Before town square, the library, or Taco Bell
As the sun rises at 10:02 in the morning, a cow moose with a calf in tow can be spotted in one of many neighborhoods throughout our town. And as we drive by the V.F.W. there are likely to be a couple of bald eagles perched high atop a tree overlooking Eagle River below. There are many things one could say about Alaska; we have endless mountain vistas, an amazing abundance of wildlife and our vast natural resources can rival any nation across the globe. But Alaska is an anomaly among many U.S. states. We have one road in and out of town, our traffic pales in comparison to many cities around the country, a good 80 percent of our state is unpopulated and unreachable by road and this time of year sunset is at 3:43 in the afternoon. But these are only a few of the differences we have with our brethren in the lower 48. What separates Alaskans from the herd is our pioneering spirit. Alaskans have long been known to be self-reliant and to cherish a “rugged individualist” spirit; we don’t care how they do it in the lower 48, we’ll do it our way, by our own hand, and we’ll get the job done.
It is exactly this spirit that began a project of neighbors taking care of neighbors which has been a staple in our community for over 25 years. The Eagle River Lions Club, year after year, has collected and distributed food baskets each Christmas to 50 families in our community. Though it may seem small to some, it has had a lasting impact on others, and has kept this project going for over two decades. The men and women of the Eagle River Lions Club again this year provided families in our community with Christmas dinner baskets filled with all the trimmings to make a holiday meal to rival even grandma’s cooking.
This spirit of neighbor taking care of neighbor took a short drive north, and on Monday the Lions brought a Christmas feast to the residents and staff of the Palmer Pioneer Home. Over 25 years ago, while visiting an uncle in the Palmer Pioneer Home, a young man realized there really was no holiday celebration for the people who pioneered our community. A tradition was born. Now, each Monday before Christmas, the Eagle River Lions bring a Christmas meal to those who live and work at the Pioneer Home. They celebrate with food, music and colorful stories of times gone by.
While it is true that we are one of 50 states, it is also true that we are one of a kind. You see, before there was town square, the library, or Taco Bell, there were those who pioneered our community. They were our grandparents, parents, and teachers. They taught us about work hard, helping our neighbors, and what it truly means to give. As this holiday season comes to its peak, the Lions would like to thank the countless volunteers who have helped a neighbor, a friend, or a perfect stranger. Thank you for your service, your spirit, and the pleasure of sharing this wonderful community with us.
For more information on Lions visit www.eagleriverlions.org or call Amy at 301-9179.