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Six new Oklahoma search team dogs receive needed supplies

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TULSA, Okla. – As part of Cherokee Casinos’ “Anything Can Happen” promotion, the Oklahoma Task Force One Canine Search Team recently received $10,000. The donation was given as a surprise to the unit, which is gathering supplies for six new dogs to be trained and aided properly.

“This was definitely a fun donation for us. Just having the dogs on property made it enjoyable for many of our guests and employees. The Cherokee Nation helped this group get started with purchasing the first two dogs two years ago, so we are happy to provide even more assistance to keep this group funded. They are ready to assist our Cherokee marshals and any other law enforcement in search team efforts,” said David Stewart, CEO of Cherokee Nation Entertainment, which operates Cherokee Casinos.

“We knew we were coming out here for a presentation, but we didn’t expect this,” said R.B. Ellis, task force leader of Oklahoma Task Force One. “What a lot of people don’t realize is that we don’t receive federal funding. The K-9 units were not part of the original funding from Homeland Security, so we operate off of donations. This donation from Cherokee Casinos will help us get to where we need to be and make our canine unit complete.

“We are in line to receive six more dogs, so this additional funding will help make sure they receive the supplies and training needed to receive their training license. We really appreciate this support.”

In addition to the $10,000 donation to the OK-TF1 Canine Search Team, Cherokee Casinos has recently given more than $49,000 to other local nonprofit organizations as well as entities such as Tulsa Zoo Friends, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Rogers County, the Resonance Center for Women, the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and the Roland Police Department. Cherokee Casinos began giving these donations as part of the “Anything Can Happen” promotion in early June.

Cherokee Nation Entertainment operates seven casinos located in Catoosa, West Siloam Springs, Tahlequah, Fort Gibson, Roland, Sallisaw and Claremore, and employs more than 3,400 people in northeastern Oklahoma.

Community Food Bank receives donation

During “Strike Out Hunger” at Drillers Stadium, a fundraising event for the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, Cherokee Casinos presented a check for $20,000 as part of the casino’s “Anything Can Happen” promotion. The surprise donation was given during the Drillers’ latest homestand. “Our ‘Anything Can Happen’ promotion has given us the opportunity to make surprise donations to many great organizations. The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma continues to generously assist our tribal citizens and others who reside within the Cherokee Nation, and we know what a positive impact this donation will have on those citizens,” said David Stewart, CEO of Cherokee Nation Entertainment, which operates Cherokee Casinos. The Community Food Bank is located in Tulsa but distributes donated food items to 450 partner programs such as emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, after-school programs and senior citizen centers in 24 counties of eastern Oklahoma, including all 14 counties within the Cherokee Nation. The food bank feeds more than 50,000 people per week. “This donation will go far in helping us fight hunger,” said Cindy Stevens, director of community relations, Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. “We appreciate Cherokee Casinos’ generosity. This will provide us with 140,000 meals.”