From the communities around Lake Tenkiller, the marinas, cabins and mobile homes, Friday night’s tornado was felt all over Eastern Oklahoma.
"I think right here was about the center of it and I live right at the edge," Cherokee Nation citizen Oley Holcolmb said.
Every community the tornado went through was within the Cherokee Nation. The tribe says 822 of its citizens were affected by the near-December storm.
In the Tailholt community, hot meals are just the beginning.
"It's good. It's all good,” Cherokee citizen Kay McManus said. “We've had so much help and may she cooked breakfast 3 o'clock that morning and we come down and eat breakfast.”
Kay McManus rode out the storm in her home. They say crews practically had to chainsaw the family out of their home after trees fell and damaged their porch.
“At our age, we can't get out, and cut these logs and trees and so it's appreciated,” McManus said. “Everything they do for us, them and everybody else. Our neighbors, people who are not even from here come in and work.”
The Cherokee Nation has routinely filed for emergency status with the State of Oklahoma during similar natural disasters, but after Friday's extensive damage, the tribe filed its own declaration.
“Everything is working really well, and we're hoping the President will sign this disaster order and we can help folks quicker or sooner than later," Cherokee Nation Chief Bill John Baker said.
The Cherokee Nation's disaster declaration will go right to President Trump's desk for his consideration.
Cherokee Nation’s Emergency Management-Incident Management Team is asking Cherokee Nation citizens who were impacted by the storm to report their damage by calling 918-207-3871 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Cherokee citizens should include name, address, contact information, and a description of the damage.
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