Person of the Week
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Jerry Wolfe

Updated: Friday, August 2 2013, 10:21 PM EDT
The Eastern band of the Cherokee recently bestowed a great honor that has not been given since 1801.

Our "Person of the Week" was given the title, Beloved Man.

What that title means says a lot about the man and it says a great a deal about his importance and respect from the tribe.

Three days a week, in the Museum of the Cherokee, 87 year old Jerry Wolfe signs autographs and greets tourists.

When he started, it wasn't easy, "I never was a speaker to people".

After 15 years he got good at it, "I learned to greet people."

Really he's always been good with people, he just didn't realize it.

He's a traditionalist, a keeper of Cherokee culture, and language for generations to come.

"Translates their books, stories, lessons."

Now, he can add the title Beloved Man, bestowed by tribal council.

"Bringing this back.  I think the last Beloved Man was 1801."

Jerry Wolfe, "Person of the Week", "I think it's good they think that of me.  But sometimes I wonder do I really deserve all that you know.

As a World War II Veteran, Jerry Wolfe saw battle off the coast of Normandy.

Historic descriptions of "Beloved Men" from the 1700s describe warriors who are no longer able to fight.

He's been class act in the community, a member of the Lions Club since 1970 and a volunteer with church groups who making frequent mission trips overseas to build homes for the poor.

"My mother and dad both would say when a person come to your home always feed them. Don't send them away hungry."

He's been helping his people for decades.

Myrtle Driver, tribal member, "I couldn't think of anyone more deserving of the honor of "Beloved Man."

Bo Taylor, Big Cove Councilman, "we need to realize we're still Cherokee and this is one of the things that typifies who we are that we honor our elders."

It's an honor that's returned to the tribe after centuries, a matter of tradition and recognition.

"He's always serving the people."

If you ever visit the museum and Jerry's not there, you'll find his statute, it's part of the exhibit. He posed for it in 1998.
His wife sure liked it,  "she said, that statute there, can I trade him for that statute!"

If you're in Cherokee, you'll find Jerry at the museum typically on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.Jerry Wolfe

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