Donald Auliye knows how to think fast during times of crisis. The Shaktoolik teen has been selected as a 2014 Spirit of Youth award recipient in the category of Lifesaver & Prevention for his bravery and quick response during ocean emergencies.
Auliye is an experienced fisherman. On two occasions the 18-year-old has responded to distress calls from other boats, once instructing the passengers to put on life vests before their vessel capsized where he later pulled them to shore.
“I went into the water and grabbed them both, pulled them up onto the beach, put them by the fire, warmed them up and brought them home,” Auliye said in a recent interview. “Fishermen, we look out for each other here.”
During a huge storm last fall, the village went into emergency mode.
Steve Sammons, principal at Shaktoolik School, said Auliye played a big part in the safety efforts.
“He stayed up late and helped watch both the ocean and the riverside that almost flooded the village,” Sammons said in a Spirit of Youth radio story. “He was bringing elders to the school and helping families with their personal belongings.”
Auliye will be honored with the other winners at the Spirit of Youth Awards Dinner Saturday, April 5, at 6 p.m. at the Anchorage Marriott Downtown. He was chosen from more than 150 statewide nominations by the Spirit of Youth Teen Advisory Council.
Learn more about Auliye's story here.
Tickets for the award banquet can be purchased at spiritofyouth.org.