CNMS deploys to aid with Hurricane Harvey aftermath
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation Marshal Service on Aug. 29 deployed a 10-member team to help with search and rescue efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston and southeastern Texas.
CNMS Sgt. Joseph Rainwater said the marshals were taking supplies and are prepared to sustain themselves for as long as they are needed. They took two boats, four 4-ATVs, two UTVs, cots and essentials such water to help them achieve their mission.
On Sept. 3, the Cherokee Nation Emergency Management department was expected to transport a mobile command center to oversee a distribution supply center.
Cherokee Nation Businesses, the tribe’s business arm, also donated $15,000 to the American Red Cross to help with hurricane disaster relief.
The CNMS will meet with a search and rescue team in San Antonio to get their its on what it will be doing.
Rainwater said the CNMS are “highly” trained and equipped for any emergency. Training includes swift water, dive and S.W.A.T. training.
“That’s what we do. That’s what we train for day to day. We’re highly equipped and highly trained,” Rainwater said. “We went to Katrina back in (20)07. We did the Joplin tornadoes. Everything that happens around this area we usually respond to and all that helps with training and everything combines together and makes us prepared for, hopefully, anything.”
CNEM Director Jeremie Fisher said she’s helping coordinate the tribe’s relief efforts after Oklahoma asked for assistance.
“There are still people stranded on rooftops and on cars, and rain is still falling. Many Louisiana rescue teams are pulling out of Texas to go back to their communities since they are in the path of the tropical storm,” Fisher said. “We have a community base in Texas, and we want to be proactive in lending our resources in every way.”
Four Indian Health Service Commissioned Corps officers who work for the tribe’s Health Services are also in Texas treating displaced or injured residents.
Along with Rainwater, the other marshals going to Texas are Capt. Danny Tanner, Lt. Mike Roach, Sgt. John Wofford and deputy marshals John Timothy, Kevin Jackson, Dustin Davis, Kolton Holmes, Preston Oosahwee and Matt Laney.
Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden and Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. visited with the marshals before sending them off on their mission.
“Hurricane Harvey has caused a lot of damage. We have over 3,000 Cherokee citizens in south Texas. Certainly they’re being impacted. But, irrespective of those numbers, this is a national emergency and Cherokee Nation has a strong record of stepping up and helping in these kinds of situations,” Hoskin said.
Hosking said it is important that governments come together in times of crisis to help out.
“It’s times like these when governments at various levels need to come together to pitch in to help. Otherwise, these situations can’t get addressed. We have really excellent people at the Marshal Service. We have equipment. We have a well-trained Marshal Service. So when the need arises and we are able to, certainly Cherokee Nation steps up and I think it’s appropriate to do so,” Hoskin said.