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Tahlequah FD, Cherokee Nation celebrates new ladder truck during push-in ceremony

Residents and tribal and city officials gathered at Station 1 at the Tahlequah Fire Department Monday, March 11 to celebrate the Push-in Ceremony for Ladder 1.

Fire Chief Casey Baker said push-in ceremonies have been performed by fire departments for generations.

“It started in the 1800s after crews returned from a call on horse-drawn equipment to animals that were unable to back into the stations, requiring members to detach the horses and push the equipment into the bay,” Baker said.

He added that over time and with the invention of motorized apparatuses, the need for manual push-ins was gone.

“However, the legacy of the push-in was secure,” he said. “Now in honor of those early crews, many fire departments hold a push-in ceremony when taking delivery of new apparatuses.”

The new addition to the TFD was possible after Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Businesses contributed $2.2 million to the city.

He recognized those who made the purchase of the new Pierce Ascendant 100-foot mid-mount possible; Mayor Suzanne Myers; city councilors; City Administrator Taylor Tannehill; and Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.

“I’ve always said, ‘Working together for a common goal, anything is possible,’” Baker said. “That goal is to make the capital city of Cherokee Nation a safer place not only for the citizens that live here, but also for the firefighters that protect it.”

Myers said the new addition to TFD was brought to her attention when she was newly elected for office.

“It was the need for a piece of equipment that could service not only the city of Tahlequah in a greater way than anything we had could do, but also something that would be able to protect those that would be at the hospital that Cherokee Nation was in the process of making happen,” she said.

The mayor echoed Baker and said the purchase would not have been possible if it had not been for the collaboration with Cherokee Nation.

“We are very thankful for the opportunity to have this in our fleet. I said earlier today, ‘I hope that we never need it except for parades,’” she said. “I am so very proud of the men and women that serve in our local fire department, and [I] just see this as one more tool in your toolbelt.”

Cherokee Nation Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner spoke on the importance of working together as a community.

“All good and perfect things come from above and I want everybody to understand that any of you that is a friend of a firefighter, is a friend of mine and I will always stand in the wake of those individuals that have stood there for all of our communities,” he said.

Warner said those in the fire service stand in the balance between a tragedy or times when help couldn’t get there in time.

“It’s not just about putting out the fire that is burning that house, that home, wherever it is. It’s about putting a blessing on the individuals that have just went through that because these individuals know better than most, how to convey that thought, how to reach out there with that loving and helpful hand each and every day,” Warner said.

Agalisiga Mackey, Cherokee speaker and artist, commemorated the ceremony by song.

“It talks about the people in our community and how we help each other, not just ourselves but it strengthens everyone, not just individuals,” he said

Before the push-in process, TFD Chaplain Rev. Clifton Loman blessed Ladder 1 and the fire department.

“We dedicate this Ladder to the people of our community. We offer our grateful thanks to all of those who have made this purchase possible. May their support and encouragement be given recognition by our wise and responsible use of this equipment,” Loman said during a prayer.

Once the blessing was finished, firefighters and the public pushed the new ladder into service.


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