School employee halts possible shooting

Harry Nevak and his wife Myra who are from Newtok with the proclamation presented to him by the LKSD Board of Education last Friday. Photo by Greg Lincoln

by Greg Lincoln

Harry Nevak was on his way to work at the school in Newtok on the morning of September 11th, 2015, when he noticed something was not right. There was a teenager by the school holding a .22 rifle. At first, Nevak thought that he was on his way to the nearby Ningliq River to do some target practice. But no, the boy was on a mission of harm.

Nevak said his instincts kicked in.

“I knew what was going to happen,” he said when speaking of how he halted the near-catastrophe before it happened. He was able to disarm the boy as he was going up the stairs of the Ayaprun School. The boy verbally stated to Nevak that he was on his way to pissuq, or hunt, the principal of Newtok School with the loaded firearm. It was around 10am. Nevak was there just in time.

According to Alaska State Trooper reports, the boy was intoxicated, and a minor. He was taken into custody.

Nevak hopes that the boy will find help.

Accompanied by his loving wife Myra, Nevak was honored by the Lower Kuskokwim Board of Education during their meeting last Friday in Bethel for his act of courage and selfless actions. He was thanked for averting a very bad situation where someone could have died.

President of the Board Susan Murphy presented Mr. Nevak with a framed copy of the proclamation in his honor.

“Mr. Nevak acted courageously in prohibiting him (the armed person) from entering the school by disarming and restraining the armed person until help arrived,” states LKSD’s resolution 16-03, a Proclamation of Recognition for a Heroic Act. “The Lower Kuskokwim School District Board of Education does hereby proclaim Harry Nevak, of Newtok, Alaska is recognized as a hero for his selfless act of courage in averting another possible school shooting and the possible loss of life.”

The Nevaks have two children, ages 12 and 13, who attend Ayaprun School. Quyanaqvaall’ cakneq!