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If you could find the word in the dictionary, Alaska’s picture might be next to it: Stick-to-it-iveness.
It’s an Alaskan trait found regularly, but not exclusively, in Ketchikan. Someone gets a good idea for a public-spirited activity. Sometimes government takes up the charge, and an indoor recreation center is born, for example. Often it’s more appropriate for government not to be involved. But the common denominator is someone who grabs onto an idea like a dog on a postman’s ankle, and just won’t let it go.
It takes a certain, stubborn mindset born of hands-on experience to get some things done, and Alaskans have that mindset in spades.
The case in point this time rises out of Juneau, where John Gitkov just didn’t buy an engineer’s assessment that problems blocking restoration of a cabin near the shrine of St. Therese were “insurmountable.” Gitkov, a marine salvor who loved the cabin due in part to childhood memories from growing up nearby, demurred. Difficult??Sure. But not insurmountable.
“You know, we’re not having to work with tides (to repair the cabin). Anything is easy after that, in my opinion,” he is quoted as saying in an Associated Press report. “You just study up, read the engineer’s report and figure out what needs to be done. ... It’s just about hard work and getting people to help do it.”
The difference between a lot of people, and those of Gitkov’s level of perseverance, is in the will to do the hard work and the ability to enlist help. Friends volunteered their time and he assigned a couple of employees, too.
Now, the 80-year-old cabin — slated by the Diocese of Juneau to be demolished in September —has been saved and, according to Gitkov, could last another half-century.
Pretty good for something that couldn’t be done, huh?
Stick-to-it-iveness: Can’t beat it. No better place to find it than Alaska.