Longtime volunteer Atchak recognized with award

by Mark Arehart on March 29, 2013

Peter Atchak and DMVA Commissioner Katkus pose with Atchak's award.

Peter Atchak and DMVA Commissioner Katkus pose with Atchak’s award.

The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs honored longtime river watch and search and rescue volunteer, Peter Atchak, at a recent Bethel ceremony. Atchak has retired after a decade of service.

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Peter Atchak, of Bethel, volunteered every spring as part of the National Weather Service and DMVA’s river watch program.

And year after year, Peter flew the river with hydrologists from the weather service monitoring breakup along the Kuskokwim, helping villages prepare for potential flooding.

“Peter’s knowledge of the conditions in various locations of the river and translation of river conditions into Yup’ik has improved mapping and radio communications between the river watch team and communities along the Kuskokwim River,” said DMVA Commissioner Thomas Katkus.

He presented Atchak with the Alaska Commendation Medal for his service “for his dedicated service to the state of Alaska and his efforts as team member of the river watch program from 2002 to 2012.”

Atchak received a plaque along with his medal, as well as a pair of brand new binoculars from the National Weather Service team to always keep his eyes on the horizon.

“Quyana. In one word, quyana,” Atchak said.

He said he’s humbled by this award and the chance to work with all the villages along the Kuskokwim over the years.

“I give that quyana right back to the people who presented me with this. They are a big part of our life out here, now. They are in charge of making sure that programs like this continue, along with cooperation with the troopers and our search and rescue group. So we do thank them right back.”

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