Red Cross of Alaska Service to the Armed Forces program to support local veterans at 2018 VA Stand Down event

Walmart LogoRichardson Spouses Club Logo 2Alaska Regional Hospital Logo

Through the support of the Richardson Spouse’s Club, Walmart Supercenter #2188 in Eagle River and #2071 Anchorage, and Alaska Regional Hospital, the American Red Cross of Alaska Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) program will be able to provide critical assistance to veterans when they need it most.

The Richardson Spouses’ Club donated $1,000 to support the Red Cross at this year’s VA Stand Down event. Donations for medical care kits were also generously donated by Alaska Regional Hospital, and Walmart provided enough supplies to stock 100 comfort kits. Donated items include:

  • Ace bandages
  • Disposable plastic gloves
  • Gauze
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Hand warmers
  • Travel-sized shampoo
  • Bar soap
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothbrush cap
  • Small toothpaste
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • SPF 30 sunscreen
  • Comb
  • Pack of tissues
  • Women’s personal hygiene items
  • Washcloth
  • Bath towel
  • Poncho

About VA Stand Down

The VA Stand Down event will take place on Friday, October 19 from 8:30 am – 2:00 pm at the North Terminal of the Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage.

  • Doors will open for registration at 8:30 am. Registrants must bring a DD214, VA Card or Military ID.
  • The opening ceremony will take place at 11:00 am.
  • There will be free continental breakfast, coffee, and lunch available. Lunch will be served from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm.
  • Registrants will be able to visit with over 50 service providers, including a community of care not limited to medical, legal, housing, employment and veterinary services.

Event Transportation Options

Princess Cruises will be offering free shuttles at the following locations:

  • Northway Mall to North Terminal: Pick-ups begin at 8:00am and will continue on the hour and will return back to mall on the half hour. The last pick up will be at 1:00 pm.
  • VA Domiciliary (3001 C Street) to North Terminal: Pick-ups will begin at 8:30 am and will continue on the half hour, with returns back to Domiciliary on the hour. The last pick-up will take place at 12:30 pm.

The Municipality of Anchorage is also providing free bus rides for veterans on the People Mover all day with a valid veteran’s ID. Bus number 40 serves the North Terminal of the airport.

About Red Cross of Alaska Services to the Armed Forces (SAF)

The SAF program dates back to the establishment of the American Red Cross by Clara Barton in May 1881. Not only did the “Angel of the Battlefield” risk her life tending to soldiers wounded in the Civil War, she bolstered their morale by writing letters for them to send to their families. Today’s American Red

Cross workers proudly carry on this tradition through the SAF program, which serves as a critical line of communication between the U.S Armed Forces and their families.

The Red Cross of Alaska has SAF offices located on Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson, Ft. Wainwright, Bassett Army Hospital, Eielson Air Force Base, and Fort Greely, and is staffed by Red Cross employees and volunteers. However, SAF is available to assist service members, veterans and military families in every corner of Alaska, including all National Guard, Reserve and Coast Guard installations.

From July 2017 to June 2018, the Red Cross of Alaska:

  • Taught 157 people to through Resiliency Workshops, which are designed to help families reconnect or work through the challenges and demands of military life.
  • Made 3,803 SAF contacts, including emergency messages & urgent news delivered to service members and families during emergencies, including births, deaths, serious illness and injury to immediate family members. In the event that a service member needs emergency communication services, the Red Cross has volunteer caseworkers who are trained to intake, verify and deliver these messages.
  • Briefed 11,894 individuals through the SAF ‘Get to Know Us’ program. These briefings are provided at local events both on and off military installations.

 

Home Fires: How Two Simple Steps Could Save Your Life

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On average, seven people die every day across the nation from home fires, which take more lives each year than all other natural disasters combined in the U.S., according to the National Fire Protection Association. In the last year alone, the Red Cross of Alaska responded to over 300 disasters across our state, and the vast majority of those disasters were home fires.

Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half. That’s why the Red Cross of Alaska is working with community partners to install free smoke alarms, help families create home fire escape plans, and provide public fire prevention and safety resources through its Home Fire Campaign, a nationwide effort to reduce fire-related deaths and injuries. Since the campaign began in October 2014, it’s reached more than 1.6 million people and is credited with saving 472 lives nationwide. In Alaska, volunteers and community partners have installed more than 5,000 free smoke alarms in homes across the state in the last two years.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO

Experts say that today’s home fires burn faster than ever, leaving people with only as little as two minutes to escape a burning residence. But many mistakenly believe they have more time, according to a Red Cross survey last year. That’s why the Red Cross of Alaska urges everyone to take these lifesaving steps:

  • Develop a fire escape plan with everyone in your household and practice it at least twice a year. Need help with your plan? Use these free Home Fire Campaign resources.
  • Install smoke alarms in your home, on every level and outside each sleeping area. Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year if required.
  • Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what they should do if they hear one.
  • Make sure all household members know two ways to escape from every room.
  • Establish a family meeting spot outside.

Please contact your local Red Cross of Alaska office for more information or to sign up to have smoke alarms installed in your home, free of charge. Being prepared in the event of a home fire is easier than it sounds!

Red Cross of Alaska Staff Member Celia Jackson Graduates from FEMA’s National Emergency Management Advanced Academy

Celia Jackson - FEMA Graduation
Emmitsburg, MD, September 28, 2018 – FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI) graduated Celia Jackson of the American Red Cross of Alaska, who completed all requirements of the National Emergency Management Advanced Academy. Chris Logan, Director, National Training and Education Division, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, is shown congratulating Jackson as she graduates.                                     Photo by Shane Gibbon / FEMA

Anchorage, AK – Celia Jackson, Senior Disaster Program Manager for the American Red Cross of Alaska, graduated from FEMA’s National Emergency Management Advanced Academy (NEMAA) at the Emergency Management Institute in Emmitsburg, MD, after she completed the full curriculum that provides the strategic level training and education and the essential skills needed for emergency management professionals to manage dynamic and resilient emergency management programs on September 28, 2018.

Jackson completed four, one-week resident courses in the Advanced Academy including: A Survey of Advanced Concepts in Emergency Management, Assessment and Application of Professional Style in Emergency Management, Advanced Concepts and Issues in the Emergency Management Organization and Advanced Concepts and Issues in the Emergency Management Community and Profession.

FEMA’s National Emergency Management Advanced Academy reinforces the qualities needed to manage emergency management programs, provides relevant management theories and concepts, and utilizes appropriate case studies. Advanced Academy participants work within a collaborative environment on projects and establish a network of their peers. The Academy is designed for Emergency Management mid-level managers wanting to advance their skillset. Students learn skills critical to performing emergency management responsibilities, such as: program management and oversight, effective communication at all levels, integrated collaboration, and strategic thinking, along with completing a NEMAA Paper one month prior to attending the final course. The Advanced Academy provides students the opportunity to demonstrate their critical thinking ability through a guided research project. Students apply the key learning concepts from the Advanced Academy curriculum relative to their own skillsets and abilities within their organizations, and their own performance environments.

For more information on FEMA’s training classes through the Basic, Advanced, and Executive Academies, or other emergency management courses, please visit:   http://training.fema.gov/empp/

 

Red Cross installs 60 smoke alarms in homes in Wales

Last week, the Red Cross of Alaska’s Far North and Interior District Disaster Program Manager Shayne Jones visited Wales, Alaska to meet with community leaders and elders, and to install smoke alarms, free of charge, in homes in the community.

Jones teamed up with Norton Sound Health Corporation to conduct home fire safety and preparedness assessments, and the team was able to successfully survey the homes of numerous village elders and install 60 free smoke alarms as part of the American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign.

Among other outreach activities on his visit to the westernmost community on mainland North America, Jones was able to join forces with the Native Village of Wales IRA Council to plan for youth preparedness presentations as part of The Pillowcase Project , which will take place later this year. The Wales School, which is part of the Bering Strait School District, was also assessed as a shelter, should a disaster occur in the area. And lastly, on the evening of August 28, Jones was able to have in-depth conversations with several elders and leaders in the community, where they discussed the changing environment and challenges that these changes bring to a subsistence economy and way of life. The village of Wales – whose residents traditionally speak the Inupiaq language – is one of the oldest communities in the Bering Strait region. Many elders expressed their concerns over the changing quality of wild game and the shrinking whale presence in the area.

Jones and community leaders discussed the feasibility of a continuing partnership in the years to come. The Red Cross of Alaska is looking forward to working closely with community members in Wales in the future, to ensure that they have the resources, information and support they need to be prepared for disasters, big and small.

The Red Cross of Alaska would like to thank the Norton Sound Health Corporation and the Native Village of Wales IRA Council for making this community outreach visit possible.

 

Photo credit: Shayne Jones/American Red Cross

Sound the Alarm: six days installing smoke alarms along the Kuskokwim River

The American Red Cross of Alaska, The Kuskokwim Corporation, and Donlin Gold joined forces recently to distribute smoke alarms throughout villages along the middle region of the Kuskokwim River.

The effort was part of Sound the Alarm, an initiative within the the Red Cross’s nationwide Home Fire Campaign that aims to install free smoke alarms and provide home fire safety education to at-risk communities.

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From left: Red Cross volunteer Suzanne Eldridge, Donlin Gold intern Patrick Hale II, and Megan Leary of The Kuskokwim Corporation distribute smoke alarms in Lower Kalskag.

The installation team traveled in all sorts of weather to deliver the alarms, from rainstorms to rainbows, and in all sorts of vehicles, from boats to Kubotas.

The results were fantastic. “We installed 480 smoke alarms, from Stony River down to Lower Kalskag,” said Suzanne Eldridge, a Red Cross volunteer.

The six-day trip began with a six-hour journey up the Kuskokwim, from Aniak to Stony River. After a night spent in the local school and a hearty breakfast, the team was ready to begin their work.

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American Red Cross of Alaska volunteer Suzanne Eldridge installs a smoke alarm in Stony River.

Over the next four days, the team made their way back downriver, stopping in villages including Sleetmute, Crooked Creek, Chuathbaluk, and Upper and Lower Kalskag.

With each stop, the team’s stacks of smoke alarms became smaller and homes along the Kuskokwim grew safer.

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Donlin Gold intern Patrick Hale II of Hooper Bay carries boxes of smoke alarms.

According to Celia Jackson, Red Cross of Alaska Senior Disaster Program Manager, the smoke alarm installation process is quite simple.

“It’s a really easy process…you just put the plate on [the ceiling] with two screws and then you click the smoke alarm into place,” she said, adding that these alarms will last for ten years without the need for battery replacement.

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One of the smallest residents of Lower Kalskag investigates a box of smoke alarms.

In addition to installing alarms, team members spoke to families about having an emergency escape plan in place.

On average, seven people in the United States are killed in home fires everyday and another 36 are injured. Nationwide, the American Red Cross responds to almost 64,000 disasters each year, the vast majority of which are home fires.

The Home Fire Campaign works reduce these numbers. In the last year, the Red Cross of Alaska has worked with partners and volunteers to install 2,309 smoke alarms in 707 households statewide through efforts like this one along the Kuskokwim River.

If you would like to partner with the Red Cross of Alaska to install smoke alarms in your community, or if you are interested in having a smoke alarm installed in your home free of charge, please visit redcross.org/alaska or call your local Red Cross of Alaska office.

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Thank you to Donlin Gold and The Kuskokwim Corporation for making this outreach possible!

Two apartment fires in Anchorage this weekend- thank you for your support

Dear Red Cross of Alaska supporter,

Shelter SignageI wanted to provide an update on the two large fires Red Cross of Alaska volunteers responded to in Anchorage over the weekend. We assisted a total of 30 people in less than 48 hours and opened one shelter:

In the late evening hours of Saturday, August 11, the American Red Cross of Alaska was contacted by the Anchorage Fire Department and responded to a multi-unit home fire on Reka Street in Anchorage. The fire affected 22 units.

The Red Cross of Alaska emergency response vehicle was on scene to provide support. Red Cross volunteers also opened a common room to provide affected residents with a safe location, out of the rain, while a shelter was being prepared at the Fairview Recreation Center in Anchorage. In the on-scene common room, affected residents were provided water, restroom services and a safe and dry place to rest while the situation developed.

After local officials cleared the units for re-entry, Red Cross caseworkers escorted residents back into their homes to collect valuables and other essential items before they were relocated by the Red Cross to the overnight shelter at the Fairview Recreation Center. A total of 20 individuals checked into the shelter, and 12 stayed overnight. A total of ten Red Cross of Alaska volunteers responded and remained at the shelter overnight and on Sunday to provide blankets, cots, comfort kits, meals, snacks and emotional support to those affected.

Volunteers doing casework - Fairview Rec CenterTwo canine teams from National Crisis Response Canines, as well as Red Cross disaster mental health volunteers, volunteer interpreters and two chaplains from the Alaska Police and Fire Chaplains’ Ministries were also at the shelter Sunday morning to provide comfort and support to affected residents and their families.

The Red Cross of Alaska shelter closed Sunday afternoon as most residents were able to safely move back into their units. The Red Cross of Alaska opened for case assistance at 10:00 this morning at the chapter office on 235 E. 8th Ave, Suite 200, Anchorage, AK 99501 to provide additional assistance to residents displaced by the fire.

Just as the Fairview Rec Center shelter wrapped, volunteers received a second call Sunday night. There was another multiunit fire, this time near Midtown, at the intersection of Tudor and Cordova. Five Red Cross volunteers responded, immediately providing blankets, comfort kits and snacks to the families, as well as financial assistance for lodging.

Thank you to volunteers Dave, Armando, Suzanne, Sonja, Marina, Bruce, Taryn, Susan, Rolf and James for responding and providing comfort and care.

And last but most definitely not least, I would like to thank you.

This morning, I watched residents from the fires stream in and out of the office to receive additional Red Cross assistance. Young kids played patiently while their parents spoke with their caseworkers. I could hear volunteers discussing what will happen next and giving advice on how to move forward. I caught a glimpse of volunteer team captain, Suzanne as she offered one more hug to a group of young adults as they left the office. They looked tired but relieved as they hugged Suzanne goodbye.

All of this was made possible through your generous support.

On behalf of all the people we’re helping, thank you!

We need your support to continue addressing the urgent needs of people devastated by disasters here in Alaska. Families with nowhere to turn rely on compassionate individuals for relief and hope. Can they count on you today?

To donate to disaster relief in Alaska, please contact me at 907-646-5401, or visit https://www.redcross.org/donate/donation.html/ to support your local Alaska chapter.

Thank you,

Lisa Miller

Regional Chief Development Officer

American Red cross of Alaska

Red Cross of Alaska Community Outreach in Kotzebue, Kiana and Noatak

Jacob and Shayne in Kiana

Shayne Jones, disaster program manager, and Jacob Walker, disaster program specialist for the American Red Cross of Alaska, traveled to Kotzebue, Kiana, and Noatak on July 12-13, 2018 to meet with leaders within each community, install free smoke alarms in local residences, and teach Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) shelter training.

On July 12 in Kotzebue, Jones and Walker met with Chris Hatch, village public safety officer (VPSO), to discuss The Pillowcase Project training opportunities so that in the future, project presentations can be given in local schools by a VPSO. The Pillowcase Project is a national program offered in schools, after-school programs, summer camps, and in other youth education facilities to teach 3rd – 5th grade students and their families how to prepare for disasters. Hatch also expressed interest in facilitating participation by the VPSO program in the American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, so that VPSOs can help install smoke alarms in their respective communities in the future.

On July 12, Jones and Walker flew to Noatak to teach FEMA shelter training. There were eleven participants in the training, all affiliated with the local government. Following the training, participants updated their Small Community Emergency Response Plan (SCERP) to incorporate the Red Cross of Alaska in their sheltering protocol.

On July 13, Jones and Walker traveled to Kiana and met with the local VPSO, Justin Lantier Novelli. While in Kiana, they taught FEMA shelter training, as well as general preparedness training. Following the training, they installed 50 smoke alarms with the help of the VPSO and spoke to several residents about their preparedness plans in the event of a disaster.

Future meetings with these communities are planned for after the start of the 2018-2019 school year, so that school administrators can be included in these crucial conversations.

The Red Cross of Alaska serving the Far North and Interior would like to thank Clara Jones, Dicky Moto and Elizabeth Ferguson of the Northwest Arctic Borough and the Arctic Slope Community Foundation for making these valuable opportunities possible.

Northwest Arctic Borough Logo

Arctic Slope Community Foundation Logo

 

Red Cross of Alaska Announces New Board Chair

John Moore

John Moore, ExxonMobil Alaska’s Senior Advisor for Public and Government Affairs, elected as 2018 Board Chair for the American Red Cross of Alaska

The American Red Cross of Alaska announced this month that John Moore, ExxonMobil Alaska’s Senior Advisor for Public and Government Affairs, was elected as the 2018 Board Chair for the American Red Cross of Alaska. He was preceded by Josh Howes, President of Premier Alaska Tours, who completed his tenure as 2017 Board Chair on June 30, 2018.

Moore joined the Board for the Red Cross of Alaska in late 2016, and was appointed Chair-Elect soon after. His term as Board Chair will run from July 1, 2018 through July 1, 2019. “I’ve always loved the Red Cross and the work that they do,” Moore said. “Every day Red Cross staff and volunteers are serving Alaskans, and I am both humbled and appreciative of the opportunity to serve and support the Red Cross mission.”

Throughout his work in government and then the humanitarian and develop sectors, Moore has worked in Nepal, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq, among other locations. For the past ten years, Moore has helped to manage ExxonMobil’s social investment and community relations, first in Iraq and then in Papua New Guinea. Now based in Anchorage, Moore helps design and oversee ExxonMobil’s social investment and community relations efforts around the state. “Alaska is a place I dreamed about as a boy back in Virginia, and I’m thrilled to be here,” he said.

Moore’s skillsets in leadership and community relations will be an asset to the Red Cross as it strives to fulfill its mission to alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies. In 2018, Moore is joined by Chair-Elect Buddy Custard, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Alaska Maritime Prevention and Response Network, and Board Secretary Joseph Gerace, proprietor of Dimond Chevron.

About the American Red Cross of Alaska:
The American Red Cross of Alaska offers food, shelter, comfort and hope to Alaskans when disasters strike. The Red Cross of Alaska is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers to perform its mission. We are not a government agency, and we rely primarily on the generosity of our fellow Alaskans and businesses to help us fund our vital programs. For more information, please visit redcross.org/Alaska or follow us on Twitter at @redcrossak.

Sound the Alarm. Save a Life. Spring Recap

Joe Gerace installing alarm use for Crossroads newsletter photo

Every year, the American Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters – the vast majority of which are home fires. And tragically, seven people die in home fires each day, most in homes that lack working smoke alarms.

There were 15 civilian fatalities due to residential structure fires in Alaska in 2016, according to the report Fire In Alaska by the State of Alaska Department of Public Safety Division of Fire and Life Safety. Of the fires that killed 15 civilians in 2016, only three of the 12 homes had working smoke alarms.

This past spring, the American Red Cross of Alaska took part in  Sound the Alarm, the nationwide Red Cross effort to help reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by home fires. The goal was to install 100,000 smoke alarms in 100 cities across the U.S.

The Red Cross of Alaska exceeded its goal of 850 smoke alarms, installing 888 smoke alarms in communities across the state at no cost to residents. Red Cross volunteers and local partners canvased neighborhoods, installed free 10-year lithium battery smoke alarms, replace batteries in existing alarms and help families create fire escape plans.

Cari with familySpring events took place in Alaska in the Far North and Interior, Southcentral, Mat-Su, Kodiak and the Southeast.

There’s still time for you to help Sound the Alarm. Save a Life:

How to Help:

Volunteer

To learn more about how you can volunteer, visit http://www.redcross.org/local/alaska/volunteer or call the Red Cross at 907-646-5401.

Donate

$15 provides one smoke alarm, installation and fire safety training. Donate to support our effort here.

Discuss home fire safety with your family

Download our Fire Prevention & Safety Checklist here and discuss with your family today.

Please join this important effort. Together, we can Sound the Alarm about fire safety and help save lives.

Thank you to our Sound the Alarm Alaska sponsors:

Alaska Airlines Logo

Arctic Slope Community Foundation LogoDonlin Gold Logo

Elks USA Logo - Small

Joanna L. Moss 

 

Kinross Fort Knox Logo - Small

Kuskokwim Corporation Logo

Matson Logo - Small

Midnight Sun Brewing Co Logo - Small

Ravn Alaska Logo - Small

 

Visit Anchorage Logo - Small

 

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View the full photo album from our Sound the Alarm events here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/127553077@N04/albums/72157669400231548/with/28479617008/

 

Real Heroes Breakfast 2018 Recap

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Each year the Red Cross of Alaska Real Heroes Breakfast, sponsored by ConocoPhillips, shines a spotlight on everyday Alaskans who have committed extraordinary, selfless acts of bravery.
They have saved lives, changed their communities for the better and made a difference.
Like the Red Cross, they have taken it upon themselves to prevent and alleviate suffering for those in need.
In April we celebrated those moments where hope prevailed, compassion triumphed and ordinary citizens have acted, with resolve, often without regard to their own safety, to help a fellow Alaskan.
Below are the ten award categories from the 2018 breakfast, the videos that aired at the event, the generous sponsor for each award and the name of the individuals honored:

Marine Rescue:

Hero: Captain Christian Trosvig
Sponsored by: Dowland-Bach
In July 2017, Captain Christian Trosvig and his crew of three were returning after an afternoon salmon fishing in the Kupreanof Straight off the coast of Alaska’s Raspberry Island. Their vessel, the Grayling began to take on water. After making a distress call, the Grayling rolled, throwing Trosvig and the three fishermen overboard. All but one fisherman made it out of the water safely. Trosvig dove back into 40-degree water and swam through rough conditions to rescue the unconscious crewman. Once onboard the rescue boat, Trosvig performed CPR and revived the fisherman. Thanks to Trosvig’s heroic efforts, all four fishermen survived the incident.

Transportation Safety:

Sponsored by: BP Alaska
The Anchorage Police department stepped up to fill a policing void on the heavily traveled Seward Highway—an area where an average of 10,000 vehicles travel each day. In October 2017, APD began patrolling mile 75 to 112 of the Seward Highway thanks to a legislative grant. APD, with the help of other community members, solved an ongoing transportation safety concern that will undoubtedly lead to lives saved.

Wilderness Rescue:

Hero: Obadiah Jenkins
Obadiah Jenkins had just finished his pre-race run in preparation for the Six Mile Creek Whitewater & Bluegrass Festival in August of 2017 when he heard a cry for help from a spectator. There was a man nearby who’s kayak flipped and was dumped out, and he was pinned partially under water. After several rescue attempts by a crew of kayakers, the man lost consciousness and was fully submerged under water. Risking his own safety, Jenkins jumped in and pulled the man out of harms way. The man was resuscitated and taken to a hospital where he was quickly released, thanks to Jenkins’ act of bravery.

Military/Law Enforcement Rescue:

Hero: Chaplain Brian Phipps
Sponsored by: Walmart Eagle River
According to his peers, Chaplain Brian Phipps displays character, integrity, and dedication to the chaplaincy that is above reproach. He single-handedly coordinated, planned, and executed three memorial services, a funeral, and family support for three deceased Paratroopers within the Spartan Brigade over the second half of 2017. Chaplain Phipps is also the primary Brigade instructor for Suicide Awareness training, among a host of other classes that he provides in support of Soldier resiliency within the Spartan Brigade. Through all of this, in such a condensed amount of time, he persisted with a great attitude, and accomplished what was most definitely an overwhelming set of tasks.

Alaska/Slope Safety:

Heroes: The Southeast Alaska Dogs Organized for Ground Search (SEADOGS)
Sponsored by: ExxonMobil Alaska
The Southeast Alaska Dogs Organized for Ground Search (SEADOGS) is a volunteer nonprofit search and rescue organization dedicated to training and handling search dogs in Southeast Alaska. Dogs can be certified in several different skills, including finding human remains, avalanche search, and rescue and water training. Certified handlers are on 24-hour call, and available within 40 minutes or less of notification for a search. Every year SEADOGS participates in searches involving everything from lost hunters to suicide victims.

Youth Good Samaritan:

Heroes: Losefa Riley John and Seth Gerrin
Fourteen-year-old Losefa Riley John and three of his friends were at Cope Park in March 2017, when they witnessed a young boy lose his footing while hiking, and fall into Gold Creek. The waters were running fast and the boy became stuck between a fence and a tree, in an area where the water can get up to eight feet deep. John quickly slid down the side of the cliff to the boy, pulled him out of the water, and carried him to safety where paramedics were just arriving on the scene. Thanks to John’s act of bravery, the young boy only suffered minor bumps and bruises that day.

Adult Good Samaritan:

Hero: Andrew Cunningham
Andrew Cunningham took off across Eklutna Lake via standup paddleboard in September 2017, his destination a public use cabin more than three miles down the lake. When he noticed an overturned tandem kayak, he paddled closer to find a second tandem kayak overturned, and two struggling in the cold water. The two individuals held on to the paddle board while Cunningham fought choppy waves for an hour trip back to shore. Cunningham listened to his gut when he saw the abandoned kayak and ended up saving two lives that day.

Medical Rescue:

Hero: Nenana Fire Chief Joe Forness
When Nenana Fire Chief Joe Forness began experiencing chest pains, his wife, Larenda Forness, a Nenana Fire Lieutenant, called an ambulance. On his way to the hospital, his chest pain slowed. When the ambulance came across a collision between a snow machine and vehicle with someone in critical condition, Forness did what he does best. He put his own health risks to the side and began helping the collision victim. After getting the victim to the hospital and handing off to the ER team, Forness felt the chest pain return. After assisting the collision victim, Forness was airlifted to Anchorage, where he underwent quintuple coronary artery bypass surgery.

Workplace Safety:

Heroes: Kimberly Dang, Breanna Love and Larry Davis
Sponsored by: ConocoPhillips
Kimberly Dang, Breanna Love and Larry Davis were three key responders on July 22, when a ConocoPhillips employee experienced a sudden and extreme cardiac event just after 4 a.m. in Kuparuk. Through the team’s immediate and sustained efforts, their co-worker presented with return of spontaneous circulation and was successfully transported to the onsite medical clinic. Their co-worker was then successfully stabilized and medevac’d from the remote North Slope facility to higher level care and ultimately returned home safely to friends and family. Nationwide, similar events average single digit survival rates.

Fire Rescue:

Hero: Andrew Engelking
Andrew Engelking and his family lived in unit 303 at the Royal Suite Apartments, not far from where the flames started on the morning of February 15, 2017 when the building caught fire. With his family’s lives on the line, Engelking’s adrenaline kicked in. After jumping three stories to the ground and breaking his own leg, Engelking proceeded to catch his children and pregnant wife. His new daughter, Liberty, was delivered prematurely by emergency cesarean section the day of the fire. Thanks to his quick actions and heroic efforts, he and his family are safe and well.
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