Published February 9, 2016
TUBA CITY, ARIZONA It was the dream of Navajo Code Talker Sergeant Major Dan Akee to live in the home he constructed over 40 years ago, a dream now a reality.
“I did not want to come into my home until it was completed,” he said.
As he went from room to room admiring the redwood cabinets and new kitchen appliances, he repeated one word, “wow.”
While he sat in front of a new wood-burning stove with his beautiful wife of 66 years, he reminisced about the battle at Iwo Jima and said, “I just wanted to come home to where we raised our children and future grandchildren and great, grandchildren.”
The outside of the home proudly displayed a sign that read “Home of a Navajo Code Talker” that was made by the Navajo-Hopi Honor Riders. The house was adorned with new redwood flooring, a wood burning stove, and ceiling fans to move heat throughout the home.
“It’s amazing to finally see the accomplishments of the efforts of so many volunteers,” said President Russell Begaye.
At the beginning of the project both President Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez made the commitment to see the project through to completion.
A commitment, not just with a swish of a pen or committing funds, but volunteering their time in the renovations, ripping out sinks, old bathtubs, removing old dilapidated window frames and removing old cabinets.
President Begaye remembered removing an old kitchen sink and the pressure in the pipeline burst open drenching President Begaye in 20 + year soiled dingy water.
“I was covered with the smell of wastewater for the rest of my day. It was fine because I was fulfilling a dream for a warrior, who gave so much to our country,” he said.
There were many who volunteered from Tuba City High School, Navajo-Hopi Honor Riders, local veterans and the Red Feathers Construction Company.
Mark Hall, Executive Director of Red Feather Development company said it has been a tremendous community effort. He hopes that his company and Navajo Veterans groups can continue these efforts to renovate other veteran’s homes. There are a lot of homes that need repair throughout Navajo land and with community involvement more of these homes can be renovated.
President Begaye thanked Red Feather and Eunice Begay, from the Tuba City Veterans office for staying with this project from day one to final completion, along with Home Depot and Arizona Public Service. Home Depot also brought a crew of volunteers to paint the home.
“You have showed to the rest of the Navajo Nation, what we can accomplish when we work together, so let’s not stop this movement, let’s keep moving,” stated President Begaye.
Vice President Jonathan Nez said the completion of renovations to Navajo Code Talker Dan Akee’s home is another example of the commitment made by the Begaye-Nez administration to work hard on behalf of Navajo veterans.
“It was a Navajo Code Talker’s wish that the home he constructed be renovated,’ Vice President Nez said. “And it took teamwork to bring that wish to fruition.”
“Volunteering and working together are characteristics of our administration that we said are necessary to get the job done when we took office. Thank you to all those who volunteered their time to our Navajo Code Talker. We appreciate the service of our Navajo veterans and this is especially true for our beloved Navajo Code Talkers,” he added.
President Begaye stated, there are so many more veterans deserving to live in their dream homes.
“We ask if there are others out there willing to continue to keep the momentum of this community movement, please come join us. Our Code Talkers gave a great sacrifice and our Nation would not be the same had it not been for their sacrifice. Lets give back to our Nation’s heroes.”