At a check presentation by the Cherokee Nation for a Gore Splash Pad are, from the left, Gore Public Works employee Jeremy Lane, Cherokee Nation Businesses board member Dan Carter, Oklahoma State Rep. Ed Cannady, Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Tribal Councilor David Thornton, Gore Police Chief Billy White, Gore Mayor Ryan Callison, Gore Police Officer Jeremy Walters, Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Gore Town Administrator Horace E. Lindley, Gore Vice Mayor Bob Warren, Gore Town Trustee Don Carter, Gore Chamber President Terry Sloan and Gore Fire Chief Kasey Duke.
At a check presentation Monday to Marble City School are, from the left, Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor David Thornton; Marble City Public School Superintendent Bill London; Marble City Public School board members Felicia Edwards, Nancy Fields and Pauline Pettit; Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Tribal Council Deputy Speaker Janelle Fullbright;and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden.
The Cherokee Nation donated more than $100,000 Monday, June 8 to help fund the construction of a splash pad at Gore and the purchase of a new school bus for Marble City Public School.
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said, "The Cherokee Nation is proud to make these kinds of investments, because they make our communities stronger and enable our municipal and school partners to stretch their dollars even further to provide more services. Providing funds for a community splash pad or new school equipment means Cherokee kids will benefit, but so will all their friends and neighbors. This is our opportunity to do more good for more people in northeast Oklahoma."
The $25,000 splash pad is being constructed at Ray Fine Memorial Park in Gore and is expected to be complete within three months. The splash pad will have at least eight water fixtures designed for toddlers to preteens.
"The city of Gore has proven time after time to be great partner for the Cherokee Nation," said Tribal Councilor David Thornton. "It's easy to work with and invest in a partner that you know will be a great steward of your investment, and that you know will make your money benefit not just a few but a multitude of people."
The tribe made the donation from its charitable donation budget. Cherokee Nation has partnered with several communities throughout the tribe's jurisdiction on the construction of splash pads in their towns.
"The Gore board of trustees thanks Chief Baker, Deputy Crittenden and Councilman Thornton for helping make the splash pad a reality," said Gore Mayor Ryan Callison. "The splash pad is very much anticipated by all of our community, and especially the local kids who can't wait to have a fun place to cool off."
After budget cuts, Marble City Public School Superintendent Bill London had to make difficult financial decisions regarding staff and necessary school equipment. However, the tribe's donation of $75,589 for a new school bus is providing a sigh of relief and allowing him to dedicate his limited resources to other pressing needs.
"We couldn't afford to buy a new bus, so we kept fixing the ones we had. We spent about $43,000 on bus repairs this year," said London. "We would have been eternally grateful if the Cherokee Nation would have paid for just half of a new bus. We had no idea that they were going to pay for the entire bus. This bus cost is more than a teacher's salary, and now I can focus our money elsewhere because of the tribe's donation."
The tribe used money from the special projects budget to fund the purchase of the new bus for the school.
"I'm a product of a small school and understand the importance of the dynamic a small school offers to children," said Tribal Council Deputy Speaker Janelle Fullbright. "This new bus helps ensure that Marble City Public School can continue to provide students a more intimate learning experience, because the school can now dedicate the funds used on bus repairs to the educational needs of their students."
Donations made from the Cherokee Nation's special projects fund are selected by Tribal Council and Chief Baker's office and allow the tribe to partner with communities and organizations on projects that benefit both Cherokee Nation citizens and non-Cherokees alike.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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