The Owasso and Collinsville fire departments recently received a generous donation from the Cherokee Nation.
The organization gave nearly half a million dollars to 136 rural Oklahoma fire departments during the tribe’s annual Volunteer Firefighter Ceremony at the new Cherokee Casino Tahlequah last week.
Each year, rural fire departments rely on fundraisers, membership dues and the help of good Samaritans to maintain their operations.
To honor them, Cherokee Nation provided each department, including Owasso and Collinsville, with a check for $3,500, totaling $476,000.
The funding is set aside in the tribe’s budget each year to help with equipment, fuel or other items needed to protect the lives and properties of families in rural northeastern Oklahoma.
“Volunteer fire departments and the men and women volunteer firefighters who serve in them are protecting lives and property each and every day,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said.
“They deserve the continued thanks and support of the Cherokee Nation, and that’s why the tribe proudly invests in rural fire departments every year. These funds ensure they can be better equipped to protect our families, our homes and our property.”
The Cherokee Nation also selected five recipients for the 2019 Volunteer Firefighter of the Year awards – including Waid Whitlock and Gilbert Moore, both of the Collinsville Fire Department – for working together to improve the safety of fellow firefighters.
Recently, Whitlock and Moore chose to forego spring break plans in order to spend four days fabricating and building safety cages for one of CFD’s trucks. The changes to the truck added a level of safety for firefighters who use it often during the wildland fire season.