Cordova becomes a Coast Guard City

Native Village of Eyak hosts its 4th annual appreciation lunch for the USCG

Lt. Cmdr. Collin Bronson discusses the importance of Cordova being a Coast Guard City. Photo by Jane Spencer/For the Cordova Times
Lt. Cmdr. Collin Bronson discusses the importance of Cordova being a Coast Guard City. Photo by Jane Spencer/For the Cordova Times

Cordova is now officially recognized as a Coast Guard City. The honor was announced Nov. 20 during Native Village of Eyak’s 4th annual Coast Guard Appreciation Luncheon.

There were fall decorations on the tables and a Thanksgiving style meal, with baskets of fry bread and white bread on each table. Diane Ujoka made cakes for dessert, including a red white and blue cake decorated like an American flag.

NVE Tribal Council Chairman Darrel Olsen greeted the crowd and Tribal Council Treasurer Pam Smith welcomed them in Eyak and gave a brief history of Eyak. The luncheon was a way of thanking the local Coast Guard members and showing appreciation for their service to Cordova.

The USCG families become a significant part of the community in Cordova. They typically move here for two-year assignments, and during that time their kids attend the schools, they support local businesses, and they become part of our town. In many other cities the Coast Guard families don’t make up such a large percentage of the total population, therefore in Cordova, their impact here is significant. And with Cordova being a fishing community, having the USCG here is a tremendous advantage for the safety of the fishing fleet.

“When a boat is sinking, or there’s an emergency, [the USCG] are the first people to come to everyone’s aid. This fishing community wouldn’t be as safe without them,” said Sarah Kathrein, NVE Tribal courts administrator. She was co-coordinator of the luncheon with Aniessa Hodges. 

“I can’t imagine every two years having to relocate, and restart your life and resituate yourself, so it’s just kind of a good way to let them know that they are welcome in the community, we’re happy to have them and also let them meet some faces,” Kathrien said. 


The luncheon’s raffle is for all active duty members, and the goal was to try to get enough donations so that all active duty men and women receive a prize. Local businesses donated 67 items, from miscellaneous items, both functional and ornamental, to local services, handmade trinkets and jars of smoked salmon.

“Cordova is now a Coast Guard City,” Lt. Cmdr. Collin Bronson said. “That is a big deal.”

Photo by Vivian Kennedy/The Cordova Times
Photo by Vivian Kennedy/The Cordova Times

The USCG received a key to the community of Cordova. In return, Cordova was named a Coast Guard City in September this year. Just 26 cities nationwide are recognized as Coast Guard Cities. Cordova joins the ranks of Kodiak, Sitka and Ketchikan as Alaska cities with the honor.

It’s an honor and recognition to Cordova and any community that “made special efforts to acknowledge the professional work of the Coast Guard men and women assigned to their area. Making Coast Guard men and women and their families feel at home in their home away from home is an invaluable contribution to morale and service excellence,” states the US Department of Homeland Security.

The nomination process, “actually went through Congress, unanimously approved, and everybody was happy to endorse that,” Bronson said. “And it’s because of things like this and outreach like this and appreciation like this, that the coast guard said: ‘We want to recognize Cordova for all that you do.’ So, it’s a big deal and thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

The appreciation is mutual added Kathrein.

“We just always want them to know, they are welcome, they are appreciated, and we are happy to have them here,” she said.