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NANA Development Corp Outfits NANA Region With Life Vests


Project a Memorial to Former NDC Vice Chairman Lester Tuŋŋaq Hadley, Sr.

(ANCHORAGE, AK –September 15, 2010) Shareholders living in the NANA region are surrounded by water: the Chukchi Sea, the Kotzebue Sound, and the Noatak, Kobuk, Selawik and Buckland Rivers.  The NANA shareholders who live in the 11 villages subsist along the local waters year round.  

According to the Alaska Office of Boating Safety, Alaska has one of the highest non-commercial boating fatality rates in the nation, with drowning the second leading cause of accidental death. And accident statistics reveal that three out of four boating fatalities are the result of capsizing or falling overboard when the boater was not wearing a life vest.

This is why former NANA Development Corporation Vice Chairman Lester Tuŋŋaq Hadley, Sr. suggested in a NANA Development Corporation board meeting – before his unexpected passing in June – to purchase and contribute life vests for all NANA shareholders living in the NANA region.  This week, each household in the NANA region is receiving four life vests – two adult sizes and two youth sizes – compliments of NANA Development Corporation in memory and honor of Lester Hadley Sr.

“Like all of us, Lester understood that boats are an important means of transportation in our region and are used to support our subsistence lifestyle. We know Lester’s request will make a difference and save lives,” said Luke Sampson, chairman of NANA Development Corporation. “It is comforting that Lester’s concern and power to positively impact the NANA region, even after his passing, lingers.”

Approximately 5,000 life vests are being distributed to about 1,200 homes in the 11 villages within the NANA region. Safety whistles have been attached to each of the vests.  NANA Development Corporation has worked closely with the resource technicians in each village to determine appropriate numbers of vests and coordinate the deliveries.

“This is an extremely worthwhile expense and coordination of efforts,” adds Helvi Sandvik, president of NANA Development Corporation.  “It’s now a community effort to raise the awareness of this important safety message. We look to the adults in the villages to lead by example and teach family members the proper use of wearing these safety devices – especially the children whenever they are in or just nearby the water,”

NANA Development Corporation is the global business arm of NANA Regional Corporation, Inc., one of Alaska’s 13 Regional Native Corporations. NANA is owned by more than 12,000 mostly Iñupiat shareholders.
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