Citizen Potawatomi Nation contributed $5,000 to the American Red Cross in Pottawatomie County to assist with the disaster relief efforts after an E F-4 tornado damaged hundreds of homes and left residents without a place to live.

“This donation is greatly appreciated and will go so far to meet the needs in the Shawnee and Bethel area,” said Robin Outland, executive director, American Red Cross of Potawatomi County. “Cash donations are critical and are used for shelter, food and financial assistance to families on their road to recovery.”

In addition to financial support, Citizen Potawatomi Nation staff worked Sunday afternoon, evening and through the day Monday helping victims of a deadly tornado that ripped through Pottawatomie County.

Firelake Discount Foods provided 100 brown bag lunches for the first responders in the field Monday afternoon and the FireLake Travel Plaza will provide any first responder in uniform a free meal.

Grand Casino Hotel and Resort hosted law enforcement agencies Sunday night as they coordinated their response and has provided space for a temporary cell phone tower, since some towers in the area are not functioning.

“We extend our thoughts and prayers to our community and those displaced or injured by the tornadoes,” said John Barrett, Chairman, Citizen Potawatomi Nation. “We remain prepared to assist with recovery efforts in the days and weeks ahead as we rebuild Shawnee.”

CPN’s emergency management team also assisted by providing some food and water to first responders and has resources on standby to offer more assistance and supplies as necessary. Citizen Potawatomi Nation donated the use of a brand new office building near the Grand Casino for the American Red Cross to use as their headquarters during this crisis.

“Our hearts and prayers are with our friends, families and neighbors in Shawnee as they assess the damage from this tornado and begin to rebuild,” said Linda Capps, Vice Chairman, Citizen Potawatomi Nation. “We stand ready to help serve our community in any way that we can and we are grateful to the Red Cross for their help.”

The Oklahoma Blood Institute will have a blood drive Friday at Firelake Casino from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Grand Casino Hotel and Resort.

“Whether it’s due to a weather-related injury or any other health crisis, patients in all area hospitals rely exclusively on Oklahoma Blood Institute,” said Leslie Gamble, Director of Community Relations, Oklahoma Blood Institute. “OBI donors provide every drop of blood needed in all metro-OKC hospitals and 140 others across the state. We can’t predict what the future holds, but we know hundreds in our state will need blood this week. Since there is no substitute, supplies must be replenished. We encourage all to make blood donation a priority.”

Photo cutlines:
Red Cross: Citizen Potawatomi Nation contributed $5,000 to the American Red Cross of Pottawatomie County to help with tornado relief efforts.
From left to right: Robin Outland, executive director for the American Red Cross in Cleveland, Garvin, McClain and Pontotoc counties; Jake Peters, regional major gift officer, American Red Cross; Janienne Bella, regional CEO, American Red Cross; Linda Capps, vice chairman, Citizen Potawatomi Nation; Jason Greenwalt, executive operations coordinator, Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

Firelake Discount Foods:  Firelake Discount Foods made and donated 100 sack lunches for first responders. Katrina Waldrup, Firelake Discount Foods, prepares to deliver the meals.

Bethel Fire: Grand Casino Hotel and Resort employee Glenna Steward delivers donated sandwiches to Andy Lee of the Bethel Acres Fire Department,