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Deputy Chief Crittenden awarded 2015 Distinguished Service Award

U.S. Navy veteran and Deputy Chief of the Cherokee Nation S. Joe Crittenden received the DAV of Oklahoma’s 2015 Distinguished Service Award in June.

U.S. Navy veteran and Deputy Chief of the Cherokee Nation S. Joe Crittenden was awarded the 2015 Distinguished Service Award by the Disabled American Veterans of Oklahoma in June.

DAV Cmdr. Craig Vance presented Deputy Chief Crittenden a bronze award at the organization’s 84th state convention held June 24 at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.

Deputy Chief Crittenden is a strong advocate for military veterans, helping oversee the completion of the Cherokee Nation Veterans Center, hosting events for veterans, awarding Cherokee veterans with a medal of patriotism each month and helping with the tribe’s Cherokee Warrior Flight.

“I’m honored to be recognized by an organization that furthers the cause for the brave men and women who have donned a uniform to defend the United States of America,” Crittenden, of Stilwell, said. “So many Americans, including a high percentage of our Cherokee citizens, proudly served and bear the personal burden of that service. We can never forget those sacrifices and those individuals. I was honored to play my part for the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, just as I know all veterans are proud of their service. The Cherokee Nation has a long history of serving America, and our warriors have been involved in every single war our country has ever fought. Today, in the modern Cherokee Nation, we have made veterans issues a priority, and I am proud of that. We always remember and acknowledge those courageous souls willing to fight for our freedom and values.”

During the past four years, the Cherokee Nation completed the new $2 million Cherokee Nation Veterans Center, started the Cherokee Warrior Flight, which took World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the war memorials, and signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to make obtaining quality health care a more seamless process for Cherokee veterans who wish to use Cherokee Nation health centers for routine care they normally would’ve had to use a VA hospital for.

“Oklahoma DAV is proud to recognize Deputy Chief Crittenden with our Distinguished Service Award. Just as he served his fellow sailors with distinction and honor during Vietnam, he continues to serve his fellow Oklahoma veterans and the Cherokee Nation tribe. He is an outstanding example of veterans giving back to their community,” Vance said.

For more information on veteran services provided by the Cherokee Nation, call (918) 453-5695 or e-mail