Cherokee Nation officials recently contributed nearly $9,000 to three Rogers County community organizations.
Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. joined District 14 Tribal Councilor Keith Austin in presenting checks to the Rodeo Arena Co-op of Claremore, the Rogers County Adult Day Center and the Free Little Library in Oologah.
Contributions made by the tribe include $5,000 to the Rodeo Arena Co-op and $3,500 to the Rogers County Adult Day Center, both made from the tribe’s special projects fund. The $500 donation to the Free Little Library was made from Austin’s community assistance budget.
“I always appreciate Councilor Austin’s leadership and the connections that he is able to make in his district,” Hoskin said. “This donation in particular is special to me because Clem McSpadden was a legend not only in Rogers County, but in my hometown of Vinita and all across the state. I still remember as a child hearing Clem’s voice come over the loudspeaker at the Vinita rodeo. He set a great example for everyone he met, and he is dearly missed.”
The donation to the Rodeo Arena Co-op will fund a permanent memorial in honor of Clem McSpadden, a well-known Cherokee Nation citizen. The memorial will be placed at Stampede Park in Claremore. Several members of the Rodeo Arena Co-op, representatives of the town of Claremore, and McSpadden’s widow, Donna McSpadden, were on hand to accept the check.
“What Clem did was for everyone, especially the schoolchildren,” McSpadden said. “I am so grateful to everyone who plays a role in what we do here at the co-op and for sharing the legacy of Clem.”
The $3,500 contribution to the Rogers County Adult Day Center supports the facility’s annual donkey basketball fundraiser. During the visit to the center, Austin and Hoskin visited with the center’s participants, several of whom are Cherokee Nation citizens.
“The participants are the reason we do what we do,” Austin said. “It is always a joy to visit the center and see firsthand the amount of work they put in each and every day to benefit all of their participants, and that is something we believe in wholeheartedly in the Cherokee Nation.”
During the visit, Wanda Inman, executive director of the center, spoke about the importance of the center and the role the tribe plays in their funding.
“The money is truly a blessing for our center and clients. Our board, as well as myself, want to say thank you for your continued support,” Inman said.
In addition to presenting a check to the Free Little Library representatives, Cherokee Nation officials also participated in the official ribbon-cutting for the Free Little Library in Oologah. The donation from Austin will help the library’s founder, Carolyn Estes, with startup costs.
“Many volunteers and donation partners have made the Oologah Free Library a dream come true,” Estes said. “The Oologah town board provided the building, and donations from one of our Oologah senior citizens, the Cherokee Nation and RCIDA made it possible.”
Projects funded through the special projects fund are selected by Tribal Council and Principal Chief Bill John Baker’s office and allow the tribe to partner with communities and organizations on projects that benefit both Cherokee Nation citizens and non-Cherokees alike. Community assistance funds are aimed at supporting community groups and organizations that are selected by Tribal Councilors.
Rogers County Adult Day Center: (L to R) Front row: Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor Keith Austin; Saundra Downey; Mathew Fuller; Trevor Holehan; Rogers County Adult Day Center Director Wanda Inman; Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr.; Morgan Bohlander; members of the Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club Ollie Starr and Debra West; Rogers County Adult Day Center board members Connie Jesina, Joe Holehan, Don Freed, Germaine Watckins and Peggy McGehee. Back row: Rogers County Adult Day Center board member Charles Ragland, Vice President of Special Projects for Cherokee Nation Businesses Kim Teehee, Rogers County Adult Day Center board members Dee Riddle and Helen Franklin.
Oologah Free Little Library: (L to R) Front row: Oologah Free Little Library Founder Carolyn Estes, Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor Keith Austin and Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. Back row: Oologah Mayor Mat Shockley, Rogers County Commissioner Steve Hendrix, Chamber members Rebecca Nutter and Janice Hollan, Coldwell Banker Realtor Karen Weeks, Oologah Area Chamber of Commerce Vice President Sarah Hale, Lakeside State Bank President and RCIDA Steve Savage, Oologah Area Chamber of Commerce Secretary Melissa McKinney, Area Chamber of Commerce member Gene Lloyd, Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club member Ollie Starr, and Rogers County Industrial Development Authority Director Debi Ward.
Rodeo Arena Co-op: (L to R) Front row: Will Rogers Stampede Rodeo Chairman David Petty. Back row: Claremore Mayor Bill Flanagan, Claremore City Manager and Chairman of the Rodeo Arena Co-op Jim Thomas, Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., Rogers County Commissioner and Rodeo Arena Co-op member Dan DeLozier, Claremore Expo and Tourism Development Executive Director Tanya Andrews, member of the Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club Debra West, Donna McSpadden, member of the Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club Ollie Starr and Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor Keith Austin.