Community editor and columnist Kris Capps is a longtime resident of Fairbanks and Denali Park. Contact her at, in the office at 459-7546 or by cell at 322-6334. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.

Denali Borough EMTs

New EMTs in the Denali Borough include back row, left to right: Kaila Pfister, Diane Brown, Tara Cicatello, Craig Brandt, Nat Shepard, Emily Myhre, Jake Hill, Ana Brease. Front row, left to right: JJ Neville, Caitlin Holloway and Jen Johnston. 

It’s such a good feeling to know four more people in my neighborhood are now official emergency medical technicians. It’s even better to discover that a total of 11 people throughout the borough earned that title after the most recent training sessions in Healy.

Dedicated volunteers are called upon to use these skills regularly in the Denali Borough, where all the departments are manned by volunteers. Congratulations to Kaila Pfister, Diane Brown, Tara Cicatello, Craig Brandt, Nat Shepard, Emily Myhre, Jake Hill, Ana Brease, JJ Neville, Caitlin Holloway and Jen Johnston.

This was the first EMT class sponsored by the McKinley Volunteer Fire Department. Currently, 10 of the 12 active volunteers on this local department are at least EMT-1s. McKinley Chief Dave DeCaro welcomes any volunteers who want to help out the community. You don’t have to be an EMT to help the department. They meet every Tuesday night at the fire department.


Nominations open

Now is the time to nominate volunteers for the Denali Borough Mayor’s Community Service Award. The nomination period closes on Jan. 10, 2020. The award will be presented during the Winterfest celebration on Feb. 22.

This is the seventh year this award will be presented, honoring borough residents who have made significant contributions to borough communities. Forms are available at the Denali Borough website, and at the borough office.

Each year, the winner is presented with an original piece of art by a local artist. This year, local photographer/poet Jimmy Tohill will provide the winning art. A selection committee will review the nominations and make a recommendation to the mayor.

“For a lot of our volunteers, this might be the only public recognition they get, even though they are all appreciated,” said Amber Renshaw, borough clerk and last year’s honoree. “It’s a nice public acknowledgment that a lot of people are doing a lot of things because they care.”

“Living in a small town, volunteers are what make the community,” she added. “You need those volunteers to make the extra stuff happen, to make the quality of life, and that’s worth recognizing.”

Past winners include Dale and Marge Nord of Cantwell, Barbara Walters of Healy, Karl Jewett of Healy, Kris Capps of Denali, Kay Hockin of Anderson and Amber Renshaw of Healy.

As a past honoree, I can attest to what an incredible honor it is to receive this award. There are so many people in the Denali Borough who deserve to be honored in this way. Nominate them today.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at Call her at the office 459-7546. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.