Valentines for Vets Program underway
Cherokee Nation tribal leaders delivered handmade Valentine’s Day cards to veterans at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center in Muskogee and will be delivering to other veterans in other counties including Sallisaw throughout this week.
Cherokee Nation Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner (Sallisaw) said each year tribal employees, schools, churches and other individuals create handmade Valentine’s Day cards which the tribe distributes to thank veterans for their military service as part of the tribe’s annual Valentine’s for Vets program.
“It’s something we’ve done for many years. It’s just a simple way to let them know someone is thinking of them and appreciates them,” Warner said.
In addition to Warner, the cards were delivered by Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., Chief of Staff Todd Enlow, Secretary of Veterans Affairs S. Joe Crittenden, Miss Cherokee Meekah Roy and Junior Miss Cherokee Desiree Matthews.
“We met with some veterans representing other tribes Monday and also those who are not Native but they were all so appreciative someone was thinking of them and some wanted to share their stories with us. It was just a great experience,” Warner said.
Warner said cards will be delivered to veterans in Sequoyah County this week by either him, or Dist. 5 Councilman E.O. Junior Smith and Dist. 6 Councilman Daryl Legg.
In addition to Sallisaw, Valentine cards are also being delivered to area veteran centers and hospitals in Tahlequah, Muskogee, Jay, Fayetteville, Claremore, Vinita and Talihina.
The valentine cards will also be given to veterans during an annual Valentine’s Day celebration hosted by the Cherokee Nation Veterans Center this month.
“We will be so glad when we get the new veteran’s center here in Sallisaw,” Warner said.
“After that, we will have a central location to invite all Sequoyah County veterans for appreciation services such as this.”
The tribe’s Valentines for Vets program was started in 2008 by the late Rogan Noble, a Marine Corps veteran and veterans affairs advocate. The program provides handmade valentine cards to Cherokee and non-Cherokee veterans and is part of the National Salute to Veteran Patients.
For more information on the Cherokee Nation’s Valentines for Vets program, call the Cherokee Nation Veterans Center at 918-772-4166.