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3 Rivers Indian Lodge Flora, Howze Team Up To Support Treatment Facility
3 Rivers
A 3 Rivers Indian Lodge staff member, at left, poses with the delivery crew that brought needed supplies to the site in Manteca. Among those on hand for the delivery were David Cushman, Josh Whitfield, Duke Cooper and Rick Buckskin. Photo Contributed

On Thursday, April 30 Ted Howze and Heath Flora teamed up through their campaign teams to lead an effort to coordinate the donation of essential supplies to the 3 Rivers Indian Lodge in Manteca. The 3 Rivers Indian Lodge is CARF – Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities – accredited for traditional, urban American Indian alcoholism and substance abuse with 90 to 120 day inpatient recovery programs. They also provide other community services and activities for the Native American community.

Native Directions put out a call to Assemblymember Heath Flora’s team recently for assistance. The lodge currently has over a dozen inpatients presently receiving treatment at their facility during the COVID-19 crisis. In response to the facility's great need, a team began to form to deliver help quickly. Together the Howze and Flora campaigns worked alongside Rick Buckskin, Mid Valley Blue Star Moms, and American Veterans First to provide essential supplies via a curbside drop off. Together these organizations and individuals provided a truckload of medical face masks, cases of hand sanitizer, toilet paper, anti-bacterial wipes, toiletries, and disinfectants.

“From day one of COVID-19 hitting the valley, my focus has been on how we can help our community,” said Assemblymember Flora. “Native Americans have been among the most impacted by this crisis, and I am glad we were able to answer 3 Rivers’ call for assistance. It’s just another example of the Valley coming together to help our community.”

Flora’s district includes the Oakdale-Riverbank-Escalon area.

Ted Howze has been leading “Operation Compassion” through his congressional campaign since the COVID-19 lockdown began. Howze is also a member of the Choctaw Nation.

“This was a great team effort,” said Howze, a Congressional candidate for California.s 10th District. “Our mission with Operation Compassion is to provide needed food and supplies for our community during this time of crisis. We were happy to do our part for these individuals in recovery, and we hope that anyone else in need doesn’t hesitate to reach out.”

The groups involved promised this would not be a one-hit-wonder for 3 Rivers. All parties understand that the facility will quickly run out of the supplies delivered at the end of April. They vowed to return regularly and with more supplies to help 3 Rivers through the crisis, but they are asking the public for help.

“Helping these folks today was just the right thing to do,” said Duke Cooper, the Founder and CEO of American Veterans First. “We will always try to help those who have the least. We would be happy to receive anyone’s donations, be it with direct supplies or financial, to help this important and sacred place to the region.”

“Native Directions appreciates everything this coalition of groups and people have done for us,” said Ramona Valadez, the Executive Director of Native Directions Inc. “I especially want to thank Assemblyman Flora’s staff for taking our call and coordinating this effort. We will certainly put these supplies to good use.”

Anyone interested in donating supplies or making a financial contribution to supplies for this effort can contact American Veterans First at 209-863-8480 or e-mail: All donations are tax-deductible.

Oakdale resident Duke Cooper of American Veterans First, at left, and David Cushman, Campaign Manager of Howze for Congress were among those making a special delivery of items recently to the 3 Rivers Lodge in Manteca for inpatients and staff at the facility. Photo Contributed