“They just like getting together, enjoy talking to one another and having a good time with all of their friends.”
OKMULGEE, Okla.- The Muscogee Nation Displaced Warriors Support Program hosted their first Veterans Holiday Luncheon Dec. 19 at the Okmulgee Indian Community Center. Veterans that attended were either from or around the community and were served a meal catered from Boss’n Hogs.
Muscogee Nation Displaced Warriors Support Program Manager Tacia Berryhill (Mvskoke) spoke about gathering veterans together in order to serve a warm meal for the holidays. It was an event that provided an opportunity for fellowship.
During Thanksgiving the program gave away hams and turkeys to veterans. This Christmas season the program decided it would be best to host a luncheon, one that could serve at least 100 people.
Berryhill and her staff are veterans. At the luncheon they had the honor to serve their fellow veterans. Muscogee (Creek) Nation Secretary of Veterans Affairs Grover Wind was in attendance as well.
The Muscogee Nation displaced warriors support program is a newer program, and is only six months old. The program was previously under the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program for six years.
The displaced warriors support program has since been able to provide more services to citizens, utilizing tribal funds rather than grant funds that have supervision requirements. This allows Berryhill to focus on Mvskoke veterans.
According to Wind the program transports veterans or homeless veterans to areas where they can be serviced and helped.
Berryhill grew up seeing veterans gather together as a community. A need that Berryhill and her staff noticed this year was that some veterans may not have a family, or are unable to celebrate Christmas. For this reason she is grateful to provide that for them. “It’s a great feeling actually it’s a camaraderie and especially around the seasons,” Berryhill said.
Berryhill and Wind are very appreciative of providing the luncheon for veterans, and to host events like this for those who might not be able to see family.
“Again, the loneliest feeling is not to have one but to be by yourself, this allows these veterans to come and be part of the fraternity that they’re part of. So looking beyond offering services it’s just the compassion that this dinner is going to be able to reach out to a homeless or maybe a lonesome or a lonely veteran out there,” Wind said.
For any questions about this program you can contact Muscogee Nation Displaced Warriors Support Program Case Manager Mike Hill at 918-758-7013. The program also has a Facebook page, The Muscogee Nations Veterans Affairs.
Elder’s Christmas Holiday Luncheon
Muscogee (Creek) Nation Elder’s Services hosted their 13th annual Holiday Luncheon on Dec. 20 at the Tulsa River Spirit Ballroom. This event had elders dancing on the dance floor with live music, a photo booth, Native Santa and door prizes. The event saw a day filled with laughter and fellowship.
MCN Elder Services Manager Christy Boone (Chickasaw) has been helping plan this event for 11 years. The event initially started out with 100 elders. Last year’s luncheon exceeded over 500 elders in attendance.
Boone has seen significant growth with the event over the years. It has continued to outgrow each venue it’s been hosted at including the Green Country Technology Center, the Glenpool Conference Center, and now the RiverSpirit Casino and Resort.
This event is for Mvksoke elder citizens 55 years or older. This year they allowed significant others to participate, even if they were not MCN citizens.
The event’s entertainment featured a live band that played Motown music. Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health’s Dewayne Tiger served as the event’s master of ceremonies. The luncheon’s meal featured chicken-fried chicken with desserts.
“I believe my favorite is that they get dressed up all fancy and they love being catered to and so it’s just a real fancy time for them. It’s like going to this big event where it’s all about them,” Boone said. “They just like getting together, enjoy talking to one another and having a good time with all of their friends.”
The event even had a dance competition, with prizes handed out to one man and one woman. The dance competition prizes each included a free night hotel stay at the River Spirit. Door prizes that were given out were donated from Mvskoke Media, Wal-Mart, as well as local businesses and restaurants.
The Elder Services Program hosts different events throughout the year such as the Christmas luncheon, the sweetheart dance held in February and the senior games in May.
“I’ve always done things with my grandparents but they never participated in any activities like this so I do believe that this is something that the elders love to do. They just like getting together with their people and so I’m happy to do this for them and hopefully they have a good time while they are there,” Boone said.
For any questions about the MCN Elder Services Program, contact Christy Boone at 918-732-7765, or reach her by email at email@example.com.