In Seward, Alaska, during the summer the Seward Post 5 American Legion Family rises to the occasion to help others in need by donating fresh Alaskan salmon. During May and June, millions of smolts are released by Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association into Bear Lake in Seward, and they swim down Bear Creek to the salt water at the head of Resurrection Bay. All summer long Sockeye and Coho salmon make it back to swim seven miles up the creek to the fish weir operated by Cook Inlet, under a cooperative agreement with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, as part of a project to increase Sockeye and Coho runs in Resurrection Bay.
When the fish return there is an overabundance of fish coming back to Bear Lake, so as they return the folks at Cook Inlet determine the right amount to keep in the lake and then call for “help” to distribute the excess. This where the Post 5 American Legion Family comes into play.
Today, 28 July 2019, close to 200 Sockeye salmon had to be taken out of the returning population, so the “troops,” so to speak, rallied. Under the direction of Sons member David “Ozzie” Osborn and his rallying call, we had members of all our American Legion Family respond in about an hour’s notice of the fish arrival (fresh out of the water). Post 5 member Scott Bartlett, who also just happens to manage the Military Recreation Camp, allowed the group to use the fish cleaning station and vacuum sealers for close to 200 fish that were fully, cleanly and rapidly processed by “the crew!” Several members of the Auxiliary, including Unit President Debbie VanTassel and newest member Kona Achterhof, were on station and busily filleting away! And, not to be outdone by the ladies, we had post member Dennis Bailey and Sons member Al Dykstra to round out the Legion Family in this effort. We even had some enthusiastic helpers jump in who saw the good the crew was doing - and will be joining our post!
Within a few hours, just under 200 fish were filleted and vacuum-sealed and will be going out to those in need! The Post 5 Family, although a small post in a small coastal town in Alaska, can do some impressive work in service to our veterans and our community!