TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation honored two veterans with the Medal of Patriotism during the April meeting of the Council of the Cherokee Nation.

William Shade of Tahlequah, Okla., and Clayton Nathan Dale of Cherry Hill, N.J., were recognized by Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Secretary of Veterans Affairs S. Joe Crittenden, acknowledging their service and sacrifices to their country.

Clayton Nathan Dale joined the Army on Aug. 13, 2000. Mr. Dale was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2006 and 2007, then served in Company B, 1st Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team from 1997-2001, then in Company C, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky from 2001-2004. Afterward, Mr. Dale went to the Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 25th Infantry Division from 2004 to 2008. Mr. Dale was honorably discharged on June 1, 2008.

“Thank you all for this,” Dale said. “I am so appreciative of this honor and I am happy to be back home.”

William Shade enlisted in the United States Air Force on Jan. 24, 1977. Sgt. Shade completed basic training in San Antonio, Texas and was transferred to Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois after graduation. While there he trained as a ground equipment mechanic where he worked on turbine engines, hydraulic systems, portable generators and other equipment for the F4 Phantom aircraft. Sgt. Shade completed his enlistment at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina where he was promoted from Airman Basic to Airman 1st class, then later to Senior Airman. Sgt. Shade was ranked as a sergeant when he was honorably discharged on Jan. 23, 1981.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs S. Joe Crittenden, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., William Shade, District 1 Councilor Rex Jordan, District 2 Councilor Candessa Tehee and District 3 Councilor Wes Nofire.

Each month the Cherokee Nation recognizes Cherokee service men and women for their sacrifices and as a way to demonstrate the high regards in which all veterans are held by the tribe. Native Americans, including Cherokees, are thought to have more citizens serve 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, call 918-772-4166.