Bethel City Council Remembers David Berlin, Honors David Trantham Jr.

Jul 16, 2020

The Wall of Honor at the Alaska Territorial Guard Park in Bethel, which David Trantham Jr. was instrumental in creating.
Credit Ben Matheson / KYUK

Bethel City Council recognized two men whose work over the years made a positive difference in the community and the region: David Berlin and David Trantham Jr.

Mayor Perry Barr offered his condolences to the family of Berlin and his granddaughter, who both died in a boating accident on the Johnson River this week. Mayor Barr said that Berlin was from Nunapitchuk, and served a long career in law enforcement as a village public safety officer, a Bethel police officer, and a state court services officer.

“What a tragedy," Barr said on the July 14 meeting. "A very young man that was about to retire, and what great service he provided to this delta. A very quiet, but unassuming, humble, humble person.”

Barr called Berlin “a role model in law enforcement for the Native community.”

The water is low and the grass is high on the Johnson River where the accident occurred when two boats collided around a blind turn. Council member Mark Springer suggested that boat drivers make themselves more visible by flying flags made from an orange streamer and a willow branch, and drive cautiously.

The city council also passed a proclamation recognizing David Trantham Jr. for his service to the city. "His devotion to our community and the organization is exemplary," the proclamation says, "and when it comes to total service and time volunteered to Bethel’s local government, Mr. David Trantham Jr. stands alone."

Trantham served on Bethel City Council for over a decade, as well as on city committees and commissions. He’s an active community volunteer who continues to attend council meetings as a vocal constituent. Trantham is a World War II veteran and was instrumental in creating the Alaska Territorial Guard Park in Bethel.

Read the proclaimation honoring David Trantham Jr. here.