The Cherokee Nation hosted more than 500 firefighters from 130 volunteer and rural departments at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tuesday night.
The tribe uses its Volunteer Firefighter Awards Ceremony to donate nearly half-a-million dollars to the departments.
The ceremony also treated the firefighters to dinner, along with naming a Volunteer Fire Department and Volunteer Firefighter of the year.
The Cherokee Nation's chief, Bill John Baker, said it is unacceptable for the departments that do so much good in our communities to struggle financially.
"To have these rural fire departments only funded by pie suppers and bean dinners was just almost unconscionable," Baker said.
The Cherokee Nation said the fire departments that receive money spend it on everything from fuel to new equipment.