By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Cherokee’s Steve Youngdeer American Legion Post 143 is one of the most active organizations on the Qualla Boundary and is seen at many events throughout the year. Now, getting to those events will be easier…and, with more leg room.
Harrah’s Cherokee donated a 15-passenger van to Post 143 in a small event at the Council House on Friday, Feb. 1. Lumpy Lambert, Harrah’s Cherokee assistant general manager, gave the keys to Post 143 Commander Lew Harding and signed the van’s title over to the Post.
“Thank you all very, very much,” said Harding.
Harding added, “I would like to thank Lumpy (Lambert) for helping with the initiative, and for being willing to follow through with the initiative.”
“Everything that comes to us, we recycle back into the community in the form of service, and we are very grateful for the help from our tribal leadership.”
Lambert commented, “It is a great honor for us to be able to donate back to the Steve Youngdeer Post 143. To the veterans, for all they have done, it is just an honor for us to be able to give back to the community just as they continue to give in their volunteer efforts. Part of our commitment is community involvement, and this is another way that we are proud to be a part of the community and proud to donate a tool, a vehicle, that will be utilized within the community to everyone’s benefit.”
Post 143 is paying it forward with this gift as well. They are giving their current Chevy Suburban to the VFW Post 8013 for their Canines for Warriors program.
During Friday’s event, Harding told of a new initiative Post 143 is working on to help position three flag poles (U.S. flag, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians flag, and North Carolina state flag) in front of the Council House. Harding said that Principal Chief Michell Hicks asked that the flag area be dedicated to American POW/MIAs.
“We are looking forward to getting this done as quickly as possible, definitely by the spring time,” Harding said. “It is lighted. It is landscaped and will have stonework around it, and there will be a concrete bench there. Many times we come down here, and the entire world seems to be standing in front of the Council House so we’re going to have a place for some people to sit, the ladies anyway.”
At the end of Friday’s event, Harding presented Chief Hicks, Vice Chief Larry Blythe and Chairman Jim Owle with plaques of appreciation for their help with bringing the Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall to Cherokee last October.