Vol. LIII No. 2
February 2018

Chickasaw Nation Veterans Lodge dedicated in Ada

ADA, Okla. – Hundreds of Chickasaw military veterans were on hand Oct. 2 as Governor Bill Anoatubby officially dedicated the Chickasaw Nation Veterans Lodge.

“It was built to provide Chickasaw veterans with a place you can seek help in times of need,” Gov. Anoatubby said. “Where programs and services especially dedicated to you are readily available, and where you can comfortably gather, relax and enjoy the camaraderie of your fellow veterans and brothers-in-arms,” Gov. Anoatubby said.

The 15,000-square-foot building – constructed on the Ada South Campus near the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center – will serve veterans by helping them apply for benefits available to them by the state and federal governments, as well as the Chickasaw Nation.

The south side of the Veterans Lodge will provide space for tribal experts who “will provide counseling services and assist you in finding various programs and benefits available to veterans,” Gov. Anoatubby said.

The north part of the new structure will act as a gathering place for leisure activities so veterans may enjoy the company of other veterans. A large activity room will be equipped with a pool table, ping-pong and card tables in addition to a hospitality area. A kitchen and dining room will support large gatherings and events. A large sun room is available to be enjoyed.

The front courtyard showcases the five military flags and seals of the United States armed forces and features the iconic Chickasaw Warrior statue which welcomes thousands of Chickasaws and visitors annually to tribal office buildings, the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center, the Chickasaw Cultural Center, and other Chickasaw locations.

“Chickasaw veterans, we are grateful for your service and sacrifice,” Gov. Anoatubby said. “This veterans lodge stands as a testament to our gratitude – a building to serve you for all you have done to serve our nation.”

Chickasaw officials designed the lodge to be near the medical complex so veterans receiving medical attention will be near care facilities as well as the lodge.

Chickasaw veterans helped Governor Anoatubby and tribal officials cut the ribbon. A tour of the new facility followed the ceremony.

“This is absolutely beautiful and a fantastic place for veterans to gather and also to bring their families,” Chickasaw Vietnam veteran Bill Green said. “The most impressive part of it is the offices on the south end which are there to help veterans and widows of veterans or their survivors.”

Mr. Green, who served in the U.S. Air Force beginning in 1965, said the Chickasaw Warrior Society and Veterans Lodge illustrated to him how attitudes have changed toward veterans.

“When we came home, we were treated pretty badly,” he said. “There was nobody to welcome us. But I think America understands now that men and women who fight are due respect and honor. They have no say in what battles they are asked to fight or if (wars) are supported or not supported. They merely answer the call to duty.”

Other veterans greeted the grand opening with praise.

“This is a dream come true,” Chickasaw veteran Gene Thompson told a KTEN television reporter from Texas. “We have hoped for a place like this for quite a while.”

Jim Sanders, a Norman, Okla., resident and Chickasaw warrior seriously wounded in Vietnam more than 50 years ago, said he was delighted with the facility and all it offered veterans.

“It is very nice with most everything veterans could want,” he said. “I feel certain we will use it.”

Mr. Sanders, who uses a scooter most of the time to get around, said the lodge offered spaciousness to accommodate scooters and wheelchairs for veterans whose mobility is limited.