CATOOSA — Spring Valley Volunteer Fire Department and two area volunteer firefighters were honored by the Cherokee Nation recently.
The Cherokee Nation recognized 129 volunteer fire departments and awarded each $3,500 during the 2013 volunteer firefighters ceremony at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.
“This annual event always reminds me just how valuable volunteer firefighters are in times of crisis,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “In an emergency, when life and death hang in the balance, these brave volunteers step up and save lives, homes and property. Year after year, the Cherokee Nation makes a financial commitment to their departments so that they are better equipped to help citizens, both Cherokee and non-Cherokee alike.”
The tribe also recognized two Volunteer Fire Departments of the Year and five Volunteer Firefighters of the Year with special plaques.
Volunteer Firefighter of the Year awards were given to Delbert Wilson of Hulbert; Mike Estes of Park Hill; Eric Reed of Inola; Larry Sanders of Disney and Thomas Schafer of Siloam Springs, Ark.
Spring Valley VFD, near Hulbert, won for the southern region.
The crew responded to 137 calls and assisted with traffic control and fire suppression during the Sequoyah State Park fireworks show, as well as taught fire safety classes to students.
Carselowey Community Fire Department near Vinita won for the northern region. The group not only responds to fire calls, but assists other organizations in their area, and returned to the roots of the original ideals of community volunteers.
“For so many Cherokees, our rural firefighters can stand between them and loss of life and property at any moment,” said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “The money we send to our rural fire departments each year is an investment and a partnership, and it is money well spent.”
Area fire departments receiving $3,500