Cherokee Nation honors veteran brothers in November

11/15/2012
November 15, 2012

The Hembree brothers were honored Nov. 13 with the Cherokee Medal of Patriotism by Principal Chief Bill John Baker (far right) and Deputy Chief Joe Crittenden (far left). Also pictured from L to R: Attorney General Todd Hembree, Ivan Hembree, Alfred Hembree, Dan Hembree and Monroe Hembree.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation honored a quartet of brothers from Adair County with the Cherokee Medal of Patriotism at its November Tribal Council meeting.

The brothers are four of seven sons raised by Ray and Carlotta Ruth Adair Hembree in the Oak Grove community near Stilwell.

Alfred Hembree, 81, and Dan Sequoyah Hembree, 77, both of Westville, and Ivan Hembree, 79, and Monroe Hembree, 91, both of Stilwell, each received a medal and plaque from Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief Joe Crittenden Nov. 13, acknowledging their service to the country.

“I’m very proud to be an American citizen and a Native American, and I had the greatest privilege to go and serve my country,” said Monroe Hembree, the eldest brother. “The Cherokee Nation has been very helpful, and I don’t know how to explain how grateful I am to the tribe.”

Monroe Hembree was born Sep. 15, 1921. In 1942, he was inducted into the U.S. Army and completed basic training in Abilene, Texas. A World War II veteran, he served as an Army medic while on tours in France, Belgium, Germany and England.

Monroe received an honorable discharge from the service in 1945. After returning home, he married his wife, Rose. Together, the couple has three children.

Alfred Hembree was born Dec. 14, 1930. In 1952, Alfred enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and completed basic training in San Antonio. Alfred completed technical school in Aberdeen, Md., to become an aircraft welder. Alfred served one year in South Korea, before returning to the states to serve the remainder of his term at Clovis Air Force Base in New Mexico. After being discharged in 1956, Alfred returned home. In 1959, Alfred accepted a position with the Oklahoma State Department of Wildlife as a state game warden for Adair County, where he worked for 35 years before retiring in 1995. Alfred has been married to his wife, Sue, for 54 years, and the two have four children and 12 grandchildren.

Dan Sequoyah Hembree was born Mar. 15, 1935. In 1954, Dan was inducted into the U.S. Army and completed basic training at Fort Chaffee, Ark. Dan was stationed both in Texas and at Fort Sill, Okla., and served an overseas tour in Japan. He received an honorable discharge in 1956 and returned home. Upon his return, Dan enrolled at Northeastern State University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in education. He later attended the University of Arkansas and Oklahoma State University and received his certification to teach vocational education. Dan started the vocational carpentry program at Westville High School and ran the program for 30 years until his retirement in 1990. Dan currently lives in Westville with his wife, Audrey, of 54 years. The couple has one daughter and two grandchildren.

Ivan Hembree was born on Feb. 3, 1933. In 1953, Ivan enlisted in the U.S. Army and completed his basic training at Fort Chaffee, Ark. He was stationed at Fort Gordon in Georgia until his discharge in 1955. After returning home, Ivan attended Okmulgee Tech and received certification in diesel mechanics. He worked as a heavy equipment operator for several years while attending NSU part time. Ivan graduated from NSU in 1970 with a degree in sociology. He retired in 1994 and currently lives on his ranch with his wife, Ruth Ann, in the Greasy community near Stilwell. The couple has three children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

“It is truly an honor to be a part of this family,” said Todd Hembree, Attorney General of the Cherokee Nation and son of Ivan Hembree. “This family has served the Cherokee Nation for many generations in the past and hopefully many generations to come.”

Each month the Cherokee Nation recognizes Cherokee servicemen and women for their sacrifices 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, call 918-453-5541 or 800-256-0671, ext. 5541.


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