Shareholder Spotlight: Erick Mountain
Pictured above: Erick Mountain stands with his award in Juneau, Alaska, next to Gov. Bill Walker and First Lady Donna Walker.
Erick Dean Mountain of Nulato, Alaska, was recently named an awardee of the 2017 First Lady’s Volunteer of the Year Awards, along with nine other Alaskans. More than 70 nominations were received for the awards, which recognize top volunteers in Alaska.
Mountain is the son of the late Simeon Mountain, Sr. of Nulato and Josephine Mountain of Kaltag, Alaska. He is the paternal grandson of the late Cosmos Mountain, Vivian Peter and Simel Peter. His father was raised by the late Daniel and Jessie Sipary of Nulato. His maternal grandparents are the late Paul and Marie Nickoli of Kaltag. Mountain is the father of Misty Vent, Irene Sam and Eliza Sam.
“Often, the volunteer work that Alaskans do goes unrecognized because publicity and notoriety are not sought,” stated First Lady Donna Walker. “The recipients of these awards are committed to Alaska, making sacrifices for their communities, and setting an example for others who wish to give of their time and talents. I’m proud we’re able to recognize them.”
Mountain was noted as being an active and involved community member who assists those who need help as much as he can, whether it is helping fix snowmachines, four-wheelers, water heaters and furnaces or just being kind enough to give someone a ride and help haul fuel to those who need it. Mountain’s nominator stated that he is “a good, sober role model” for the youth he mentors, and a compassionate, respectful helpmate and companion to the community’s Elders.
“A lot of Elders stay home and watch TV. I try to help by fixing their antennas and sometimes I even get paid with a loaf of bread,” stated Mountain. “I mostly focus on our Elders and like to visit them when I help and listen to their stories.”
Since most community members have a four-wheeler or snowmachine for transportation in the village, Mountain prefers to teach those who ask for help changing their oil or fixing tires – rather than doing it for them. He wants to be able to teach so they can help themselves in the future. His father used to give community members rides in Nulato when he could, so Mountain figures that’s why it is natural for him to help out those who need it.
“The person that nominated me is a good friend of mine; he’s a Franciscan brother from the church. We always pull jokes on each other. When I got the call, I thought it was him pulling a joke! It was pretty cool to win an award that I never knew existed,” Mountain said.