; John R. Carleton, 73, of Owasso; and James D. Roe Sr., 85, of Warner, were dubbed “Cherokee Warriors” and awarded the tribe’s Medal of Patriotism.
Feather enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1952.
“One year later, he deployed to Korea, where he served with other Marines along the 38th Parallel battlegrounds as a rifleman,” Deputy Chief and U.S. Navy veteran S. Joe Crittenden said.
Feather was honorably discharged in 1955 as a military police corporal. When receiving his CN award, Feather addressed the crowd in Cherokee.
“He said, ‘I’m just happy to be here this evening and I thank you guys for honoring me,’” Tribal Council Speaker Joe Byrd, who speaks Cherokee, said.
Carleton enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1964. He trained in Texas and Illinois to become a special-vehicle training instructor, then transferred to the Tulsa Air National Guard later that year. Carleton, who was honorably discharged in 1970, and said his daughter encouraged him to become more involved in the tribe.
“I thank you for everything you have done for us over the years,” he said. “I appreciate it.”
Roe enlisted in the Army National Guard in 1949. He was stationed at Fort Sill in 1953, then later at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri as an engineer.
“In 1954, he was deployed to Korea, along with the 822nd Engineer Aviation Battalion,” Crittenden said, “and was ordered to Southeast Asia and to Guam.”
Roe was honorably discharged as a corporal in 1955.
“It’s a pleasure to be here tonight. In fact, when you get to be this age, it’s a pleasure to be anywhere,” Roe joked. “I’ve lived a good life. I didn’t enjoy the military while I was in it. But after I got out, I learned to appreciate it more and more because I got to travel a lot and see a lot, and I appreciate this country more than ever.”
Principal Chief Bill John Baker said that earlier in May, the CN became the “second tribe to become a “Purple Heart Nation” in honor of “all our veterans that were wounded in the line of duty.”