While John and his dogs have been competing in this year's Iditarod Sled Dog Race, folks back home are cheering him on, and today, John, received the honor of being the NANA Shareholder of the Year.
NANA Regional Corporation is an Alaska Native Corporation fully owned by more than 12,700 Inupiat shareholders and each year recognizes a shareholder who shows leadership within the community and NANA region, contributes to the community and NANA region, shows political involvement in his or her village, region, or state, helps preserve the Inupiat culture, and makes other contributions that benefit the overall lifestyle of NANA
Robert "Dad Dad" Sampson, with NANA Regional Corporation, presented the award and said, "While we are happy to share John with the rest of the world, we are proud to call him one of our own."
There have been a multitude of challenges the teams have faced in the 2012 Iditarod, including heavy snowfall on the trail and extremely cold temperatures, proving this is undoubtedly the world's most grueling sled dog race in the world. But today John shifted his focus, from the intensity of the trail and stiff competition, to being named as the recipient of this prestigious award. He was deeply moved and said, "This is the greatest award I can receive. What higher honor is there? Being acknowledged by your own people is very meaningful and humbling."
A video of John was shown during the meeting attended by more than 700 people in Selawik, Alaska, and he received a standing ovation. A touching tribute as John continues up the trail with perserverance and determination.