(Editor’s note: Thank you to Sara Spence, KTHA executive director, for sharing this update and photos.)
Although it was a cold November morning in Happy Camp, CA, the spirits of those who gathered were warm with delight as they commemorated the grand opening of the Happy Camp Wellness Center on Nov. 9, 2018.
This long anticipated addition to the community is 11,400 square feet and includes a gymnasium, kitchen, computer lab, exercise room, and both men’s and women’s restrooms and showers. It is the second Wellness Center to be constructed by the Karuk Tribe Housing Authority (KTHA); the first was in Yreka, and a third is planned for Orleans in the future.
Sara Spence, executive director for the Karuk Tribe Housing Authority, introduced and welcomed everyone. Council Member Alvis “Bud” Johnson provided the prayer followed with speeches, thanks and stories from Council Chairman Russell “Buster” Attebery, Board of Commissioners Chairman Robert Super, Executive Director Joshua Saxon, Youth Activities Coordinator Darryl McBride, and Retired Happy Camp High School Teacher and longtime Happy Camp community member Robert Hokanson.
Following the ceremonial ribbon cutting, everyone was invited inside for snacks and cake while they toured the facility. Florrine Super coordinated, and Franklin Thom led a group of eight youth from Yreka who provided a demonstration dance. Victoria Armstrong-McAbier led the Happy Camp Dancing Toes toddler group who provided a short dance routine for the audience, which included the Happy Camp Head Start Class of 2019.
The event concluded with a Friendly Inaugural Scrimmage Game between Happy Camp and Yreka. The Happy Camp Team led by Robert Attebery, included Kevin Harrison, Ben Harrison, Clayton Tuttle, Julian McCovey, and Michael Gurule. The Yreka Team led by Gustavo Gonzalez, included Gustavo Gonzalez Sr., Brian Gonzalez, Darryl McBride, Philip Albers Sr., and Treavor Super. Referees were Salvador Tello and Raymond Conrad; Florrine Super and Sherile Grant kept score while Buster Attebery called the action.
The project was made possible through the Karuk Tribe Housing Authority’s HUD Indian Housing Block Grant funds and the Karuk New Markets investment partnership between the Karuk Tribe, Karuk Tribe Housing Authority, Travois, and Capital One Bank allowing access to New Market Tax Credit funds, a new source for the tribe and housing authority. The General Contractor for the project was Ginno Construction of Chico, with engineering and designs by KAS & Associates of Medford.
Without the time and effort of the following individuals this project would not have been possible: Tribal Council Members Russell Attebery, Robert Super, Michael Thom, Joseph Waddell, Alvis Johnson, Sonny Davis, Arch Super, Renee Stauffer, and Kristen King, KTHA Board of Commissioners Robert Super, Scott Quinn, Charlene Naef, Dolores Voyles, Joseph Waddell, Sherile Grant, and Teresa Valin, Assistant Director Ann Escobar, Construction Manager Doug Goodwin and his crew, Executive Assistant Adia Supahan, Maintenance Supervisor Preston Willson and his crew, CFO Laura Mayton, CFO Gustavo Gonzalez, Executive Director Joshua Saxon, Executive Secretary Barbara Snider, General Counsel Fatima Abbas, Transportation Director Misty Rickwalt, Compliance Director Emma Lee Perez, Grant Writer Trista Parry, as well as previous KTHA employees Erin Hillman, Steve Mitchell and Richard Black.
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