As I read today’s Anchorage Daily News, the Peninsula Clarion and the Redoubt Reporter I was reminded just how great Alaska and Alaskans have been for me.
Like so many other Alaskans I was drawn to the wildness and beauty of Alaska by what I read and learned from people who experienced Alaska and Alaskans firsthand. Reading Call of the Wild and White Fang by Jack London while in the second grade of a small rural school house got me started. Subsequently articles about homesteading and living in the wild appealed to me and enriched my dream of coming to Alaska to live.
When we arrived in Haines, Alaska on that day in August, 1974, we experienced an event that was a precursor to 39 years of events that go a long way to define the character of many Alaskans. Marge and I had entered the grocery store in Haines, bought some groceries and were climbing back into our Ford 250 when a woman ran out of the store, waving her hand and yelling “Hey, Mister, you dropped this.” This turned out to be a roll of about 350 dollars. After profusely thanking her I knew I was home in Alaska with people with whom I wanted to be associated.
The following 39 years have been full of experiences that define the rich sense of community of Alaskans. Your contributions to making Alaska the best place in the world for Marge and I and many more have exceeded my wildest expectations.
For that I thank you all.