TAHLEQUAH, OK – Cherokee Nation, state, federal and military leaders recently gathered to tour the construction site where 21 new homes are being built for Cherokee veterans through the U.S. Department of Defense Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) Program.
Construction of the new homes officially kicked off in April of 2021. The Air National Guard, Army National Guard, Navy Reserve and Air Force Reserve Command are providing personnel to construct the new homes over the next three years, with the first seven single-family subsidized homes currently being built along with necessary infrastructure to support the new veterans housing.
“I’m so proud of the Cherokee Nation and the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation for working with the Innovative Readiness Training program to build a new housing addition specifically for Cherokee veterans,” said Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief Bryan Warner. “Together through this project, we’re giving our service members beneficial training that they’ll be using for the rest of their lives. But what I’m most proud of is that at the end of the day, we will be providing new homes for Cherokee veterans. Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and I believe we should do everything we can to serve our Cherokee veterans, and this is one more way we can do so.”
Guardsmen and reservists from 23 different states have worked on the first seven homes since breaking ground in April, with an average of 80 on site at any given time. They have invested 55,000 hours of work so far with a community investment as of July topping $2.5 million.
“We’re partnering directly with the tribe itself. They’re bringing their resources, we’re bring our subject matter expertise and talents, and together we’re putting together a wonderful project that is going to house some of our great veterans,” said Colonel George Koklanaris, Deputy Director of the Innovative Readiness Training program. “It’s a fantastic partnership. What makes IRT such a unique and special program is that it’s a joint program. We have all six of our components, both National Guard components, as well as all of the reserve units that participate in this. We have all the services working in tandem.”
The Cherokee Nation provided the 30 acres for the new housing addition, and the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation has been providing materials and other basic services for construction of the new homes. The Housing Authority will manage the property, and in the future, will open the application process to Cherokee veterans.
The IRT program provides hands-on, real-world training during the construction process, allowing joint military units an opportunity to improve their deployment readiness. The new housing addition will be named in honor of the late Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor Mige Glory, who served in the U.S. Army after being drafted at the age of 18. Glory served as a clerk for the 122nd Evacuation Hospital in Fort Sam Houston, TX.