Working together to improve lives
From the desk of Assistant Chief Gary Batton
It is great to work for an entity and a leader who are always so positive about partnering to improve lives of tribal members, other citizens and communities around us. Just recently, the Choctaw Nation celebrated a partnership with McAlester for a new fire department. The tribe combined an $800,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and $1,150,000 in tribal funds to build a $1.95 million, 7,682-square-foot Fire and Emergency Response Complex on the southeast side of town.
We are extremely proud to be able to collaborate on this project that provides residents of the city and our tribal business enterprises in McAlester a safe environment. Although the Choctaw Nation constructed this much-needed facility, the City of McAlester will staff and maintain it.
Being toured through the fire station by Fire Chief Harold Stewart and the other firefighters was a great experience – they are all excited and appreciative of both the beauty and efficiency of the building. While on duty, the station is “home” to the firefighters. The dorm rooms and kitchen area are extremely comfortable, and the conference room doubles as a safe room in case of a tornado. In addition to the fire trucks, a Hazmat Response Trailer and ambulance will be housed in the new station.
McAlester is the second town in Choctaw Nation boundaries to benefit from a fire station built with CDBG and Tribal funds. Durant opened a new station near the Casino and travel plazas last year thanks to a partnership with that town.
Other big projects the tribe has completed in local towns to improve the community and the lives of people living there include health clinics, senior citizen housing, jobs through economic development (mainly casino and travel plazas), new tribal community centers and roads and bridges improvements. As Mayor Kevin Priddle said at McAlester, “It is amazing what you can do when you work together!”