Muskogee OK Cherokee Nation officials and ambassadors
delivered hundreds of handmade Valentine cards to veterans on Feb.
9 to the Jack C. Montgomery Veterans Affairs Medical Center in time
for Valentine's Day.
Deputy Chief and U.S. Navy veteran S. Joe Crittenden, Secretary
of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., as well as Miss Cherokee Madison Whitekiller
and Junior Miss Cherokee Danya Pigeon, gave the cards to dozens
of veterans at the medical center as part of tribe's Valentines
for Vets program.
Now in its 10th year, the Valentines for Vets program shares handmade
Valentines with Cherokee and non-Cherokee veterans across the tribe's
"We always enjoy going out into our communities and shaking
hands with the men and women that served this great country," Crittenden
said. "This program gives us a chance to spend time with veterans
and remind them that we care and are so grateful for their service."
This year, Cherokee Nation Businesses, Cherokee Nation Tribal
Youth Council, Cherokee Immersion Charter School and other area
schools and churches donated cards. Veterans at the Jack C. Montgomery
VA Medical Center, Claremore Veterans Center and veteran health
clinics in Jay, Vinita and Tulsa benefitted from the handmade cards.
For U.S. Army veteran Nelson Brown, 72, the visit was a chance
to make some friends on his last day at the Muskogee medical center.
"It was such an honor to have a visit with the folks from Cherokee
Nation today," Brown said. "It was fun talking to the Deputy Chief,
a fellow veteran, and meeting all of the nice young people. You
don't see much except nurses and doctors in here, so it was a real
The tribe's Valentines for Vets program was started in 2008
by the late Rogan Noble, a Marine Corps veteran and advocate for
the tribe's veterans' affairs. The program is held in conjunction
with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' National Salute to
Veteran Patients week.