Every year Doyon, Limited recognize a few shareholders as “Shareholder of the Year” at our Annual Meeting of Shareholders. In 2024, Doyon recognized Frank H. Turner, Steevie Erickson, and Bessie C. Titus, as outstanding shareholders who have demonstrated their devotion toward their people, displayed strong leadership, and shown significant commitment to the betterment of their communities.

Gin’tith Richard Frank Military Service Award – Frank H. Turner

Frank H. Turner is a 94-year-old Korean War Veteran, born on October 5, 1929, in Shageluk, Alaska on the Innoko River to his late parents, George H. Turner of London, England and Elia Dutchman of Shageluk. Frank was raised by his stepmother, the late Ester Workman of Shageluk after the death of his mother when he was three years old. One of thirteen children, Frank is the only living child. His late siblings are sisters, Daisy, Irene, Connie, and Priscilla, and brothers, Harry, Pete, Freddy, Herbert, Ernie, Bernard, Jerry, and Allen. Frank has treasured memories of his beloved family and their life together.

In 1933, the Turner family moved to Flat, Alaska when Frank was four. He has fond memories of his childhood growing up in the gold mining camp on the Iditarod River. Frank, along with his sisters, relocated to Bellingham, Washington to attend high school, where he graduated with honors from Mount Baker High School in 1947.

After graduation, Frank enlisted in the United States Army on his 18th birthday in Bellingham. Trained as an electrician in the U.S. Army, he completed Basic Training in Fort Ord, California and was stationed in Guam in 1949 during peace time for eighteen months. Frank was on his way home from Guam to Washington State when he was ordered to serve active duty during the Korean War; and Frank served active duty in field artillery with the 213th Field Artillery Battalion, a National Guard unit out of Richfield, Utah.

Frank bravely fought during an infamous battle on May 26, 1951, known as the “Battle of Kapyong” in Korea. Although heavily outnumbered, the American soldiers who bravely fought during this battle, overcame insurmountable fire and attack from the enemy and won the battle without any casualties. As a result of their courage and bravery, the 213th Field Artillery Battalion received a Presidential Citation.

On June 12, 1952, after returning home from the Korean War, Frank continued a life of courage and bravery when he learned to fly bush planes and became a husband, father, grandfather, bush pilot, trapper, hunter, and construction foreman. Frank retired as a federal service employee with over thirty years of service. He traveled extensively to rural Alaska villages working on water and sewer projects and overseeing the installation of much needed village infrastructure and construction projects.

As a respected elder, Frank’s legacy is his family. He lived in Holy Cross on the Yukon River from 1952 – 1996. He worked and retired in Anchorage, supported by his devoted wife Mary Jo (Peterson), stepmother to his children. Frank and his late wife, Mary Margaret Frank, had six children: son Frank Turner Jr., and daughters, Cheryl, Debbie, Sandra, Gloria and their youngest daughter, the late Freda Turner. Frank has 18 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great grandchild. Frank has humbly lived a life of sobriety for over thirty years. A gifted storyteller, Frank is always willing to share stories of his exciting adventures and once-in-a lifetime experiences.

 On October 5, 2014, and in 2019, the Korean Deputy Consulate General of Alaska presented Frank with the ‘Korean Ambassador for Peace Medal.’ This commemorative medal is an expression of gratitude and appreciation for the distinguished service, sacrifice, and heroism of soldiers who faithfully served during the Korean War. When Frank was 88, he participated in the “The Last Frontier Honor Flight Mission #9” to Washington D.C. to visit the national monuments dedicated in honor of service members who served during wartime.

Frank H. Turner honorably served active duty in the United States Army for 3 years, 8 months, 8 days, 2 hours, and 12 minutes.

Chief Andrew Isaac Leadership Award – Steevie Erickson

Steevie Erickson was born in Fairbanks to Dale and Cynthia Erickson. She was raised with her siblings Kailey and Landon in Tanana. Steevie’s maternal grandparents are Harold and Florence Esmailka of Ruby and her paternal grandparents are the late Howard and Frona Erickson of Mt. Vernon, Washington.

Steevie works for Foundation Health Partners at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital as a Nursing Coordinator. She received her associates in nursing from the University of Alaska Anchorage and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the Nightingale College. Steevie has an intrinsic drive to learn, is steady and confident in her educational pursuits and excels in her career as a result. She is encouraging and supportive of those she teaches as well. Her love for learning is exemplified through her teachings to peers and students alike. Steevie takes time out of her job at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital to teach certified nurse’s aides at the Denali Center.

Steevie is a dedicated nurse. During the first few years of the COVID-19 pandemic, she dedicated her life to helping at ground zero. She worked the 2 South floor at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital where COVID-19 patients were admitted. Steevie was a huge source of comfort to families during an extraordinarily distressing time. She was able to provide great comfort to patients who were unable to see family during their final days. When family members and patients learned she was Alaska Native and was raised in a rural Alaskan village, it created a strong connection and brought them tremendous comfort. Steevie’s care gave a huge sense of relief to many rural Alaskan families who had family members hospitalized during the pandemic.

In 2023, Steevie was the first recipient of the Foundation Health Partners Nightingale College Future Leader Scholarship. The scholarship was established to assist nurses with an associate degree to attain a Bachelor of Science in nursing. She was nominated by the staff and leadership at the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.

Steevie is involved in National Ski Patrol and volunteers throughout the winter when she is available. In 2017 Steevie received the Purple Merit Star from the National Ski Patrol, the highest meritorious service award. It is awarded to those who are responsible for saving a human life utilizing their ski patrol skills.

Poldine Carlo Citizen Award – Bessie C. Titus

Bessie C. Titus is the daughter of the late Leo Titus Sr. and late Matilda Titus of Minto, Alaska. Her maternal grandparents were the late Pete and late Bessie Solomon, and her paternal grandparents were the late Charlotte and late Titus John of Old Minto. Bessie is named after both grandmothers. Bessie and her siblings Lee Titus, Philip Titus, the late Elizabeth Engles, and the late Leo Titus Jr. grew up on the Minto Flats living a traditional subsistence lifestyle. Bessie remembers loading her schoolbooks on the sled and moving to spring camp before breakup.

Bessie is an Elder in the Minto Community and a life coach to young people. She takes pleasure and pride in her nieces, nephews, grandnephews, and grandnieces, including Celeste, her son David, and granddaughters Eve and Ava; Kim Kruger and her children Alli, Grace, and Josh; Jacob Morrison, Adena Albert, Kenny Felix, AJ Felix, Monica Garcia, Todd Demit, Andrew Gagnon, Katie Freeman, Peter Charlie, and Jack Charlie. Bessie enjoys and treasures being an aunt to many, including a very special relationship with her nephew Kyle Titus, her greatest joy is the strength of this bond. She loves to be an aunt and grandparent to community members who are willing to listen and learn. Bessie encourages us to see the values and gifts in others and to treat them with respect.

Bessie is a strong advocate for language preservation, and singing and dancing to the songs created by our ancestors. She has a passion for cultural and family history and shares many stories. Bessie has volunteered numerous times with culture camps, teaching important skills such as gathering food and food preservation. She enjoys camping, boating, moose hunting, berry picking, reading, beading, and strategic planning.

Bessie attended high school in Fairbanks and Kodiak. She obtained her GED and two-year certificate in Leadership Development at Cook Christian Training School in Tempe, Arizona. Fascinated by Biblical studies, she continued her education through the Native American Theological Association as a student at United Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. Bessie attended the University of Alaska and received the Exemplary Student of the Year Award, not an easy feat.

Bessie responded to the call to ministry by the Bishop of Alaska The Right Reverend Steven Charleston, and the Reverend David Salmon by prayer and meditation. She carried the letter from the bishop for eight years before making the decision to pursue ordination. The Reverend Bessie Titus was ordained as a priest of the Episcopal Diocese of Alaska in 2001.

Within the church, she served on the Standing Committee, Commission on Ministry, Bishop Search Committee, as dean of the Interior Deanery, and as a member of the diaconate since 2000. Reverend Bessie Titus has attended the General Convention of the Episcopal Church over ten times as the Deputy from Alaska representing the Episcopal Diocese of Alaska. She has served on the Presiding Bishop’s Blue Ribbon Task Force, Stewardship and Development, Social Justice and Advocacy, Women of Vision, and World Mission committees. She was a member of the Native American Theological Association and National Committee on Indian Work.

Bessie currently serves on the Seth-De-Ya-Ah village corporation board. Bessie also serves as the Chair and President of the Minto Development Corporation. She recently completed her term as the Second Chief of the Native Village of Minto Tribal Council. Prior to serving on the Tribal Council, Bessie served her tribe as Tribal Administrator, Tribal Court Judge, and Tribal Family Youth Services. Bessie also served 42 villages of the Tanana Chiefs Conference as the Self-Governance Coordinator.

Bessie’s introduction to politics and committee work began at an early age when elder advisor Eldrane Jimmie formed the Junior Dog Mushers Association. Bessie continued that service through Senior Dog Mushers Association for many years. She served on the board of Love, Inc., and has served on the Minto Tribal Council and Seth-De-Ya-Ah Corporation several times over the years, she hopes to continue to be a strong voice for her people.

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