Alaska Remembers

Alaska Remembers

Merritt, Steven

July 1954

Alaska’s grocery bills are expensive and its liquor consumption literally and figuratively staggering, but the quantity of snuff used in Alaska is nothing short of astounding. Pan American World Airways alone delivers 700 pounds of snuff to Alaska each month, and it gets the same flight priority as fresh milk and lettuce. Some think that Scandinavian fishermen on the coast are the snuff users of Alaska-at one time during the war, the halibut fleet was held up in Ketchikan for several days until a stock arrived-but about half of Pan American’s snuff goes to Fairbanks.

One of the more remarkable women of Alaska is Miss Edna Thompson of Anchorage, registered nurse by profession, aircraft mechanic by trade, angel of mercy in times of crisis. Miss Thompson had served as a nurse in various hospitals in Alaska when the war began, and she went into aircraft mechanics to help out in the resulting emergency. She has not gone back to her profession on a paid basis, but earns her living making ribs for fabric planes at the Civil Aviation Authority hangar in Anchorage. She keeps a medical kit on hand at all times, however, and when an emergency call comes in, she goes out-to Kodiak, Kenai, St. Lawrence Island, wherever a broken leg, a baby on the way or some other crisis requires her knowledge and skill. In recognition of these services, performed without pay, Miss Thompson was recently awarded a silver medal by the Department of Commerce. Meanwhile she has been active in organizing the Alaska Nurses’Association, and the Anchorage nurses’ register.

-ALASKA MAGAZINE ARCHIVES

From Ketchikan to Barrow is edited by STKVEN MERRITT

Copyright Morris Communications Jul 2004

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