Community Corner: Devoted to the cause of safe oil transportation

Lisa Matlock

By Lisa Matlock
Outreach Coordinator

The Council is exceedingly lucky to have volunteers who spend precious time and provide invaluable expertise toward our mission, some of whom have volunteered for decades. Their dedication to the safe transportation of oil through Prince William Sound is both remarkable and essential to the Council’s mission.

Long-term volunteers can see projects through from beginning to end. They possess a unique perspective on how changes in the region’s prevention and response system have improved over the years. Long-term volunteers also help preserve the Council’s history, reminding us all of how, and why, our positions and policies have been shaped as they have over the years. Many examples of how these volunteers have influenced today’s Council are exemplified in their personal stories, especially those who have spent over 20 years working on behalf of the Council and its mission.

George Skladal has been a volunteer for the Council’s Terminal Operations and Environmental Monitoring Committee since its inception. His education and work in petroleum management and experience as counsel to the Alaska Pipeline Commission give Skladal a unique set of skills when the Council reviews and advises Alyeska about the Valdez Marine Terminal’s safe operation.

Gordon Scott, who has volunteered for over 25 years on the Council’s Oil Spill Prevention and Response Committee, was a Whittier-based commercial fisherman and shrimper when the Exxon Valdez grounded on Bligh Reef. He worked on the response for 186 days and this experience drove him to volunteer for the Council and become an active member of the Alyeska SERVS fishing vessel oil spill response program out of Whittier. Today, Scott still brings fresh shrimp to the Council’s Anchorage office during the season, helping all of the staff stay closer to the Sound.

Jerry Brookman has served as an Oil Spill Prevention and Response Committee member since 1995, and has also volunteered for the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council as well. His vast aviation expertise has supported both regions, as aviation plays an important part of all oil spill response operations.

Patience Andersen Faulkner is currently the longest serving Board member on the Council, having just hit the 20-year mark. Her first-hand experience with the spill began in 1989, as a legal representative for many commercial fishermen who were unable to make a living afterwards. Her experience led to her becoming the longest standing voice for commercial fishermen on the Council, representing Cordova District Fishermen United. Andersen Faulkner has dedicated countless hours, as she has served multiple times as president of the Board, as vice-president, treasurer, and as member-at-large on the Executive Committee. She has also served on the Finance Committee, the Board Governance Committee, Long Range Planning Committee, the Information and Education Committee, and several ad hoc committees. On top of all this, she donates her time and expertise with many other organizations and her beautiful hand sewn sea otter fur scarves are in demand all over the region.

Together these and many more Council volunteers have put in countless hours to help craft a true citizen oversight organization. Volunteers help develop technical projects, do outreach to communities, set the Council’s direction, and, most importantly, offer advice to industry and regulators about how to make the operations at the terminal and tanker transportation in Prince William Sound safe for all of the people and wildlife who depend on this special place. We celebrate their involvement with the Council and thank them for their service.

Long-serving volunteers

On average, each of our committee members volunteer over 40 hours of their time per year. That includes preparing for and attending regular committee meetings. In addition, most committees hold an annual one-day workshop to develop work plans for future fiscal years. Many volunteers also donate extra time on teams that delve more deeply into specific projects. Board members attend three meetings per year (two-days each), plus many Board members volunteer additional time and energy on committees.

Our longest-serving volunteers have contributed thousands of hours to the Council during their time of service. The current estimate of total all-volunteer hours since the Council was formed in 1990 is well over 100,000 hours.

Following are current volunteers that have served over 5 years. We also wish to recognize former volunteers that have put in countless hours that are not listed here.

  • 5 years’ service: Jim Herbert, Robert Beedle, Andrea Korbe
  • 6 years: Amanda Bauer, Harold Blehm, Orson Smith
  • 7 years: Roy Totemoff
  • 8 years: Savannah Lewis
  • 9 years: Debu Misra, Kate Morse, Ruthie Knight
  • 10 years: Cathy Hart, Pat Duffy
  • 15 years: Roger Green, Cliff Chambers
  • 16 years: Al Burch
  • 17 years: Pete Heddell, Jane Eisemann, Steve Lewis
  • 20 years: Patience Andersen Faulkner
  • 23 years: Jerry Brookman
  • 26 years: Gordon Scott
  • 27 years: George Skladal
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