Scholarship Application Open: January 15, 2024 - March 15, 2024

Sig and Helen grew up commercial fishing during the summers with their parents on the F/V McCrea. In 2015, Sig started seining, initially on the F/V Magnus Martens, and finally this year on the F/V Vigilant with his sister. In 2019, Helen began seining on the F/V Island Pride, then joined her brother on the F/V Vigilant. Sig had been ‘deck boss’ for several years and Helen trained this year to be ‘skiff man’. According to their captain, “Fishing with them was pure joy…I’ve never seen a brother and sister team, ever, in the world of fisheries.” The day before the accident, they had just returned from the coast, fishing in some of the most challenging conditions that forced most boats to site on anchor. Sig and Helen both rose to meet the challenge and the F/V Vigilant was top boat that day.

While Sig and Helen were very uniquely different people, they also had many similarities. They were both happy, fun, and uplifting to others on the outside, while having the drive, determination, values, and substance on the inside. They were also true leaders – the kind who led by example and by inspiring others to be better through their kindness. They saw the world for all of its good and evil, yet maintained a commitment to happiness, authenticity, kindness, hard work, and adventure. The best expression of this is in the words of those who knew them.

Sig was “the most compassionate, selfless, and admirable human being [we’ve] ever met. His exemplary leadership and positive energy quickly turned him into the most adored member of our organization…Sig will always be remembered as someone others could go to when they had problems, no matter how big or small, and he’d drop anything to help them.” Sig “radiated energy, charisma, and happiness when he stepped into the room.” Sig “always made you smile and feel important, no matter who was watching.” He was “truly one of the nicest and most genuine people I’d ever met…he made me feel more at home and welcome at USC.” “His enthusiasm for life and kindness will never be forgotten.” “Sig made an impression on everyone he met; he lit up the room and brightened my classroom, even during Zoom classes.” “I couldn’t ask for a better friend.” He was “a fierce competitor, a definitive leader, and always positive, whether it be academic or athletic.” “Sig danced like no one was watching.”

Helen “brought out the best in me by showing me it was ok to be myself. [She] made me want to be a better person every single day by showing me happiness, joy, and positivity.” Helen “showered the world with an endless amount of love…and always reminded me of the good things in life.” Helen had “drive and determination, as well as empathy and the ability to encourage and support her teammates…who fed off [her] energy and focus.” Helen was “the most dedicated athlete I’ve ever coached; [she] always looked after the younger girls on the team…[she was] the definition of a leader.” “I quickly fell in love with [Helen’s] confidence in being unapologetically herself.” “Helen made everyone want to be a better, happier, kinder person; she made us all want to live every moment to the fullest, which she did.” Her “laughter and kindness were contagious.” Helen had “an intelligent mind, a free spirit, and a beautiful soul.” “You lit up any room, any gym; you always lifted others up with your presence – that’s what made you so special to me.” “We all wanted to be a little more like you.” And, “the outfits she put together were always on point.”


These essay’s provide a glimpse into the character and heart of these two. 

Sig Decker – Meaning Purpose and Happiness – Spring 2020

Helen Decker – Living Beautifully 2017-05-13

Two scholarships will be awarded each year, with the specific award level determined by the amount of funds available.


Eligibility Criteria:

  • Applicant must be a resident of Wrangell or Petersburg, Alaska.
  • The applicant must be a graduating high school senior.
  • Applicant must have previous work experience in commercial fishing or seafood processing.
  • Enrolling in at least half-time in an accredited post-secondary program.

Applicants will need to provide:

  • Resume; Including employment in commercial fishing or seafood processing, student activities, community service, and professional activities
  • High School transcript with GPA
  • Letter verifying employment in commercial fishing or seafood processing
  • Letter of Recommendation that speaks to the applicant’s character
  • Personal Essays
  • Financial Need


IMPORTANT: Scholarship recipients must submit their student ID number and program information by June 30, 2024, to ACF through the online system before their award can be disbursed. Failure to do so will be an automatic forfeiture of the award unless the student chooses an award deferment.

For questions or concerns, please contact ACF at or 907-334-6700.

Donate Now
Area of Interest:
Geographic Location:
Return to Fund Search