9/11 fire truck finds hew home

Tri-Valley Volunteer Fire Department’s Rescue 9 fire truck used to be Rescue 104 from Virginia. Rescue 104 responded to the Pentagon on 9/11, and its crews worked to remove rubble and performed search and rescue at the scene. Former Fire Chief Sean Fielding purchased Rescue 104 and renamed it for its new department in Healy. Years after the truck moved to Healy, a hazmat crew visited to teach a responder class. They were from the East Coast and when they toured the fire hall, they instantly recognized Rescue 104. They shared the history behind it and stories about its crew, according to former Fire Chief Rob Graham. The truck was on display outside the fire hall in Healy on Saturday — 9/11/2021. The department chose to display a flag that was battered and torn “as a symbol that everyone who was involved that day, have torn places in their lives that can never be mended.” 

The Denali Park Road will open to private vehicles as far as the Teklanika Rest Area at Mile 30 on Friday. Due to the cancellation of the annual road lottery, this is one of the earliest fall season openings ever.

Bus service ends on Sept. 16. The park road will remain open to Teklanika “until the snow flies,” according to the National Park Service.

“It’s a great way to get more access to the road with your vehicle, along with easy access to bike or walk stretches of the road beyond Mile 30,” according to a park news release. Bike and pedestrian access ends at Mile 43 due to the Pretty Rocks Landslide on Polychrome Pass.

Normally, the annual road lottery would be held this weekend but it was cancelled due to the Pretty Rocks Landslide, which closed the park road at the end of August. No special permit is required for anyone to drive a personal vehicle from Mile 15 to Mile 30 beginning Friday. Normally, traffic is only allowed as far as Mile 15, Savage River.

For up-to-date information on park road openings and wildlife closures, go to www.nps.gov/dena or call 907-683-9532 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Wellness callers

The Fairbanks Senior Center is looking for Silver Squad Wellness Callers/Errand Runners, who can call homebound seniors just twice a week to help ease their loneliness and social isolation.

Volunteers provide “virtual” companionship over the phone and inquire about any needs that the Fairbanks Senior Center can meet.

“Most of them are Meals on Wheels recipients,” said Laurie Lizotte, volunteer coordinator at the Fairbanks Senior Center.

Many seniors already have family and friends who check on them regularly, but some seniors have no one. Some of those seniors are caretakers for their spouse and occasionally need to converse with someone else. The calls last as long as needed, from a few minutes to half an hour or more.

“They just need some companionship through the phone,” Lizotte said.

The calls are also beneficial because sometimes they reveal certain needs of the homebound seniors, who can then be helped as a result, Lizotte said.

Volunteer by calling Lizotte at 907-452-2561 or the main office at 907-452-1735. Volunteers are required to pass a background check, sign a confidentiality agreement and have access to a phone landline or cell phone.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at kcapps@newsminer.com. Follow her at twitter.com/FDNMKris.