TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Businesses have contributed $2.2 million to the City of Tahlequah to purchase and fully equip a new ladder truck for the Tahlequah Fire Department.
The new truck will have a ladder that extends up to 100 feet, giving Tahlequah firefighters the ability to more effectively protect historic downtown Tahlequah, Northeastern State University, the Cherokee National History Museum, and the Cherokee Nation’s new outpatient health center, along with the tribe’s future $400 million, multi-story new hospital.
Funding for the truck was provided through Cherokee Nation Businesses.
“The history of the Cherokee Nation is intertwined with that of the city of Tahlequah and we have been great partners in progress. That is why we continue to work hand in hand with the city and, whenever possible, support the services they provide to the thousands of people who live in, work in or visit this community, including thousands of Cherokee Nation citizens. It is only fitting then that Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Businesses provide the city of Tahlequah with crucial funding to equip the community with a new, state-of-the-art ladder truck,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “The Tahlequah Fire Department dates back to 1895 and the men and women of this department have protected the community’s interests – including those of the Cherokee Nation and historic Northeastern State University – for more than a century. As our community grows and as the Cherokee Nation grows, this new ladder truck is going to be a comfort and a protector in times of need.”
The Tahlequah Fire Department covers 66 square miles and frequently assists rural communities outside of Tahlequah during emergencies. The department is also occasionally requested to assist other cities in the Cherokee Nation Reservation.
“CNB remains deeply committed to Cherokee Nation’s long-held mission to protect the wellbeing of families and communities across our tribe’s 7,000-square mile reservation,” said Chuck Garrett, CEO of Cherokee Nation Businesses. “It is an honor to make this investment and help provide such a vital tool to the brave men and women of the Tahlequah Fire Department, who courageously safeguard homes, property, businesses, irreplaceable historic sites and most importantly the lives and safety of our neighbors, colleagues, loved ones and friends.”
The new truck will be equipped with a ladder that extends 25 more feet compared to the TFD’s current ladder truck. The new truck will be a safer and more efficient apparatus for containing and eliminating fire threats as well as executing enhanced rescue operations.
“The City of Tahlequah is extremely thankful and appreciative of the generous donation from the Cherokee Nation to purchase a fire truck to enhance the fleet we currently have,” said Tahlequah Mayor Suzanne Myers. “Our citizens will be better protected with the addition of this truck. We feel very fortunate to have this partnership with the Cherokee Nation and we are always thankful for their continued support and generosity.”
When the new truck arrives, the city’s current ladder truck will be moved to the Tahlequah Fire Station 2 located in the Southridge addition, which will enable it to have quicker response times and better protect facilities in the southern portion of Tahlequah, including the Cherokee National Research Center, Cherokee Casino Tahlequah, and nearby Cherokee Nation government offices in and around the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex.
“I’ve always said working together for a common goal, anything is possible, and that goal is to make the capital city of the Cherokee Nation a safer place not only for the citizens who live here but also the firefighters who protect it,” said Tahlequah Fire Chief Casey Baker. “One of Cherokee Nation’s mottos is stronger ‘together.’ Tahlequah Fire Department's motto is ‘investing in life.’ Both mottos are evident today, but also today there could be a new motto: ‘Safer Together.’ Once again, thank you Cherokee Nation, Chief Hoskin, Mayor Myers and everyone who helped make this day possible.”
The Cherokee Nation is committed to assisting all first responder agencies located within the tribe’s reservation and does so through a number of annual contributions and funding opportunities totaling millions of dollars.
Chief Hoskin and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner also announced earlier this year nearly $13 million in new additional grants to assist area first responders, with each county and local public safety agency receiving up to $50,000 per grant.
Each year the Cherokee Nation also contributes nearly $500,000 total to more than 130 rural and volunteer fire departments as part of its Firefighter Appreciation Banquet.