TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation honored four veterans with the Medal of Patriotism at the October Tribal Council meeting on Tuesday.

Paul Dudley, 95, of Bixby; Thomas Parris, 86, of Tahlequah; Larry Parker, 67, of Chelsea; and Jared Harnar, 48, of Springfield, Missouri, were recognized by Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Joe Crittenden, acknowledging their service and sacrifice to their country.

Paul Dudley entered the Army Air Corps in 1942 at Fort Sill in Oklahoma, then transferred to Shepherd Field, Texas, where he became an aviation mechanic after finishing tech school. In 1943, Mr. Dudley transferred to Holton, Maine, where he was assigned to Thule Air Base in Greenland for the remainder of his military tour as an aircraft electrician and servicing bombers coming from Canada and the Royal Air Force Base. He was honorably discharged as an E 5 Staff Sergeant in 1945.

“I would like to thank very much the Cherokee Nation for this award,” said Dudley. “I never dreamed I would receive it, but I’m very, very pleased and honored.”

Thomas Parris entered the military in 1948 and was sent to Germany until 1950 where he became a medical technician. Upon his return to the U.S., he was assigned to several aircraft control and warning sites. When orders came for him to report to Canada in 1955, Mr. Parris was transferred to Lages Field Air Base in the Azores Islands in Portugal for three years. He returned to Texas where he was honorably discharged in 1968 after 20 years spent in the Air Force.

Larry Parker entered the Army in 1968 and received advanced training for aviation at Fort Rucker in Alabama. Mr. Parker received his orders and was shipped to Vietnam where he climbed in ranks after a tour of duty in Vietnam. Mr. Parker returned to Fort Hood, Texas, in 1971, where he was honorably discharged as an E 5 Sergeant.

Jared Harnar enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1993 and completed training in San Diego, California, then transferred to Camp Kinser in Okinawa, Japan, for a year. Mr. Harnar returned to the U.S. to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, to serve with the 3rd Battalion, 24th Marines Weapons Company, where he finished his military service and was honorably discharged as an E 5 Sergeant in 1997.

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.