DENALI PARK, Alaska — The ladies who volunteer to do all the work in the Healy kitchens for community events, sports games and lunches have always held my admiration.
Now I worship the ground they walk on.
All it took was for me to volunteer to drive to Fairbanks and pick up the food for the Healy Christmas Bazaar.
First of all, shopping off someone else’s grocery list is always a challenge. Also, I normally cook for two or three people, not hundreds, so this is all new to me.
I should have brought a sports team to help me load and unload everything into my car. When I finished loading — at 30 degrees below zero — there was barely room for me and my dog.
Danielle Mayo laughed when I told her this.
Mayo and Selena Dixon spearhead concessions for Tri-Valley School basketball. That means they drive to Fairbanks and fill their vehicles with groceries for basketball tournaments.
They do this for free, because they enjoy it.
Sometimes there is so much food that four pallets worth of food are brought to Healy by special delivery.
“It’s four truckloads of food,” Mayo said.
Fearful of running out, they always buy plenty.
Ordering online may be easier, but it is more time consuming.
“It’s always amazing to think that generally we can get a truckload on a cart in 45 minutes,” Mayo said. “We spend three hours on click and pull.”
They know how much to buy through experience.
Their reward is hanging out at school with all the kids and knowing they are helping with an important school and community event.
“I like it,” Mayo said. “I can’t cook, but I can fry French fries.”
Everyone once in a while, someone — like me — gets a taste of what they do routinely.
Selena Dixon, Danielle Mayo, Renee Mercer, Terry Pennington, Amber Renshaw, Tina Graham and everyone else who dives in to make these things happen — you are awesome.
As the new presiding officer for the Denali Borough Assembly, Clay Walker will serve as interim mayor until a special election can be held.
Longtime mayor Dave Talerico resigned effective Dec. 12 to pursue a new endeavor as chief-of-staff for Doug Isaacson, new Interior Alaska representative to Juneau.
At the Dec. 12 assembly meeting, the assembly will set a date for the special election. It must be no less than 45 days from Dec. 12, but no more than 75 days from that date.
At that time, deadlines will be set for mayoral candidates to apply.
The guesswork is already beginning on who will run for mayor. Walker, a longtime assembly member, said he is considering it.
Everyone is anxious to see who will throw their names in the hat.
Tops In Blue
It is worth a drive to Clear Air Force Station to enjoy this special show, Tops In Blue, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Doors open at 7 for the show in the ballroom. The public is invited. There is no admission fee.
These are the most talented people in the Air Force. I know its worth the drive because I have attended this show in the past.
Don’t forget your driver’s license, registration and insurance to show at the front gate.
McKinley Community Christmas
The McKinley Community Christmas dinner and party take place at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 15. It’s a potluck, so bring a dish to share with the main ham, dinner rolls and holiday punch.
Santa Claus is scheduled to arrive at 6:30 p.m. Parents should contact Kris Fister about this visit.
The always popular wacky gift exchange, for kids and adults, will happen at 7 p.m.
This year, also bring canned or other non-perishable food items that will be donated to Neighbor-to-Neighbor. It’s a way to help community members in need this holiday season.
Also, check out the new carpet and floor covering in the McKinley Village Community Center. The new carpet was paid for via the borough’s matching grant program and is newly installed as of this week.
The high school hockey team is raffling off two cool hockey items.
One is a handmade quilt “All Star Dream” signed by professional hockey player Brandon Dubinsky. The second is a jersey signed by Scott Gomez. Both players are National Hockey League players from Alaska.
Tickets are $5 from any high school hockey player.
The drawing is Dec. 22 at the Christmas On Ice event.
Cantwell Post Office
The community is invited to a meeting to discuss post office hours at 1 p.m. Thursday in the Cantwell Post Office.
The Cantwell Post Office is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. according to its website. The Denali Post Office is only open 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday during the winter season.
Most people I know can’t get to the Denali Post Office during those open hours.
So this could be an interesting meeting. Hopefully temperatures will moderate so people can attend.
Kris Capps is a freelance writer. Her column reporting Denali happenings appears weekly in the News-Miner. She can be reached at email@example.com.