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Cherokee Nation Citizen Honored By White House As 'Champion Of Change'

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Cherokee Nation Chief of Staff Chuck Hoskin and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden congratulate 2014 White House Champion of Change Daryl Legg, along with Principal Chief Bill John Baker. [Cherokee Nation] Cherokee Nation Chief of Staff Chuck Hoskin and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden congratulate 2014 White House Champion of Change Daryl Legg, along with Principal Chief Bill John Baker. [Cherokee Nation]
TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma -

Cherokee Nation citizen Daryl Legg of Sallisaw named a "Champion of Change" was honored during a ceremony at the White House Monday.

Daryl Legg, 43, has gone from a three-time convicted felon to a college graduate and is now director of the Cherokee Nation's vocational programs. The programs include one Legg started called "Coming Home" that helps former prisoners find jobs and housing.

"Daryl has helped the Cherokee Nation develop one of the most progressive reintegration programs in Oklahoma and across Indian Country. His humanity and commitment make him a deserving White House Champion of Change honoree," said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. "Like Daryl, I believe we can't just give up on people after incarceration. We must open doors of opportunity for our people, not keep them closed."

Legg has been a director of Cherokee Nation's vocational programs since 2009. It's the same program that years earlier offered him the opportunity to learn employment skills after being sent to prison twice in Arkansas and once in Oklahoma.

Legg graduated from Northeastern State University with a major in psychology in 2006 and worked his way up to a director before starting "Coming Home."

"I'm thankful I belong to a tribe that gives me the freedom to do what I love and give back," Legg said. "The feeling of being able to be trusted again is an awesome feeling and I'm thankful to the Cherokee Nation, and the White House for this award. More than anything, I'm glad to see the reentry issue getting the attention it deserves."

Legg is one of 15 people who was honored at the White on Monday with the "Champion of Change" award.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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