Students and young athletes in Juneau are mourning the death of a popular coach and special education aide at Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School.
Brandon Mahle was just 31 years old when he passed away unexpectedly on January 30th. He had a wife and two young daughters.
Mahle graduated from Juneau Douglas High School in 2001. He worked at Dzantik’i Heeni for nearly 10 years. He also coached a number of youth sports, including basketball, soccer, and football.
He was Director of Coaching for the Juneau Youth Football League, where he focused on improving player safety. He told KTOO this past fall that safer practices led more players to turn out for the league.
“We have four teams at our younger level, and we usually have three teams,” Mahle said. “Our flag football has over 75 kids, which is just incredible. So numbers have gone up, because kids feel like they can come out and play and they’ll be safe doing it.”
Dzantik’i Heeni Principal Molly Yerkes says Mahle’s commitment to kids will be missed.
“He worked with students who had very serious disabilities and he always was positive, always was looking for ways to help students and allow them to have a positive experience at school,” Yerkes said.
A community celebration for Brandon Mahle will be held Friday from 5-7:30 p.m. at Thunder Mountain High School. A private service for friends and family will be held on Saturday.
He is survived by his wife, Tiffany, and daughters Makenzie and Zoe, as well as his parents, three brothers, and his maternal grandfather.
Note: This story has been updated with comments from Molly Yerkes.
- Wayne Price thinks if there is going to be a wider healing among Natives in America, the U.S. government needs to apologize for the devastating toll the boarding schools took.
- Alaska’s economic woes are affecting all corners of the state, especially communities that were banking on an Arctic boom.
- The dead included one police officer from a local university. At least nine other people were hurt, including four police officers.
- Studies recommended relocating villages like Newtok, Kivalina and Shishmaref. But more than 10 years later they are still there, with waves getting higher and storms getting stronger.