Nominated by fellow Shareholders and Descendants, the 2015 Shareholder Award recipients bring cultural values to life and we are proud to feature them as Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Regional leaders.
Culture Bearer: Earl Atchak (Chevak). Earl is a well-known artist and carver. Starting at age 15, he learned from local Elders and leaders the art of traditional carving. Earl gathers materials for his craft while he is out subsisting. His creations have been featured from Fairbanks to Los Angeles, California. Recently, Earl was commissioned to create a traditional war mask for Yulista Holding, LLC, a subsidiary of Calista that participates in federal defense contracting. Honoring the service members of today and long ago, the war mask incorporates both cultural and modern elements.
Axel C. Johnson Distinguished Shareholder: Levi Hoover (Kasigluk). Levi has spent more than 30 years teaching in Kasigluk. As an instructor he worked to include cultural teachings, while also stressing the importance of Western education. Levi lived the balance of a cultural and Western life as chairman for Kasigluk, Inc., the local village corporation.
Raymond C. Christiansen Community Service Award: Drew’s Foundation (Bethel). Drew’s Foundation was established by the O’Brien family after their son, brother and friend took his own life. The foundation is dedicated to help end this cycle of loss and pain for families and friends. Their efforts have included sponsoring suicide-awareness plays, a locally-produced video featuring dog mushing champions and role models Pete Kaiser and Mike Williams, Jr, and more.
Calista Elder of the Year: Peter J. Paul (Kipnuk). Peter is recognized for upholding cultural values and living by example. He has raised his concerns about substance abuse both in his community and around the YK Delta. Peter is also honored as a veteran of the National Guard.
Calista Youth/Educator of the Year: Ann Marie Tinker (Kasigluk). For a dozen years, Ann Marie has held various positions with the Lower Kuskokwim School District. No matter her role, Ann Marie is a dedicated, creative and culturally-aware teacher. Growing quickly from her initial job as a classroom aide, she went on to implement the Dual Language Enrichment Model at Akiuk Elementary School in Kasigluk. Ann Marie’s passion in this effort was recognized, and she has been asked to present both regionally and nationally.
Calista Business of the Year: Hound House (Aniak). Owned and operated by Aniak resident Esther Donhauser Diehl, the Hound House is known for their tasty pizzas. Beyond that, the Hound House is also respected for the dedication to their community. When able to, the owners will donate food for local events and fundraisers, from holiday events to student fundraisers. As an active member in the community, owner Esther has earned the respect of many in Aniak and beyond.
Each honoree received a plaque and financial award at the Annual Meeting.