THUMBS UP to Bacone College men’s basketball coach Ruben Little Head and the Bacone basketball team for honoring the 6,509 First Nation children buried in unmarked graves at residential school sites in Canada through the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The Canadian government declared Sept. 30 as the “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation,” honoring the lost Native children and survivors of residential schools. The United States joined in the effort.

Little Head and his players filmed a touching video on the Bacone campus. Team member Blaine Baldridge shot the video. Teammates stood along the sidewalk leading to Bacone College Chapel as each, holding a white feather, spoke: "Every child matters. 6,509."

Warrior team member D’Von LaPointe, of the Winnebago tribe in Nebraska, said he hopes the video brings awareness, “not only to Indian Country, but to the whole United States.”

“It’s amazing to see everybody that day supported each other and that every child mattered,” LaPointe said. It was amazing to be a part of it.”

It is a touching video that will tug at your heartstrings, and you realize that Bacone is fortunate to have someone like Little Head, who does more than just coach basketball. 

• • • 

THUMBS UP to Hope Hardesty, the Okay Fire Department and the Muskogee Fire Department for making the wish of a retired firefighter a reality.

Jerald Allison retired from the Muskogee Fire Department as a captain. He was overheard by residents and workers at Azalea Gardens Memory Care say that he wanted to take one more ride on a fire truck. Hardesty, who works at Azalea Gardens, overheard Allison. She's also a member of the Okay Fire Department. She took it upon herself to make Allison's wish come true. She spoke with Okay firefighters and Muskogee firefighters who agreed to help.

Okay and Muskogee firefighters showed up at Azalea Gardens to honor Allison, who served Muskogee for 26 years.

Allison was presented with his old helmet, pinned with his badge and helped into the passenger’s seat of Okay Engine No. 3. The four engines that took part made a trip around the city with Allison before heading back to Azalea Gardens, where he was presented with a plaque. 

Firefighters are a special group of people. They didn't have to make the efforts to honor Allison, but they have the hearts that it takes to be decent, honorable human beings. We can all take a lesson from them.

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