Today, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy honored an Alaska resident and two State Troopers for their part in saving the lives of two boys, in separate incidents, one near the dipnetting beach at Kenai and the other on the Iditarod Sled Dog Trail at Skwentna.
“Two boys were able to go home to their families because of the swift actions taken by these three Alaskans,” said Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy. “Their quick thinking, their bravery, and their earnest effort reminds us all of the good in Alaskans.”
On July 29, at 11 pm, on the North Beach during the Kenai River dipnet fishery, Alaska Wildlife Trooper Laura Reid noticed a 12-year-old boy being swept down the Kenai River toward the ocean. Reid ran into the water to the child whose waders were causing him to sink. Trooper Reid secured the child, but she could not walk out of the strong river current with him. Most of the dipnetters had their backs to the shore because the fishery had closed for the day, except dipnetter Antoine Aridou. He acted quickly pushing a long dipnet and pole into the water for the Trooper to grab hold of, helping her and the child to shore.
On March 9, at the Iditarod Sled Dog Race checkpoint on the Skwentna River, Alaska Wildlife Troopers Jason Knier and Trooper Dan Gunderson saw an eight-year-old boy fall into open water on the frozen river. The boy’s 10-year-old brother reached him first but began struggling to keep the boy from being pulled under in the river’s current. Wildlife Trooper Jason Knier, and Iditarod Volunteer Doug Ramsey, sprinted to the shouts for help. Ramsey helped the brother, and Trooper Knier pulled the younger boy from the river just as the current was tugging his legs under.
At the ceremony Wednesday, Governor Dunleavy presented Aridou with a Governor’s Commendation. Col. Doug Massie, the Wildlife Trooper Division Director, recognized Trooper Laura Reid and Trooper Jason Knier for their swift action with two life-saving awards. Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner James Cockrell also honored the award recipients.