Published On: Tue, Dec 11th, 2012

CHS arena named after Cherokee hero

Cherokee Central Schools dedicated the Cherokee High School Arena the Charles George Memorial Arena on Friday, Dec. 7. in honor of PFC Charles George, an EBCI tribal member who won the Medal of Honor during the Korean War.  He gave up his life to save his fellow soldiers.

Miss Cherokee 2012 Karyl Frankiewicz speaks during Friday’s rededication event for the Charles George Memorial Arena. (Photo by Ryanne Oocumma/CHS student)

Members of the Steve Youngdeer American Legion Post 143 and CHS JROTC presented colors representing “Past and Future” military service.  The Color Guard was made up of Reuben Taylor, Ernie Panther, Ray West, Steve Daggs, Cadets Darion Owl, Kyle Watty, and Eligio Acatitlan.

Several Tribal Council members were in attendance including: Yellowhill Rep. B. Ensley, Yellowhill Rep. David Wolfe, Big Cove Rep. Perry Shell and Painttown Rep. Terri Henry.  Cherokee Central School Board members Lori Blankenship, Dick Crowe, Gloria Griffin, Charlotte Saunooke, Jessica Daniels and T.W. Saunooke were also at the ceremony.

Miss Cherokee 2012 Karyl Frankiewicz, Miss Teen Cherokee 2012 Bradley Welch, Post 143 service officer Warren Dupree and Ray Kinsland spoke at the event. The family was represented by Patty George Buchanan and Kevin George as well as many grandnieces and grandnephews.

The dedication ceremony opened with a drum song and was followed by the presentation of colors, the National Anthem, and the Pledge of Allegiance.  Kinsland said a prayer and provided a history.  Dupree read the history and citation of PFC Charles George.

Principal Chief Michell Hicks, Chairman Jim Owle, CCS Superintendent Walt Swan, and CCS School Board Chairman Lori Blankenship dedicated the arena and presented a plaque to a representative from the George family.  A few comments and prayer closed the ceremony with a drum song prelude.

Many students and volunteers worked tirelessly to prepare the arena for the rededication.  PFC Charles George’s name in Cherokee syllabary in the schools colors, maroon and gold, was added by the art students above the entrance to the arena.  Pictures of Charles George in military service, the Medal of Honor, the citation, and certificate are displayed on the wall to the left upon entering the arena’s second floor.  Nestled among these pictures is a bronze plaque with the following statement:

CHARLES GEORGE

RECIPIENT OF THE

CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR

FOR

VALOR AND BRAVERY IN ACTION WHICH

SAVED THE LAVES OF FIVE OF HIS COMRADES.

IN THIS ACTION, PRIVATE FIRST CLASS

GEORGE, COMPANY C, 179TH INFANTRY,

42ND DIVISION, LOST HIS LIFE ON

NOVEMBER 30, 1952, DURING THE KOREAN WAR.

HE WAS A MEMBER OF THE EASTERN

BAND OF CHEROKEES.  THIS GYMNASIUM IS

NAMED IN HIS HONOR.

PRESENTED BY

STEVE YOUNGDEER POST NO. 143

AMERICAN LEGION

CHEROKEE, NORTH CAROLINA

– Cherokee Central Schools

print