Kiowa COOP opening

Cutting the ribbon to open the Kiowa Continuity of Operations (COOP) center are, from left: Kendal Hamilton, Lawton City Manager Michael Cleghorn, Kiowa Vice Chair Rhonda Ahhaitty, Tribal Chairman Matthew Komalty, Lawton Mayor Stan Booker, and Bluesky Tosee.

On Friday, the new Continuity of Operations (COOP) center, 1605 W. Lee, was official opened during a ribbon cutting ceremony and promises to provide essential services year-round for Kiowa tribal members.

The facility was purchased with CARES Act funding brought on by the pandemic, according to Neely Tsoodle, tribe information officer.

“The COOP center’s sole purpose is to provide uninterrupted essential services amid a crisis,” she said. “It will provide an alternate site outside of the main headquarters in Carnegie.”

The COOP will assist tribal members (elders) with transportation to and from appointments, act as a dry goods and PPE storage, COVID-19 assistance intake station, and act as a command center in times of need.

“This is a much-needed facility in this area of our Kiowa jurisdiction outside of Carnegie,” said Freida Satepeahtaw, COVID-19 Response Program Director. “It’s a larger city with more to offer around us. The Lawton area is also home to nearly 800 tribal members. That’s a lot of tribal members in one area.”

Satepeahtaw said it is not known as this time how many workers it will employ.

The transportation department plans to offer transit to the public in the near future at a minimal cost. The garage will also offer discount prices for small vehicle maintenance jobs.

Written by Scott Rains: scott.rains@swoknews.com.

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