Irrespective of travel constraints, Akiachak relatives finds new way to say goodbye with 1 last flight

Kongiganak’s tribal law enforcement chief (keeping cross) and other tribal law enforcement officers acquire David Aqvang Evon’s physique for his burial. (Photograph courtesy of Marcy Daniel)

At the conclude of 2020, 36-calendar year-previous David Aqvang Evon died from COVID-19. His spouse and children could not attend his burial since of journey constraints but they, and other persons in the neighborhood, located distinctive ways to honor his memory.

David Aqvang Evon grew up in Akiachak, then moved to Kongiganak wherever he labored as a tribal law enforcement officer. Last 12 months, he and his spouse and children moved to Fairbanks simply because of his daughter’s health issues.

On Dec. 20, David analyzed beneficial for COVID-19 and diagnosed with pneumonia. But even then, his mother Olinka Evon mentioned that she wasn’t fearful because he identified as her on Christmas Day.

“He permit me check out his little ones open provides,” Evon stated. “And I thought almost everything was alright. But the subsequent working day he didn’t wake up.”

An ambulance arrived the day after Christmas to transport David to the medical center in Fairbanks. His kidney began to fail, then other organs followed. On Dec. 29, his household made the choice to acquire him off lifestyle assist.

His daughter was also hospitalized with COVID-19 but has since recovered.

David’s human body was to be buried in Kongiganak, where by his wife and daughter will be going again to, but his mother in Akiachak needed to say goodbye. She asked Grant Aviation to do a flyby with David’s body about Akiachak before heading on to Kongiganak.

Grant pilot Andy Fox gladly obliged. With David’s physique on board, he flew 3 circuits around Akiachak.

Olinka bought to be with her son one particular much more time, a few hundred ft under.

“I was crying. I was saying ‘I like you Aqvang,’” Evon said.

She described David as a caring husband and father, respectful to his mothers and fathers and Elders, and beloved by friends and relatives, quite a few of whom have been observing David fly about them.

“When he flew above, it was like a sigh of reduction,” Evon reported. “Even even though we didn’t get to see him, at minimum we bought to wave at him and say our farewells. I’m so grateful for that.”

Bertha Black’s daughter-in-regulation, Charlotte Black, keeping a blanket with Bertha’s impression on it during the Blue/Purple travel for David Aqvang Evon and Bertha Black. (Photo courtesy of Marcy Black)

As the aircraft continued to Kongiganak, Fox wrote on a Facebook post that the weather conditions was hazy that working day. But as he approached the village, he saw a hole open up up in the clouds. Fox wrote that “made me believe David must wanna appear home.” Tears fell from the pilot’s eyes, as he circled the village before landing.

In Kongiganak, health aide Marcy Daniel had requested people today to try to remember David by putting on blue.

“The relatives and close friends simply cannot assemble for the normal singing and gathering with the grieving relatives, so that created me want to consider and do a little something,” Daniel stated.

She also requested men and women to put on purple for Bertha Black, the initial person in Kongiganak who died from COVID-19. Purple was Bertha’s favorite colour.

Daniel went all around town having photos of men and women dressed in blue and purple and uploaded them to a Fb group termed “In Loving Memory of David Peter Aqvang Evon.” Hundreds of folks in the village and around the location participated.

When David’s body arrived in Kongiganak, Daniel asked people to feast within just their homes.

Tribal law enforcement officers in Kongiganak, David’s previous coworkers, ended up there at the airport to decide on up his physique. Main Leann Miller claimed that David was anyone the group could usually count on.

“He was a very good cop. I seemed up to him. He was often there, and usually beneficial,” Miller explained.

The tribal police officers have been the only ones existing for the burial of David Aqvang Evon. But even though household and pals couldn’t be there, they located strategies to say goodbye.

Correction: An earlier edition of this story stated the weather was hazy in Akiachak all through the flyover. The poor visibility was above Kongiganak, where the airplane transported David Aqvang Evon’s system to be buried.