Sequoyah County community group gets $5K boost
Dist. 6 Tribal Councilor Daryl Legg addresses a crowd on Dec. 9 at the Nicut/Belfonte Community Building during a community meeting. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Lorie Watie and 4-month-old Derick Loman, of Bell, attend a Dec. 9 community meeting in the Nicut/Belfonte Community Building. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. speaks to attendees of a Belfonte community meeting on Dec. 9. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BELFONTE – A fledgling Sequoyah County-based nonprofit organization that helps fill a void in community services received a $5,000 boost on Dec. 9 from the Cherokee Nation.
Dist. 6 Tribal Councilor Daryl Legg announced the financial support for Rural Community Initiative Foundation during his community meeting in Belfonte.
“The Rural Community Initiative Foundation is a group of folks that just said hey, you know what, we need to get together as a volunteer organization,” Legg said. “They started a nonprofit. They don’t have a community building, but they belong to this area. They try to fill the gap for services that Cherokee Nation doesn’t offer. So it’s easier for me to get them a trailer, a mower, weed-eaters – fight for them – then they have the volunteers who will go out and do the work. We equip them so they can go out and do the things that need to be done. It’s a cool concept.”
RCIF was founded in November 2018 to serve Cherokee and non-Cherokee families living in the northeastern portion of Dist. 6 in Sequoyah County, according to the CN.
“RCIF aims to help others help themselves in two ways,” a CN Facebook post states. “First, RCIF implements programs that are already in place. Secondly, it bridges the gap for citizens who lack access to or familiarity with those programs. In its efforts to promote unity and educate community citizens, the organization has cleaned up yards for elders, held community dinners, organized children’s events and installed signs welcoming motorists to the area.”
The organization was honored by CN Community and Cultural Outreach with the 2019 Newcomer of the Year Award, and was one of three organizations to receive the 2019 Cherokee National Holiday Community Leadership Organization Award.
“This money is going to go toward equipping us to make us be better sufficient in meeting needs that are needed now instead of having to go through a process to have the needs met,” RCIF President Sammy Eagle said after receiving the check at the Nicut/Belfonte Community Building. “Our heart is behind helping our elderlies and our children. It’s not just Cherokee citizens we are focusing on. Our elderlies and our Cherokee children is the primary focus, but in order to have a strong community, you have to help your neighbor just as much as you do your full-blood neighbor. We have to love each other and work together and be strong like that.”
Legg added that RCIF “has really set the standard for what communities should be like throughout the Cherokee Nation.”
“You know, the Cherokee Nation cannot do everything for everybody,” he said. “We’re just limited. You have a tree fall down in your yard or an elder needs a lawn mowed; we just don’t have specialized crews that can go out and handle the tasks that would suit everybody’s needs. But the RCIF has rose to the occasion every time there has been a need. We’re able to help them so they can help you all. I’m proud that we have people in our community who really care and get out and spend their valuable time helping others.”
Legg, who took office in August, was hosting his second community meeting.
“I can tell you that I am so proud of the job that Daryl Legg is doing for Dist. 6,” former Dist. 6 Tribal Councilor and current Deputy Chief Bryan Warner said, adding that it was “good to be back here. My first community meeting was in Nicut/Belfonte Community Center where we’re at tonight.”
More than 50 community members attended the event, which included a meal and giveaways. Also in attendance was Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.
“It’s so fun to be able to serve with this administration,” Legg said. “You don’t feel like there’s so much conflict in the Council, and you’re really able to come together as a unit and take care of a lot of stuff.”