, Muskogee, OK

December 10, 2013

Casino employee works his way up

— After 10 years with Cherokee Nation Entertainment, a local Cherokee citizen and Cherokee Casino Fort Gibson employee understands what his company is doing for future generations of Cherokees, a media release states.

On July 16, 2003, Marlin Thirsty, a native of Rocky Mountain, left his position at Walmart to begin working as a pull-tab clerk at what was then Cherokee Casino West Siloam Springs.

Since that day, he has worked his way through multiple positions and departments within CNE, working as everything from a customer service representative to his newest position as cage shift manager at Cherokee Casino Fort Gibson.

“I love the interaction with people in my job,” Thirsty said. “I get fulfillment in seeing people happy and enjoying themselves, whether it’s for a split moment or a couple hours. That’s what I look forward to every day.”

Thirsty, who has an 8-year-old daughter, Ashayah, has sacrificed many late nights to get to where he is.

“It’s been enjoyable to see someone who has started off with us as a frontline employee set goals along the way and attain them,” said Clay Young, operations manager at Cherokee Casino Tahlequah. “Marlin advanced the way you like to see people do it. He has gained the respect of his peers and his counterparts by jumping in and working the late hours and holidays — never complaining along the way. He has shown a great amount of work ethic, and it’s paid off for him. He’s done it the right way. I love seeing success stories like that.”

The Cherokee County resident recognizes the importance of his career and the careers of his co-workers in the overall health and success of Cherokee Nation.

“I love knowing how much work and time I put in now continues to open the door for our children, helping to prepare them for the future of our tribe,” Thirsty said. “My daughter will have more chances for success because of the work I’m doing now.

“The tribe offers so much to citizens from the profits of our businesses, not only by our health care system and housing opportunities, but in education. She’ll have scholarships available, and if she works for the tribe while she’s attending college, tuition buy-back may be an option for her, as well.”

Working from the ground up has given Thirsty knowledge of what it takes to make it. This has helped him generate a passion for helping others within the company realize their potential.

“I’m happy we have so many opportunities to advance under the CNE umbrella,” Thirsty said. “If I can somehow help an individual reach their personal goals, it’s a wonderful feeling. I love seeing people achieve whatever goals they set for themselves. Working here, the opportunities are endless.”

Cherokee Nation Entertainment is the wholly owned gaming, hospitality, retail and tourism entity of the Cherokee Nation. The company operates Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa; seven Cherokee Casinos, including a horse racing track; three hotels; two golf courses; and other retail operations.

Information: or (918) 207-3600.