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Henry Egon Aldrich, 58, died Nov. 3, 2018, in Ketchikan. He was born Nov.
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Wednesday marked a proud moment for Vigor Alaska.

Since 2014, the firm has been constructing a new state ferry at the Ketchikan Shipyard. Passers-by like ourselves have enjoyed seeing the ferry take shape over time. But watching construction is easy — actually building the ship isn’t simple. Vigor Alaska has accomplished much in bringing the project to the point of floating the ferry for the first time on Wednesday afternoon.

To us, the 280-foot ship named Tazlina simply looked wonderful on the water. We imagine the thoughts of the people involved with the Tazlina project included pride and a sense of accomplishment as they watched the vessel float free of the drydock, successfully completing another step of a long process.

Now, they’ll work to fully complete the vessel and ready it for service. Christening is scheduled for July 14. We have not heard specific deployment timing.

When Tazlina does begin service, it will do so as the first Alaska Marine Highway System ferry to have been constructed in Alaska.

That fact speaks highly of many people, from the State of Alaska administration of then-Gov. Sean Parnell, which committed to having the Alaska Class ferries built in the state, to the state legislators and local officials who’ve supported the project in many ways over time. Ultimately, it speaks most highly of the men and women of Vigor Alaska, its subcontractors and other entities who’ve taken the plans and resources made available for the project and built a ship that’s now afloat in Tongass Narrows and is expected to be providing service in Southeast Alaska very soon.

Congratulations to you on reaching this point. We’re proud of your accomplishments to date, and we’re thrilled that it’s all taking place right here in the First City at the Ketchikan Shipyard.