Hoonah officers' funeral moves to larger venue

Posted: Friday, September 03, 2010

The overwhelming outpouring of support for the memorial service of slain Hoonah Police Officers Matthew Tokuoka and Anthony Wallace has resulted in an amazing accumulation of events.

"One of my Hoonah academy recruits was going to attend the service," said Hoonah Police Chief John Millan, who is on administrative leave due to involvement in the case. "Now the whole Sitka academy group is making arrangements to see the memorial service."

The site for the memorial service has changed. It will now be held at the Hoonah Junior/Senior High School's new gymnasium, 366 Garteeni Highway, at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, a press release from the Alaska State Troopers states. A procession will start at 2 p.m. starting at the ferry terminal in Hoonah and end at the school. The service is expected to last up to two hours.

Speakers will include Gov. Sean Parnell, friends of the officers and family members. A reception will follow the service.

The Alaska Marine Highway System has substituted the ferry Malaspina for the LeConte, which will allow an additional 200 people, at least, to travel to Hoonah for Wednesday's memorial service, said AMHS communications director Roger Wetherell. The Malaspina will begin the trip in Skagway and stop in Haines on the way to Juneau. The Malaspina will leave Auke Bay at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday and arrive in Hoonah at 1:45 p.m. it will make the return trip from Hoonah at 6 p.m., arriving Auke Bay at 9 p.m.

"People who are taking vehicles must check in two hours in advance and reservations are required," Wetherell said. "We are suggesting that people who drive out to Auke Bay carpool due to limited parking. We are not charging people a fare to take the Malaspina. We are doing it as a humanitarian gesture on the part of the state of Alaska to honor those police officers who died in the line of duty and their families."

Interested passengers can make reservations at ferryalaska.com or call the central reservation phone number, (800) 642-0066, or stop into any AMHS facility.

Juneau resident Carolyn Noe, the founder of Yees Ku Oo Dance Group, who was raised in Hoonah, has reserved a catamaran for the Hoonah memorial.

"All my life I have seen that the Hoonah community has been there for each other," Noe said. "And I know that there are a lot of people in Southeast Alaska that are concerned with how to get there, so this will help. I have been with Lenny Gorsuch, one of the tour boat captains, on that."

Travelers to Hoonah can call Noe at 364-5250 to secure a round-trip seat for $40.

The memorial will also feature the first-ever visit to Alaska for the United States Honor Flag.

According to an Alaska Department of Public Safety press release, the flag was flown at Ground Zero during the recovery efforts following the 9/11 tragedy and has since traveled around the United States to honor fallen police officers and fire fighters. The flag will also honor U.S. Customs Agent Charles Collins, who went missing in flood waters July 13 on the Taylor Highway.

The flag will arrive in Alaska at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in recognition of the former U.S. senator who died in a plane crash last month. The flag will be transported to a state troopers' helicopter and flown to the Anchorage Park Strip, where another honor guard will march it to the Evergreen Memorial Chapel. There it will be placed between the remains of the slain officers. It will remain with the officers until after the memorial service in Hoonah, according to a press release from the state troopers.

The flag is tentatively set to be flown at the Capitol in Juneau before going to Hoonah, according to a press release from the Governor's office. The times are not confirmed

Contact Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at klas.stolpe@juneauempire.com.

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