Yukon Men: George doesn't make it home, Tanana mourns his loss

George Roberts did not make it back to Tanana, and the town comes together to honor his life on the Discovery Channel's Yukon Men.

Many fans of reality shows have grown cynical of the genre. Shows have become so scripted and predictable, there seems to be little-to-no “reality” left, only the “show.” However, last night on the Discovery Channel’s hit, Yukon Men, fans learned that sometimes reality rears its head, regardless of what the producers, actors or viewers would like to see on the small screen.

Forty-year-old Tanana resident George Roberts, known to the locals simply as “G,” went missing in a recent episode. Fans likely assumed he would return this week, because, after all, this is television. But, unfortunately, unhappily and definitely tragically, George met his fate while trying to cross the Tanana River on his way back from a goose hunting expedition. Residents had been hopeful that he would be found alive, as he was a skilled woodsman and was capable of surviving many situations, but, unfortunately, rescuers soon came to realize that, following the snowmobile tracks in the area where he was last seen, the most likely scenario was that he had met with tragedy on the thawing Tanana River.

“We found George,” Stan Zuray said solemnly. “He didn’t make it.”

“The only reason George is not here with us today is because he hit his head,” Charlie Wright, George’s brother-in-law, explained. “The snowmobile flipped up, hit something and flipped up, hit the ice wrong, and that’s it. Just takes one little mistake. That’s a hell of a loss, to lose one of your loved ones like that, to the river.”

“I learned so much from him,” Bob, Charlie’s son and George’s nephew, said. “The guy is amazing, you know? Losing my uncle, it’s tough.”

A small town like Tanana, with less than 200 residents, feels such a loss hard. And, the whole town came out to support the family and honor George.

“Everybody is close here,” Charlie said. “It’s like one family.”

“The loss of any one person in this village is incredibly significant,” Stan said. “Everybody is so close.”

Stan’s son, Joey, was one of the last people to see George, and was taking the loss hard.

“It’s going to be tough on him for a long time to come,” Stan said.

Custom dictates that the family host a funeral potlatch—a feast for the whole community. At a funeral potlatch, moose is served as the main course. This could have been a true burden on the family at this time of mourning, if the community were not so ready to come together and support one another. Stan went out hunting the moose (it is permissible, he explained, to kill a moose out of season for a funeral potlatch) and, when he dropped one, all of the men of Tanana came to help dress it out and get it ready for the potlatch meal. It was truly inspiring, to see how the residents of the town supported the family and how they honored their fallen son, brother, uncle, cousin and friend.

Goodbye, G; well-wishes to his family and all of Tanana.

Yukon Men airs on the Discovery Channel on Friday nights at 10/9c.

Would you like to read more about Yukon Men? Search "Yukon Men" right here on Huliq.

UPDATED: Charlie hunts a deadly black bear

Image: Discovery Channel

Comments

Submitted by Gussock Yupik Wife (not verified) on
Wow! Living this life myself, at first I was angry they showed this on tv. But after a bit of reflection, I realized it would be good for people to see how a good bye should be conducted, and how meaningful it can be. Living daily with this kind of threat to my husband and myself, brought this reality to the forefront of my mind. I think it scared me. But it is the true reality we live with in rural Alaska. Thanks, Tanana, for showing the rest of the world how its done. Good bye, Big G!

Submitted by Kerry Gann (not verified) on
I am sitting here watching "Yukon Men". What an amazing show, and a true meaning of reality. I want to say, I'm so sorry for your loss of George. I thank you for letting us witness such love and caring of your community. I could plainly see how much meaning and thought is put into a loss of a loved one. I wish others could put so much meaning into there lives, life would change for the better. Again I'm so sorry, my thoughts are with you, your family and the community.

Submitted by WillB (not verified) on
I watch this show. Like it. I just could not figure out what happened to G. They did not find him and Stan assumed he was in the river. They did have his funeral without the body but at the end of that show they mention his body was being flown in from the medical examiner in Fairbanks? Obviously, they found him on the snow with his overturned snowmobile. At least that's apparently what happened but it certainly is not clear.

If you have the opportunity, you may want to watch the episode again. They found George while searching the Tanana River; the body was returned from Fairbanks after an autopsy, and he was welcomed home and honored by the town when they met the plane. The funeral followed in the days after, after he was brought home to Tanana.

Submitted by Huskers (not verified) on
No I"M NOT A TREE HUGGER!!!! People really have no business living in such a remote area...so what do they do, basically KILL everything they can so they can survive...really that's all the show is about, nothing more...sucks for all the wildlife.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Who the yell are you to tell people where they should live? This is the United States of America. I don't give two shits how you feel about people living in remote areas or hunting their own food. I would say keep your foolish mouth shut if I were standing right in front of you. An if you said another word after that , I would twist your neck like one of the geese they killed. God I Love America.

Submitted by Jani (not verified) on
I couldn't agree with you more! Just as you said...twist their neck like they do the geese...I would like to give this butthead a good whack along side the head!! I find this show amazing...these are fine and caring people. They recently lost a family member to the river...GOD BLESS George and his entire family and all of the people in Tanana...our thoughts and prayers are with you!! Living OFF OF THE LAND is how it all began...BEFORE we were all spoiled and lazy, this is how it was! The Tree Huggers and or vegans need to Get A Grip on REALITY!! With the American economy and our country in a downward spiral...THIS might be the way "WE ALL" might be living again. My brothers hunt in Pennsylvania and anytime my brother offers Deer meat...we are very grateful, you might be surprised how good it really is! The deer jerky is fabulous, much better than the crap we buy in the stores!! These awesome people live in America too... and have EVERY RIGHT to live where they want and HUNT what they want for food!! It's people like this that will be the complete downfall of America...I would certainly prefer to have the people of Tanana as friends instead of "ANY" PETA people!! GOD BLESS and SAVE the United States of America...WE had ALL better Get Smart and "MAKE A CHANGE" for our children, grandchildren and beyond! God Bless the U.S.A.!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
You claim to love America but threaten to kill someone for SAYING something? There's a little thing called the 1st amendment which allows for free speech. Yeah, what he said was obviously said to get a rise out of people but doesn't that make you a bit of a hypocrite?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Who the yell are you to tell people where they should live? This is the United States of America. I don't give two shits how you feel about people living in remote areas or hunting their own food. I would say keep your foolish mouth shut if I were standing right in front of you. An if you said another word after that , I would twist your neck like one of the geese they killed. God I Love America.

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