Medic of the Year

Ester Volunteer Fire Department has named Dave DeCaro as the 2019 Medic of the Year. He’s a lieutenant at the Ester department. He also happens to be fire chief at the McKinley Volunteer Fire Department.

In Ester, at Station 51, he is the emergency medical services coordinator and an EMS instructor.

As always, DeCaro would rather talk about other volunteers than about himself. Earlier this year, he was recipient of the Denali Borough Mayor’s Community Service Award for his work at the McKinley Volunteer Fire Department. At that time, praised those local volunteers and said, “I feel very honored and privileged to have such awesome people volunteering with me.”

This time, again, he was more comfortable praising volunteers at the Ester department than talking about himself.

Congratulations Dave DeCaro.

Principal Award

Jeni Mason has been named Principal of the Year for Region 2, by the Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals. She is principal of Cantwell School, Anderson School, and Denali PEAK correspondence school.

This is the third time she has received the award.

Mason surprised her colleagues at a recent Zoom meeting by showing up dressed as Batwoman, complete with black mask and a Batman/Batwoman logo in the background.

“I got what I was striving for,” she said. “Smiles.”

She made a habit of changing her virtual background for school district Zoom meetings every day during the covid pandemic this spring - from a giant photo of homemade salsa and tacos on May 5 to a table full of vegetables chopped up for the family’s pet bearded dragon.

“Jeni always gives her all to the kids, parents, and staff throughout the entire district to help our kids become the best learners and people they can be,” said Denali School Superintendent Dan Polta. “It is great to see her recognized for that dedication by her peers in our region and across the state of Alaska. We are all very proud of her and glad she’s a member of our district family.”

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.

Community editor and columnist Kris Capps is a longtime resident of Fairbanks and Denali Park. Contact her at, in the office at 459-7546 or by cell at 322-6334. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.