Fairbanksans who were involved with World War II are invited to share photos to be included in a special display at the local Victory Day Celebration next month commemorating the end of the war and the signing of the surrender in Berlin.

Bring the photos with you. A formal ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. at the Lend Lease Memorial at 360 Wendell St. on May 8 in Fairbanks.

“As time passes, memories of the event fade and there are fewer and fewer veterans able to be present, so it seems fitting that we do this to underline the importance of their bravery and sacrifices,” Mimi Chapin said.

The Lend Lease program, approved by Congress in 1941, allowed the U.S. government to lend or lease war supplies to any nation deemed vital to the defense of the United States. Under this policy, the U.S. was able to supply military aid to foreign allies during World War II, while still remaining officially neutral.

The ceremony will begin with a welcome from Brian Kassof, a wreath laying, and an invocation by Father Andrew Wassillie, St. Herman’s Orthodox Church. 

Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Bryce Ward will present comments about Fairbanks and its sister city Yakutsk. A letter from the Yakutsk mayor will also be read, along with a letter from the Krasnoyarsk administration.

Yakutsk and Fairbanks have been sister cities for more than 30 years. Yakutsk is the administrative capital of the Russian Republic of Sakha (formerly Yakutia). Located in far-eastern Siberia, the republic is vast and sparsely populated. Both cities share many similarities.

Pete Haagland, former curator for the Pioneer Aviation Museum, will provide the Victory Day address.

Songs of Victory Day will follow, along with closing sentiments from Aleksandr Serkov. The public will be invited to lay red carnations at the foot of the memorial. 

The event is hosted by Festival Fairbanks, the Alaska Russian Center, Sister City Yakutsk and the greater Russian community.


Motorcycle blessing 

The Christian Motorcycle Association will hold its annual bike blessing 10 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturday, May 8 at the Harley-Davidson Farthest North Outpost.

“Every biker and every bike that shows up, we just give them a blessing for safe riding,” said Dennis Stinson.

Each rider will also receive a care package containing a verse and a sticker.

At 12:30 p.m., the group will depart for a 100-mile ride. That destination has not yet been chosen.

“It’s open to all in the community,” Stinson said. “Bicycle, motorcycle, it doesn’t matter.”


AAUW Scholarships

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) announces that it is awarding three scholarships, after reviewing 43 applications this year.

Usually, these scholarships are funded by the annual AAUW House Tour. When the tour was cancelled due to Covid in 2020, members personally donated funds for the scholarships.

The AAUW scholarships are awarded to women who reside in Interior Alaska and are returning to education after a break, advancing or changing careers, or are gaining skills to re-enter the workforce.

Here are the winners:

The Ann Rhian Memorial Scholarship goes to Roberta Riley who graduated from Howard Luke High School in 2005 and is currently enrolled at UAF’s community technical college earning a 2-year certificate in Information Technology. After completing that, she intends to enroll in an automotive technology program.

The Nancy Johnson Memorial Scholarship goes to Heidi Wood, a physical therapist with the Tanana Chiefs Conference. She is enrolled in a Masters in Public Health program through North Dakota State University, focusing on American Indian and Alaska Native Health.

The Barbara Matthews Memorial Scholarship goes to Sujata Neupane, an international student from Nepal. She did her undergraduate work in architectural engineering in Nepal and is at UAF working on her master’s degree in structural engineering. Her research deals with designing, building and/or retrofitting earthquake resistant structures.


Relay For Life

Relay For Life will be held in person this year, from noon to 6 p.m. on June 12 at the West Valley High School track.

The track will be open for people to come and walk laps, whenever their schedule allows.

Relay For Life is the signature event for The American Cancer Society.

When the event begins at noon, Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Bryce Ward will walk his first Survivor Lap since finishing his personal cancer treatment this winter. 

“We hope that all cancer survivors and their families join us for the opening lap at 12 noon,” said organizer Becky Zaverl. “The community can come anytime to walk and to buy a luminary bag for someone who has survived cancer or in memory of someone who has lost their life to cancer.”

Cancer has been the leading cause of death for Alaskans since 1993. The American Cancer Society helps Alaskans overcome barriers that include geography and economic disadvantages to receive treatment. 

“Services are available free of charge to all Alaskan cancer patients and their families, regardless of circumstances and 70% of the patients we serve are low-income, under-insured and currently battling for their lives,” according to the American Cancer Society.

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