Above: A boy walks along the Newtok River in this file photo. The eroding village needs to relocate, and one of the necessities was for a fresh water well. The local Lions Club helped raise $30,000 to purchase and install the well earlier this year. Associated Press File Photo.
Local Lions complete Legacy Project at Newtok
As Lions we are challenged this Centennial Year to organize legacy projects in our communities. Lions of Multiple District 49 answered that challenge.
A legacy project is one that will bring long term benefit to our community such as the Eagle River Lions Park.
Lions did it again. There was a need that could not be solved by any other organization. As background, the land at the village of Newtok is slowly getting eroded away.
They have selected a new site, have funds allocated to help move families to the new site, but have not been able to release those funds because there was not a suitable water supply.
Lions of the Fairbanks Host Lions started working on the issue and asked 49A for assistance since Newtok (Mertarvik) is in District 49A.
Roughly $30,000 was requested to put in a suitable pump at Mertarvik.
By April 2016, at their Multiple District Convention in Anchorage, Lions had raised over $25,000. Lions voted to move forward with the project.
In June, the pump was installed at a cost of $29,489.11 by Jon Dufendock, Camp Water Industries, and Aaron Cook, Cold Climate Housing Research Center and their crews.
The well is now functional and with the new pump can produce up to 5 gallons a minute. Based on field test data, the water appears to meet the water quality standards to be a community well. The water quality tests have been confirmed with the community now having clean water.
With Lions making this happen this will allow FEMA to release their appropriated funds to assist the village in their move.
Lions are currently looking into requesting an LCIF grant along with District 49B to help other villages that need to move with water issues that they may encounter during the process.
It is hard to believe but there are 68 communities in Alaska who do not have clean water. Lions across the state are working to help resolve this problem.
This qualifies Lions for a Legacy III project. A legacy project is one that will bring long-term benefit to our community such as the Eagle River Lions Park.
It is 40 acres of land free for our community to use for picnics, a playground, football, softball or baseball. It has the largest community building for use by the public.
Lions are there for their community. If you would like to learn more about Lions please visit www.lionsclubs.org.
Please call me if you have questions or would like to join a club near you, DG Karen 242-1129. Our Motto: Where there is a need there is a Lion.
By: Karen Burns, District 49A Governor