Juneau citizens awarded for wilderness safety readiness

Posted: Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Juneau Mountain Rescue and the Alaska Peace Officers Association are recognizing six individuals for meritorious conduct in life threatening situations over the past year.

The awardees rescued or assisted other outdoor or backcountry users who without this assistance could have died or faced serious injury.

The Citizenship Awards will be presented at the Alaska Peace Offices Association concert fundraiser featuring Gary Lewis and the Playboys and the Crystals at 7 p.m. Thursday at Centennial Hall.

Juneau-Douglas High School students Jonathan Schirmer and Anthony Stewart helped to rescue and dig out an out-of-bounds skier after he was buried in an avalanche near Eaglecrest Ski Area. The duo (Schirmer on snowboard and Stewart on skis) were hiking above the East Bowl when they heard a man yell that his buddy was buried. Stewart recalls skiing down to get the ski patrol when he noticed a hand popping out from the avalanche debris. Schirmer had a shovel he used to dig out the man while Stewart and the victim's ski partner dug with their hands. The skier was not injured.

Theo Lexmond and Janette Cadieux were snowshoeing up the Dan Moller trail on the Mount Troy side when they saw a single snow machine below them idling. Lexmond noticed that something wasn't right and looked down and saw an arm waving with the rider pinned under the snow machine. The victim told them how to turn off the snow machine and told them to try and move the machine off of him. With the machine pointed down hill and not wanting to cause injury they instead used their snowshoes and hands to dig him out from under the machine. The subject thanked the couple and returned to his snow machine riding party.

Tristian Dyakanoff, 12, and friend Brandon Johnson, 11, rescued two children that had fallen through an icy pond off Mendenhall Boulevard near Snipe Court. The boys heard shrieks coming from the neighborhood duck pond across the street. They called the police. Then the boys successfully pulled Sarah and Zachary Monagle in from the freezing water with a rope. The children had been pulled from the pond by the time the emergency personnel arrived and were not injured.

JMR Citizen Awards acknowledge members of the public who come to the aid of accident victims while skiing, hiking, climbing or participating in other recreational activities in the Juneau area. The goal is to promote the importance of readiness for the unexpected in the sometimes unforgiving wilderness.

"The citizen awards are given to those who have made a difference," said Doug Wessen, JMR administrative director. "Each of this year's meritorious action award recipients took action that saved others. Without their awareness and ability to act quickly in an emergency those that they rescued would likely have died or faced serious injury. The members of Juneau Mountain Rescue recognize their actions with our mountain rescue motto, 'So that others may live.'"

Juneau Mountain Rescue is a volunteer nonprofit organization dedicated to mountain awareness, safety and outdoor survival skills. JMR strives for well-trained and qualified volunteers as a necessary component of the emergency response system for search and rescue activities, urban disasters, and the emergency notification system.

For more information, visit www.juneaumountainrescue.org or cal Doug Wessen at 586-4834.

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