Courtesy Choctaw Nation
District 5 Councilman Ronald Perry prepares to cut the ribbon at the new Choctaw Wellness Center in Stigler. Chief Gary Batton, Assistant Chief Jack Austin Jr., the Choctaw Nation Tribal Council, and other officials and citizens of Haskell County participated in the ceremony Thursday, November 3.

Choctaw Nation Invests in Tribal Health, Cuts Ribbon to Wellness Center


Rain puddles from the night before and the threat of more to come did not dampen the enthusiasm of Stigler residents anxious to tour their new Choctaw Wellness Center Thursday morning, November 3. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held with Choctaw Nation, state and city officials among the crowd in attendance at 2208 E. Main St., Unit B, in Stigler.

Chief Gary Batton, said to those gathered,“Thank you so much for coming out today. It’s a blessing to have facilities like the one here. We set a vision quite some time ago of achieving healthy, successful and productive lifestyles for a proud nation of Choctaws.”

Chief Batton was interrupted by applause when he stated that Stigler’s is the 13th wellness center the Choctaw Nation has built in southeast Oklahoma. “I can remember when we built the first one,” he said.

With the arrival of fall and winter weather, indoor features of the Choctaw Wellness Center are expected to be popular. The 9,700-square-foot structure includes a half-court basketball gym, an indoor walking track, and 2,500 square feet of space housing top-of-the-line cardio- and strength-training machines. Various fitness classes will have 2,000 square feet of dedicated space. Additional amenities at the center include showers and day-use lockers for men and women. Trained staff at the center will assist members with free personal training, nutrition programs, and fitness assessments.

At the ceremony, members of the Choctaw Tribal Council were recognized, along with other civic and political leaders.

With the Chicago Cubs win in the World Series the night before, baseball was on the minds of many. District 5 Councilman Ronald Perry said of the new wellness center, “It reminds me of a movie I once saw, an old baseball movie. They said, ‘If you build it, they will come.’ They built it for us… all we gotta do is come use it.”

Chief Batton said, “I think that it’s great that this council has invested in our health and is truly living out our vision of trying to make lives better for tribal members.”

The Choctaw Nation has more than 40 other major building projects currently approved, in development or under construction across southeast Oklahoma. Construction of the Wellness Center in Stigler is near completion and the facility is expected to open soon.

Chief Batton noted that the ceremony was airing live on Facebook. Check it out.

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