Tahlequah Daily Press

September 20, 2013

First responders honored

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Local first responders - in all those who work for 33 different agencies throughout Cherokee County - were honored for their service at a Heroes Luncheon at First Baptist Church Thursday.

The third annual event was hosted by area churches and businesses as a way to thank those who put their lives on the line for their communities.

“We appreciate what the police, firefighters, anyone who is involved in responding, do for us,” said Ed Hale, associate pator of FBC. “Not only is our church involved in hosting the luncheon, we have other churches and local businesses that work to provide this event.”

The lunch consisted of barbecue, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, vegetables, a variety of salads and even a wider variety of desserts.

Speakers included Northeastern State University President Dr. Steve Turner and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. The Tahlequah HIgh School Show Choir, under the direction of Holly Stocks, provided entertainment.

Tahlequah Police Chief Nate King said he appreciates the effort made by the community.

“I think it’s a great thing to recognize the men and women who are out making our streets safe every day,” said King. “I’m just happy to be included.”

Stocks believes it’s important for the local youth to get to know those who protect and serve the community.

“This is a great opportunit for our kids to sing and honor the people who protect us in our community,” said Stocks.

“We had the complete support of the district in being here today, and are happy to do it.”

Pruitt said while his office may be in Oklahoma City, he has had the opportunity to work with many of the people being honored at the local event.

“We work with many of these folks,” said Pruitt. “I’m honored to be here. Local law enforcement is a natural extension of who we are, and I think it’s very important to recognize the people in our communities who keep us safe.”

The event also featured drawings for prizes donated by over a dozen local residents and businesses.

Agencies recognized at Thursday’s event included Eagle Med, Emergency Management, NSU Campus Police, Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission rangers, Oklahoma game wardens, Tahlequah Police Department, Cherokee Nation Marshal Service, Keetoowah Lighthorse Patrol, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Cherokee County 911, Tahlequah Fire Department, Tahlequah City Hospital and Cherokee Nation EMS, and 13 rural volunteer fire departments in Cherokee County.

-- tsnell@tahlequahdailypress.com