Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor Rex Jordan; Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden; U.S. Army veteran Eddie Gene Storozyszyn; wife Cheryl Storozyszyn; daughter Wendy Barney; grandsons EJ Moore, Dylan Moore and Seth Russell; and Principal Chief Bill John Baker.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation honored three veterans with the Medal of Patriotism at the April Tribal Council meeting on Monday.
John Levi Swimmer, 83, of Vian; Eddie Gene Storozyszyn, 71, of Wagoner; and Steven Donald Summers, 61, of Claremore, were recognized by Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, acknowledging their service and sacrifice to their country.
Staff Sgt. Swimmer was born on Jan. 4, 1934, in Vian, where he graduated high school in 1953 and was soon after drafted into the U.S. Army. Swimmer was chosen to participate in the General Mark Clark Leadership School and later served his first deployment at Camp Casey in Korea. After receiving an honorable discharge in 1955, Swimmer worked for ARK/LA Natural Gas Company in Arkansas and later returned to Oklahoma to work for Kerr McGee. From 1970 to 1980, Swimmer served on the Vian School board, where he played a large role in the construction of several of the schools’ buildings. Swimmer still lives in Vian.
“I thank the people here. I’m proud to serve my country. I lived my life with the things that guided me: my family, my country and my duty,” Swimmer said.
Sgt. Storozyszyn was born on Nov. 11, 1944, in Tulsa, the grandson of Ukrainian and Polish immigrants. Storozyszyn continued his family’s proud history of military service when he enlisted in the Army in September of 1965. Storozyszyn began his military career stationed 40 miles south of Cameroon Bay in the 6th Battalion, 71st Artillery Division. Later, he served in Vietnam for one year before returning to Fort Sill in Oklahoma. Storozyszyn received an honorable discharged in 1967 and currently lives in Wagoner.
Sgt. Summers was born on Aug. 16, 1954, in Claremore. Summers enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in March of 1975 and studied weather equipment repair at Chanute Air Force Base before he was reassigned to Randolph Air Force Base in Texas. During his service, Summers served on both the honor and color guards. After receiving an honorable discharge in 1978, Summers lost his left leg in a motorcycle accident. Shortly after, he relocated to White Bear, Minnesota, and learned to build prosthetic limbs, eventually creating the prosthetic that he wears today. In 2006, Summers returned to work on his father’s horse ranch in Claremore, where he currently lives.
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 918-772-4166.
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