The Cherokee Nation honored veterans from Mayes and Cherokee counties with the Cherokee Medal of Patriotism at its March Tribal Council meeting in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
Tuck Roach, 93, of Locust Grove, and Faye Thompson Richardson, 82, of Tahlequah, received a medal and plaque from Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief Joe Crittenden March 11, acknowledging their service to the country.
“I never thought I would get a medal this late in life,” said Roach, a World War II veteran, in a Cherokee Nation press release. “It’s really an honor to be recognized by my tribe.”
Roach was born October 30, 1919, to the late Charles and Katie Vann Roach, in Yonkers, Oklahoma. Roach enlisted in 1942 into the U.S. Army Air Forces, now known as the U.S. Air Force, and completed basic training in Mississippi. Roach worked as a special vehicle operator for the 454th Bomb Squadron with the rank of corporal. He participated in the air offensives in Normandy; Ardennes Rhineland, Central Europe; and Northern France. Roach received an honorable discharge in 1945 and returned to Yonkers, where he married his wife, Imogene. He was awarded the World War II Victory Ribbon and Distinguished Unit Badge, along with many other honors for his service. Roach worked various construction jobs before being hired by a cement company in Tulsa. He retired from the cement company in 1985 and worked part time for Induction Systems in Locust Grove before retiring in 2007 at the age of 88. Roach and his late wife have four children, eight grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and five great, great-grandchildren.
Richardson was born April 30, 1930, to the late Jesse and Sallie Thompson, in a community south of Locust Grove. In 1951, Richardson enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 21. She was sworn into Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) n San Francisco. She completed her recruit training at Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Illinois and then attended a school for the program in Memphis, Tennessee. During the Korean War, she served as a Private 3rd Class. She was honorably discharged in 1953. Richardson met her husband, H.C. Richardson, Jr., while stationed in Memphis, Tennessee, and was stationed with him in South America, Maryland and California during his service. After his service ended, the couple returned to Locust Grove, and in 1970 Richardson began working for the Cherokee Nation. She worked as a community health representative and was a supervisor for Mayes, Delaware and Craig counties before retiring in 1995. Richardson continued working part time for Cherokee Nation Home Health as a provider until 2006. She now lives in Tahlequah at Wisdom Keepers and was one of the first admits into the Cherokee Nation Elder Care program. Richardson and her late husband have four children, 11 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Each month the Cherokee Nation recognizes Cherokee service men and women for their sacrifices and as a way to demonstrate the high regard in which all veterans are held by the tribe. Native Americans, including Cherokees, are thought to have more citizens serving per capita than any other ethnic group, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. To nominate a veteran who is a Cherokee Nation citizen, please call 918-453-5541 or 800-256-0671, ext. 5541.