Longtime Quest volunteer has cancer

Posted: Friday, May 09, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) Leo Olesen, who has done everything for the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race except run it, has a tough trail ahead. He was recently diagnosed with an incurable variety of glandular cancer.

Olesen, 58, has been a part of the Yukon Quest since its inception in 1984, when he served as a race judge.

Olesen has served on the rules committee, which he now chairs, since 1984 and has also acted as race marshal (1985-87) and race manager (1996-2001). Olesen helped create the Yukon Quest Executive Council in 1999 and the following year contributed to the International Council Terms of Reference.

He's played every role you can think of except running the race,'' said Layne St. John, the Quest's executive director. Leo has been a vital part of this organization since its inception.''

Olesen moved to Fairbanks from Minnesota in 1969 and has been married to Donna Reilly for 33 years. The couple has three grown children.

A carpenter and log-home builder, Olesen co-founded Subarctic Construction in 1984 and has owned and operated Leo Olesen Construction, Inc. for the last three years. He has also served as an officer of the Interior Alaska Building Association.

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