First responders from 50 northeastern Oklahoma fire departments have increased life-saving abilities after receiving new portable defibrillators from Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Businesses.
During the next two to three years, the tribe and its business arm will provide Automated External Defibrillators, or AEDs, to fire departments within the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction. The first 50 departments were selected at random and received their new devices Monday.
“Cherokee Nation has always been a strong supporter of fire departments and first responders in our 14 counties,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “We know there is a need for rural departments, which are on the frontlines during critical scenarios, to have these life-saving AEDs. I’m convinced that these first 50 defibrillators will save the lives of Cherokees and non-Cherokees for years to come, and we look forward to the day when each and every department in our 14 counties is equipped with this life-saving tool.”
An AED uses electric shock to restore a normal, effective heart rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest. Many rural fire departments operate with donations and membership dues and may be unable to afford the portable defibrillators, which cost nearly $900 each.
Cherokee Nation Businesses employees helped raise funds to purchase the AEDs through the company’s yearlong fundraising effort, Heart of a Nation. The employee-driven campaign specifically addresses health needs of Cherokee Nation citizens. Throughout the year, employees at the tribe’s business and entertainment properties raise funds through volunteer efforts such as cook-offs, dunk tanks, bake sales, silent auctions, penny wars, Indian taco luncheons and more.
“As a company, we take great pride in knowing our efforts directly benefit Cherokee Nation and its citizens, as well as Oklahoma and our local communities,” said Shawn Slaton, chief executive officer of Cherokee Nation Businesses. “Our employees take it a step further by volunteering their time and personal funds to charitable efforts throughout the year. The Heart of a Nation campaign truly exemplifies how much our workforce cares for our neighbors.”
The annual Heart of a Nation campaign is a partnership between CNB and Cherokee Nation Health Services. It is coordinated through CNB’s Community Impact Teams, an initiative to help promote volunteerism and community engagement among employees.
The following Sequoyah County fire departments received AEDs:
- Blackgum Mountain Civil Defense and Volunteer Fire Department, Central High Volunteer Fire Department, Liberty Fire Department, Maple Rural Fire District Inc., McKey Rural Firefighters Association, Moffett Fire Department, Redland Fire Department Inc., Rocky Point Rural Fire Department Inc., Sallisaw Fire Department, Town of Gore, Vian Volunteer Fire Department, and West Tenkiller Fire Department.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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