Troopers single out two Village Public Safety Officers for honors

Posted: Tuesday, April 11, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Two village public safety officers were honored as the 1999 VPSOs of the year by the Alaska State Troopers at a recent ceremony.

John Merculief, the VPSO at Stebbins, was noted for his lifesaving efforts during a blizzard in February.

After suffering frostbite while aiding village residents, Merculief led a physician's assistant by snowmachine through whiteout conditions to attend to an injured girl at nearby St. Michael.

Richard Ellis, the VPSO at Marshall, was singled out for his rescue efforts last August to find two tourists reported adrift in the Yukon River.

One of the two had been washed downriver while trying to retrieve a loose canoe. Ellis and Marshall village police officer Walter Pitka rescued the visitors in rough waters.

Both VPSOs also were commended by trooper commander Col. Glenn Godfrey for their general police and safety work in their respective villages.

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