Joey Parker Memorial Playground dedicated

by Oct 25, 2022COMMUNITY sgadugi0 comments


One Feather Asst. Editor


CHEROKEE, N.C. – The exuberant spirit of the late Joseph “Joey” Parker was celebrated at an event at Cherokee Central Schools on the afternoon of Monday, Oct. 24.  Led by his sisters, Myra Cloer and Kym Parker, the family raised over $45,000 to construct the Joey Parker Memorial Playground behind the Cherokee Elementary School.

Myra Cloer, left, and Kym Parker, sisters of Joey Parker, are shown at the dedication ceremony for the Joey Parker Memorial Playground behind the Cherokee Elementary School on the afternoon of Monday, Oct. 24. (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather photo)

Dr. Michael Murray, Cherokee Central Schools superintendent, spoke first commenting, “He (Joey) knew what it was like to celebrate being a Brave…in spirit he’s with us all the time because he understood what it meant to be a member of this Tribe, something I’ll never understand. And he also understood what it meant to be a Brave, which I have tried to understand. And I will tell you, he is a much-needed example of what everyone should be, and that is pure love. He was a joy to the school system. He was a joy to his family. He certainly, every day, brought joy to people and this playground will do that.”

Of the playground, Dr. Murray said, “This stuff is very expensive, and it took a lot of dedication and work from folks donating to make this happen. So, we’re very honored today to celebrate and to dedicate this playground to Joey Parker…every child that plays on this playground will feel that blessing…when you drive by just know that children will be playing here and they’ll see his name and they’re going to know that he was one of the biggest Braves out there and we’re all very proud to be associated with that.”

Vice Chief Alan B. Ensley, a friend and classmate of Joey’s, noted, “It’s an honor to be here today because myself and Joey went all the way through school together.  He always had a lot of good words for everybody.”

Joey Parker

He added, “Our whole class, we just thought the world of Joey.  He was one of us…You could ride up Big Cove and if he knew you, he’d holler at you with his pom pom. Just about everybody would stop in and talk to Joey because he was so thought of from everybody.”

Tribal Council Chairman Richard French said, “It’s a great day for this, and it’s an honor to be here at this dedication in memorial of Joey.  Thank you to the family for all the time we had with him, for sharing him with everybody.”

Kym Parker thanked everyone in attendance and the entire community for their support in the fundraising efforts for the project.  “There’s not much more I can say except thank you, thank you, thank you.  We had so much help from family, from friends, so many donations and time spent went into this…we had a lot of fun doing this.”

She concluded, “This playground is wonderful.  He’s been gone six years now, but look at the crowd he still draws.  He was a powerful force.”