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Beverly Hoffman of Bethel was born in 1951 into a large family of Yup’ik and European descent. Hoffman graduated in 1969 from Dimond High School in Anchorage. After attending a Florida college and living in San Francisco, she moved home in 1975.
Along the Kuskokwim River, there is a long history of death by drowning. Hoffman is a founder of the Y-K Delta Lifesavers, which began a campaign for a pool in the 1980s to teach people to swim and to provide healthy recreational and fitness outlets. The $24 million facility opened in 2014. Hoffman continues to raise funds for an endowment supporting access, so all people can use the pool, regardless of economics.
Hoffman was an early organizer of the Kuskokwim 300, the world’s premier mid-distance sled dog race. She managed the event for several years and raced for 40 years in K300 and village-sponsored dog races.
Hoffman fights tirelessly to protect the Kuskokwim River and its salmon for future generations. She served as chair of the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Working Group, the regional voice for salmon issues.
As an owner of Kuskokwim Wilderness Adventures, Huffman is the first woman on the Kuskokwim with her six passenger Coast Guard license. She welcomes and guides visitors to the region, sharing local history and traditional knowledge.
Hoffman received the Bill Bivens Award from Bethel’s Chamber of Commerce, the Yukegtaaq award from Tundra Women’s Coalition, and the luminary “Community Spirit” award from the Healthy Alaska Natives Foundation. She is a past Bethel City Council member.
A community activist, Hoffman continues advocating for the region, protecting fish habit and the environment, volunteering for public radio and the K300, and pursuing a community gym.
She and her husband John McDonald have two grown children, son Colin McDonald and daughter Casey McDonald.
Induction ceremony acceptance speech https://youtu.be/91E3oc2AGx0