July 13, 2017
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation honored a grandfather and grandson with the Medal of Patriotism at the July Tribal Council meeting on Monday.
Jack De Vera, 74, of Independence, Kansas, and Sean Hutchinson, 25, of Catoosa, were recognized by Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, acknowledging their service and sacrifice to their country.
Petty Officer 3rd Class De Vera was born Jan. 30, 1942, in Corona, California. De Vera enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1960 and arrived at the Naval Training Center in San Diego only three days after he graduated from high school. In September of 1960, he attended Hospital Marine Corps School at the Naval Hospital, where he received medical training in electrocardiographs. After completing school, he was stationed at the 11th Naval District Medical Office. De Vera received an honorable discharge from the Navy in 1964. After discharge, De Vera attended the San Francisco College of Mortuary Sciences and later graduated from Fullerton Community College in 1967, California State University in 1969 and, finally, Pittsburgh State University where he received a master’s degree in administration. In addition to his military career, De Vera served as a principal at schools in Caney, Kansas, and Towanda, Kansas, and worked as a teacher in California for a total of 26 years before retiring to Kansas in 2007 with his wife. De Vera is a member of American Legion Post 139.
“I just want to say thank you very much, but my grandson is the war hero here, not me,” said De Vera.
Sgt. Hutchinson was born June 17, 1991, and is the grandson of De Vera. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in June of 2009. Hutchinson completed his basic and infantry training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. Hutchinson was stationed in Fort Lewis in Washington. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 and attached to a MARSOK/Marine Corps, Special Forces team where he served on route clearance with the 571 Sapper Company. From August to December of 2011, Hutchinson cleared roadway explosives and IEDS, eventually suffering from eight direct Improvised Explosive Device blasts during his time in southern Afghanistan. Due to the extent of his injuries, Hutchinson was restricted from combat and spent the remainder of his service working as a driver and mechanic. Hutchinson received a Purple Heart and several additional honors for his bravery and service. He received an honorable discharge in 2012 and currently works for Cherokee Nation Businesses.
Each month the Cherokee Nation recognizes Cherokee service men and women for their sacrifices and as a way to demonstrate the high regard in which all veterans are held by the tribe.
Native Americans, including Cherokees, are thought to have more citizens serving per capita than any other ethnic group, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. To nominate a veteran who is a Cherokee Nation citizen, please call 918-772-4166.