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Lieutenant Colonel Wayne Don, a Calista Shareholder, is both a leader in his community and in the country. Lieutenant Colonel Wayne Don serves in the Alaska Army National Guard. He exemplifies leadership through his commitment to serving his state and nation. Wayne has been recognized for his leadership skills numerous times, being named a “Top 40 Under 40,” for the national center for American Indian Enterprise development and Alaska Journal of Commerce, serving as the chairman of NIMA Village Corporation and being chosen for leadership positions within the guard.
“My career allows me to serve people in a number of ways,” Wayne said. He grew up on Nunivak Island and attended college at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he was a part of the Reserve Officer Training Corps program. After college he enlisted in the U.S. Army and traveled the world as a soldier.
In 1995, at age 23, he was deployed to Bosnia. “I was in charge of about 30 plus soldiers. I walked away from that experience with the confidence that I have the capabilities to lead in all types of circumstances.”
Wayne went on to get a masters degree in business and joined the Alaska Army National Guard in 2005. “Being in the Guard allows me to do all the things I feels passionate about. I get to serve my country, state, community and people,” said Wayne. In 2011, he was recognized with the prestigious Marshall Memorial Fellowship, an award that gave him the opportunity to travel to Europe to meet with leaders.
In late 2013, Wayne was promoted from Major to Lieutenant Colonel. The rank signifies hard work, commitment to service and leadership. For most it takes years to rise to that level. Typically, Lieutenant Colonels are in charge of battalions and Wayne was named the Commander of the 103rd Civil Support Team.
“I was pretty honored,” said Wayne. “It’s a specialized command, a pretty big deal for our organization. I feel very honored.”
The 103rd Civil Support Team is the state’s primary first responder for nuclear, chemical, radiological and biological events in the state. Wayne leads a select group of Army and Air Force personnel specifically trained in those areas. Every member of the team has a specialty including physician assistants and a nuclear science officer.
“The command positions are designated by leadership experience, career potential and fit,” Wayne said.
Wayne credits the military for many of his leadership skills, but he wants Youth to understand anyone can be a leader. “Not every student is going to go to college, but you can still be a leader in the community. Serve on your tribal or community council, or be the best fisherman around.”
Through Calista Corporation’s scholarship and internship program, Wayne says Youth have the opportunities to achieve success. “We have an incredibly supportive Corporation. Culturally it encourages Youth to participate and be involved. They are the future of the YK area and I hope to see kids get involved.”
Wayne is excited about his opportunity to keep Alaskans safe and looks forward to continuing to serve his country. He lives with his wife and children in Eagle River, daughter Phylicia, son Gannon, daughter Delaina, and wife Alicia.