Home | Ketchikan | Alaska | Sports | Waterfront | Business | Education | Religion | Scene
Classifieds | Place a class ad | PDF Edition | Calendar | Discussions | Moderated Chat | Home Delivery| How to cancel

There are many ways one could feel about the warning Standard and Poor’s issued to the Alaska Legislature last week, stating that the state’s credit rating might drop if Alaska politicians can’t reach a deal on budget reforms.

May is an extraordinary month in Ketchikan. We transform overnight from a quiet town in April to become host to thousands of visitors each day by mid-May. Local waters see commercial troll fishermen take advantage of spring fishery opportunities while the commercial net fleets begin preparing for their season. Sport anglers are readying their gear for the May 28 start of the Ketchikan CHARR Educational Fund King Salmon Derby.

Always hope

Despite all that might go wrong in life, there's still a way to succeed.

That's the final sentence in a press release from the Alaska Wildlife Troopers. The release is about the 1,500-mile Suicide Prevention Crusade of three troopers, beginning March 17.

The troopers, Darrell Hildebrand, Thomas Akelkok and Jon Simeon, will visit five school districts and 19 villages in rural Alaska during two weeks in March, traveling via snow machine.

Other troopers will go along on portions of the trip between Manley Hot Springs and Bethel.

The trip is to follow the Tanana and Yukon rivers as well as the Kuskokwim River. It follows territory covered in the 850-mile trip last year.

Hildebrand, Simeon and Akelkok will share their personal stories of how suicide touched their lives, adopting Applied Intervention Skills Training provided by the Department of Health and Social Services' Suicide Prevention Council.

The troopers' goal is to make sure Alaskans know to reach out to someone and talk about their challenges. There is always hope even in the midst of despair, the troopers have told their audiences for the past four years. Suicide is preventable, and they will hand out Alaska Suicide Prevention CARELINE cards.

The three troopers grew up in rural Alaska, where the suicide rate is epidemic. Alaska's rate is almost twice that of the Lower 48.

But Alaska Native males between 15 and 24 rank highest in the nation, with a suicide rate of 141.6 per 100,000 during the first decade of this century.

These troopers know about what they speak. Their message is valuable to all Alaska, and their contribution to the state is priceless.

Not only do they serve Alaska as troopers, but as Alaskans taking care of Alaskans.