U.S. Coast Guard honored

NVE hosts community appreciation luncheon for Cordova’s Coast Guard

Cordova’s U.S. Coast Guard personnel and their families were the guests of honor Oct. 14 at a community-wide appreciation luncheon hosted by the Native Village of Eyak.

“NVE hosted the luncheon to say thank you to the Coast Guard for their service and contributions to the local community,” said Sarah Kathrein, NVE’s Tribal Justice System administrator and court clerk, who spearheaded the event.

The honored guests at the Little Chapel included men and women stationed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore, and others serving at the Coast Guard Air Station/Forward Operating Location at Mile 13.

“Everyone chipped in, it really is a team effort,” Kathrein said, of the NVE staff. “We all wanted to celebrate the Coast Guard!”

Chris Belgarde, known community-wide for her culinary skills, cooked up a feast for the festivities, including local-caught wild Alaska salmon, prawns and other homemade dishes and delicacies.

Kathrein said NVE had planned to feed about 125 people at the event, which was open to the public. Local businesses donated various items to be raffled off as door prizes for the Coast Guard folks attending the luncheon.


NVE Tribal Council President Darrel Olsen, as emcee for the affair, praised the Coast Guard’s service to residents of Cordova and Prince William Sound.

NVE also hosted an appreciation lunch banquet two years ago. Kathrein said they’re now planning on making it an annual celebration.

“The whole event was intended to be light and fun,” she said.

Belen Cook and Sarah Kathrein of NVE draw USCG winners for the door prizes. Photo by Joe Hamm/For The Cordova Times
Belen Cook and Sarah Kathrein of NVE draw USCG winners for the door prizes. Photo by Joe Hamm/For The Cordova Times

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore is a seagoing buoy tender, home-ported in Cordova.

The cutter’s crew tends aids-to-navigation (ATON) buoys and is also responsible for maintenance support of National Data Buoy Center’s offshore weather buoys. In addition to their primary ATON role, the Sycamore crew also performs other duties including marine environmental protection, maritime law enforcement, icebreaking and search and rescue.

The Coast Guard Air Station/Forward Operating Location-Cordova, consists of a Kodiak-based MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, with supporting air, ground and communications crews. The Cordova air station increases the Coast Guard’s readiness and allows for faster responses to emergencies in the Gulf of Alaska and Prince William Sound.

NVE expressed its thanks to local businesses and community members who contributed to the success of the Coast Guard Appreciation Luncheon: Alaska Commercial Company, ACE Hardware, Alaska Airlines, Bidarki Recreation Center, Brittany Ryan, Bushwings Air Service, Copper River Fleece, Copper Valley Wireless, Cordova Drug Company, Cordova Gear, Dr. Terry Bartley, Harborside Pizza, How Brewed, the Ilanka Cultural Center, The Little Cordova Bakery, Anchor Auto and Marine (NAPA), Nichols’ Back Door Store, Pete’s Treats, Peterson Welding, the Powder House, Seafood Sales, Seaman’s Hardware, The Net Loft and XOAK.

“A huge shout-out to the Little Chapel for allowing us to host the event there, to Chris Belgarde for cooking, and to so many of the awesome businesses in the community for donating to the event,” Kathrein said.

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Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson
Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson is a staff writer and photographer for The Cordova Times. She has been writing in one form or another for 30-plus years and has had a longstanding relationship with The Cordova Times starting in 1989. She's been an Alaskan since 1976 and first moved to Cordova in 1978. She's lived in various West Texas towns; in Denver, Colorado; in McGrath, Cordova, Galena, Kodiak, Wasilla, Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska and in Bangalore, India. She has two children and three grandchildren. She can be reached at [email protected] or follow her on Instagram @alaskatoindia.