Jerry Wolfe, Veteran and Elder, Honored by Tribe and USET

During the recent United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) Impact Week in Washington, D.C., Jerry Wolfe, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians was honored for his service as a World War Two veteran, an award winning cultural preservationist, story teller, and Cherokee Elder.

At 18 he joined the U.S. Navy, which he served in for six years. Wolfe was part of the invasion of Omaha Beach, France, on D-Day. He also witnessed the declaration of peace signing on the USS Missouri.

“There are so many war heroes and accomplished members of our USET Tribal Nations, we need to honor them so we will learn and live by the examples they set in their lives. Jerry Wolfe is just one of many. USET is proud to honor Mr. Wolfe and his Tribe the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians,” USET President Brian Patterson told the Impact Week attendees, according to the organization's new quartely newsletter (related story: United Southern and Eastern Tribes Launches Quarterly Newsletter).

And on April 11, by unanimous vote, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Council bestowed the title "Beloved Man" on Wolfe. According to The Sylva Herald, this is the first time since 1801 that the tribe has awarded this honor.

“Jerry embodies everything a beloved man should embody,” Council Member Bo Taylor told the paper of his decision to seek the distinction for Wolfe. “He’s a veteran, a warrior. Being a veteran carries a lot of weight in our culture. He’s a man who gets out and does – and he does for others. He’s selfless.”

Wolfe, 88, currently works at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, North Carolina. Read more about Wolfe here and here.

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