By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
One Feather Asst. Editor
CHEROKEE, N.C. – A long-time employee of the Cherokee Senior Citizens Program has been honored by having a building named after her. During its regular session on the morning of Thursday, May 4, Tribal Council passed Res. No. 597 (2023) which states, “…Tribal Council does hereby rename the Cherokee Senior Citizens building, also known as Tsali Manor, to the Deb West Senior Citizens Center.
Res. No. 597 further states, “Ms. West has been a constant advocate for our senior citizens, dedicating her time on and off the clock for many years; and, Ms. West’s level of dedication to the program’s special clients is unparalleled.”
West commented, “I’m so humbled. I’ve dedicated my life to those senior citizens. First and foremost, I thank my God for giving me the knowledge, the education, and secondly, for giving me the strength to carry it out. But, it wasn’t just me. It was that staff. I give them all the praise.”
“I never woke up and dreaded coming to work. I never did…it’s been a wonderful experience. I always have said it is the best place to work.”
The legislation was submitted by Renissa McLaughlin, EBCI (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) director of youth and adult education, and Vice Chief Alan B. Ensley.
Prior to passage, McLaughlin told Council, “Ms. West has dedicated 35 years to the Tribe – 27 of those at the Senior Citizens Center. That’s half a life. And, it’s not half a life that was mediocre; it’s exemplary work that was done every single day for the most valuable population that we have.”
Vice Chief Ensley commented, “I’ve been a part of the naming of tribal buildings after many exemplary employees, and this is a good example of someone who has dedicated their entire life and continues to work for the entire Tribe…I think it’s a great honor that we name this Center after Ms. Deb West.”
Res. No. 597 also states, “Ms. West has exhibited service leadership for over 30 years, as the pageant coordinator for Miss Cherokee, Sunday School teacher, church treasurer, and currently as the chairperson of her beloved Big Cove Community.”