By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Principal Chief Patrick Lambert hosted the first annual Back-to-School Bash at the Cherokee Indian Fairgrounds on Wednesday, Aug. 3. The event, which drew over 1,000 students, was so successful that supplies ran out and a second event has been planned for Wednesday, Aug. 17 from 3-7pm at the Fairgrounds.
“I’m really glad to host this first ever back-to-school event sponsored by my office,” said Chief Lambert. “I think that this is really important to the community that we show these young folks and the parents that the Principal Chief supports them and their endeavors to further their education. We wish them the very best in the school year.”
Chief Lambert, who related that supplies were distributed to over 500 students on Wednesday, said education is important to all members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. “Education is the great leveler. It can change your life. It’s changed mine. I went to school, went on to become an attorney, and now I’m Principal Chief of the Tribe, and I want to show these kids that anything is possible as long as they put their mind to it.”
Partnering with the Office of the Principal Chief on the event was a north Georgia-based organization known as Soldiers of Truth. The group, which has been around for almost six years, is a motorcycle club on the surface, but they are much more. They run a Ministry and travel around the area volunteering their time and resources to help at various events.
“We’ve been coming up here for about two years now and really just fell in love with the community and how appreciative everyone is,” said Dustin Ledford, Soldiers of Truth vice president. “We’ve been all over the place doing stuff for kids, the homeless, elders, and soldiers, and you don’t find the appreciation that you find here. These kids are really humble and really thankful when they get something.”
He added, “We just really enjoy it. It means a lot to be able to give back and to bless someone else the way we’ve been blessed.”
For Wednesday’s event, the group provided free hot dogs to all of the students. “Food is kind of our specialty,” said Ledford. “We also had some shoes…we had a lot of people donate some shoes.”
Following the event, Chief Lambert released a statement in which he said, “Thank you to everyone for your understanding today when we ran out of school stock because with such great participation and need the school supplies went quickly. But, we had some good fun in the bouncy houses and got a quick dinner. I look forward to our next event on Wednesday, Aug. 17 at 3-7pm.”
To view or purchase photos from this event, visit: https://onefeather.smugmug.com/COMMUNITY-and-NEWS-EVENTS/2016-Community-and-News-Events/Back-to-School-Bash-Aug-3/