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Canku Ota
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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Veterans Receive Handmade Valentine Cards
by Cherokee Phoenix staff

Muskogee OK – Cherokee Nation officials and ambassadors delivered hundreds of handmade Valentine cards to veterans on Feb. 9 to the Jack C. Montgomery Veterans Affairs Medical Center in time for Valentine's Day.

Deputy Chief and U.S. Navy veteran S. Joe Crittenden, Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., as well as Miss Cherokee Madison Whitekiller and Junior Miss Cherokee Danya Pigeon, gave the cards to dozens of veterans at the medical center as part of tribe's Valentines for Vets program.
Now in its 10th year, the Valentines for Vets program shares handmade Valentines with Cherokee and non-Cherokee veterans across the tribe's 14-county jurisdiction.

"We always enjoy going out into our communities and shaking hands with the men and women that served this great country," Crittenden said. "This program gives us a chance to spend time with veterans and remind them that we care and are so grateful for their service."

This year, Cherokee Nation Businesses, Cherokee Nation Tribal Youth Council, Cherokee Immersion Charter School and other area schools and churches donated cards. Veterans at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center, Claremore Veterans Center and veteran health clinics in Jay, Vinita and Tulsa benefitted from the handmade cards.

For U.S. Army veteran Nelson Brown, 72, the visit was a chance to make some friends on his last day at the Muskogee medical center.

"It was such an honor to have a visit with the folks from Cherokee Nation today," Brown said. "It was fun talking to the Deputy Chief, a fellow veteran, and meeting all of the nice young people. You don't see much except nurses and doctors in here, so it was a real treat."

The tribe's Valentines for Vets program was started in 2008 by the late Rogan Noble, a Marine Corps veteran and advocate for the tribe's veterans' affairs. The program is held in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' National Salute to Veteran Patients week.


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