Many participated in the eighth annual Brain Awareness Walk and Barbecue held June 5 and put on by the Kenai Peninsula Brain Injury Support Group, in partnership with the Dana Alliance's Brain Awareness Week (www.dana.org/ brainweek).
The 23rd Alaska Legislature wrote a proclamation HCR 31 introduced by Lesil McGuire, naming June as Alaska's Brain Injury Awareness Month. Gov. Frank Murkowski signed the bill May 7.
We had hoped he could come sign the bill at our walk, however, Murkowski sent John Bajowski from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services' Division of Behavioral Health on his behalf to give an "official reading" of the proclamation.
Also attending the walk was Sen. Ted Stevens.
Stevens said, "I wanted to come to this walk because I have a heart for people with brain injuries."
Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dale Bagley and his son rode their bikes wearing helmets across the bike path from Soldotna to join in the walk.
Kenai Mayor John Williams, Soldotna Mayor Dave Carey, Sen. Tom Wagoner and Rep. Kelly Wolf were on hand to welcome Stevens to our walk.
Wolf helped Dwayne Thompson blow up the balloons the walkers carried, imprinted with the message "Be Head Smart." Others carried posters with many safety slogans, such as "Just 1 head injury will change your mind," "Helmets are cool," "Don't break your loved ones heart buckle up!" "Brain injury #1 killer and disabler of Alaskan youth," "Prevention: The Best Cure" and "Don't drink and drive."
The walk started from Kenai Central High School, where the dignitaries all joined with the founder of the group, Richard Warrington, to lead the walk through beautiful Kenai to the Green Strip Park.
Bajowski gave the official reading of the Alaska state proclamation, followed by Donita Peters singing in Dena'ina and drumming songs of hope and thank you to the group. The group enjoyed the barbecue lunch and especially the beautiful flag cake made by Vicki Thompson.
We live in a community of wonderful people; people whose businesses are asked to give to so many causes.
I wish to thank those who again donated: Save-U-More Discount Grocery, Carrs-Safeway, Fred Meyer, Country Foods, Regal Foods, The Salvation Army, Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co., USA Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, Ace Automotive, Brown's Insurance, Kenai Vision Center, Peninsula Community Services, Kenai Peninsula Food Bank and Koob Chiropractic. A special thank you also goes to the survivors, families and friends who came to walk and gathered sponsors.
We raised $1,220 toward our goal of $2,000.
We walk for a cause: to make everyone aware. Most injuries are preventable.
The support group meets the first and third Tuesday of each month at the Independent Living Center on Kalifornsky Beach Road, next to the Fish and Game office. For more information, call 283-5711 or 262-6333.
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