February 21, 2013 | Vol. 39, No. 8

Letters to the Editor

“Thank you” to emergency responders

To the Editor:

The motto for Alaska’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is, ‘Neighbor Helping Neighbor’ and in the past several weeks, I’ve been able to witness communities walking the walk, not just talking the talk.

Recently, a child was murdered in the village of Kake. Responding to the call for help, the Kake EMS and the community responded to one of the most dreadful scenes imaginable. In the wake of the event, resources flooded into Kake to help with the psychological and physical trauma surrounding it. Mental health professionals, counselors and clergy all stepped in to help but the volunteer responders in Kake needed time to grieve and begin healing.

It didn’t take long for the word to get out that the Kake EMS needed some support in the aftermath. All it took was a couple of phone calls and the region responded. In less than 4 hours after the request, both the Petersburg Fire Department and the Wrangell Fire Department had mobilized into 4 teams of 2 volunteers each to provide EMS coverage in Kake. Thanks to SEARHC EMS, we were able to fund the travel expenses incurred.

Their rapid ability to mobilize, deploy resources and network with each other and Kake EMS was astonishing to watch unfold. Their compassion, along with the blessings of their community governments, touched many and I can’t express just how moving it was to witness. It was also stunning to receive the multitude of calls from Ketchikan, Juneau and Sitka offering to facilitate with volunteers from those communities willing to donate money, transportation and manpower to help their fellow responders. I was truly humbled.

The community of Kake has a long recovery process ahead and it is hoped that by helping to shoulder the burden, however briefly, we’ve given them strength for the time ahead.

Thanks to the collaboration of SE Alaska fire departments/City governments, volunteer EMS squads and all the links in the chain, we have demonstrated just what our system is capable of.

Bobbi Leichty

Executive Director of SE Region EMS Council

Sitka

Revive KRSA radio station?

To the Editor:

On September 12, 1981, Philip Armstrong and four others died when their twin-engine Beechcraft Bonanza went down in bad weather off the coast of Cape Yakataga in the Gulf of Alaska. He was one of the founders of Far Eastern Gospel Crusade (now SEND International), an interdenominational Christian mission. The plane was returning to Glennallen, Alaska from Petersburg where the group was visiting a new project site. Their bodies were never recovered.

Less than two years later, on March 8, 1983, the project was completed when KRSA Radio went on the air from Mitkof Island. For nearly three decades despite limited resources, but with the support of generous listeners and countless volunteers from many places, KRSA remained faithful to its original purpose of strengthening families through teaching programs, uplifting music and public service.

The station’s signal eventually linked much of the Panhandle, extending to Wrangell, Sitka, Haines and other outlying communities. I had the privilege of managing KRSA for more than half of that time when it was part of the Northern Light Network (NLN).

The investment of so many lives in the radio ministry and the impact broadcasts have had on others over the years makes the news that KRSA is now silent particularly sad. In December, 2010, ownership of KRSA was transferred to a new entity, Sea-Christ Broadcasting Corporation (SCBC). The NLN gave SCBC a solid foundation, including complete broadcast facilities and considerable financial resources, with the hope it could continue the mission of KRSA. Although the foundation may no longer be nearly as strong, it would be an act of good faith for SCBC to do the same and now give complete control of KRSA over to a broadcaster willing and able to take on the challenge of rebuilding the ministry. Selling off station assets earned by others over the years will

cripple broadcast operations and make it nearly impossible for KRSA to return to the airwaves. It also would dishonor the sacrifice made by Dr. Armstrong’s group and all those who have worked so hard to have Christian radio in Southeast Alaska.

Given its long history and successful track record in the past there is good reason to believe KRSA can be revived through sound leadership and renewed support by the people of Southeast Alaska. Without it, there is a significant void in the air.

Andrew A. Mazzella KRSA Station Manager (1994-2010)

NLN President (1996-2008)

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