Gulkana Village Residents & Bank Employees Step Up To Help Housebound Widow

Last August, Shirley LeMaster was widowed when her husband, Alan, died. Stranded at Gakona Junction without a car (even before the issues of...

Last August, Shirley LeMaster was widowed when her husband, Alan, died. Stranded at Gakona Junction without a car (even before the issues of coronavirus) Shirley began seeing her neighbors step forward to help her. Here's the extraordinary story, in her own words.


Stuck In The Driveway
"The snow got so heavy here, and I needed to get fuel delivered. It happened about a month ago. The fuel truck came up to deliver and couldn't get in the driveway and got stuck. So I called three different places, and Jerry across the street. And his plow truck got stuck."

Shane Ewan Shoveled The Driveway
"So lo and behold, up came a couple of young men from Gulkana Village and shoveled that whole driveway out. It was freezing cold outside. And one who shoveled it by hand, his name was Shane. And I have to say, he was amazing.   

Shane Ewan Of Gulkana Village (Photo, Country Journal Archive)
"He came in, and asked if he could have some water. I gave him a bottle of water. I read the Bible in the morning for awhile, and I was amazed how he could quote from passages in the Old Testament and the New Testament. I asked him one time, Shane, where did you get such a wonderful knowledge of the Bible? And he said, I studied the Bible for a real long time. 

"He was very generous with his time.  He just went out, and he shoveled. He brought the shovel back, and put it on the porch. I couldn't believe it. When tough times happen... I couldn't believe that driveway when I saw it. I couldn't believe it!"  

Wayne Tyone & The Firewood
"Another person who came forward last summer was Wayne. He lives down in the village. He came up because we didn't have any wood at all. There were some trees on the property, and he sawed up and piled on the porch maybe a cord and a half of wood. And he fixed a log here in the house, to stabilize the building – it weaves back and forth in the permafrost. So he worked on that. He fixed an alternator on the car. 

"And when it got really cold this winter, he had no fuel and no wood. We sent some wood down to him, and somebody at the village was able to get him enough wood to get along.

"I invited him for Thanksgiving dinner. He carved the turkey. I have seen so much help that has come up from Gulkana Village." 

Wanda & Mike Brought Lasagna
"There's some people down there, Wanda and Mike. Out of the clear blue sky they brought up a big pan of lasagna. It just made a lasting memory."

Deena, Karen & The Staff At First National
"There's somebody else: Deena at First National Bank. She comes when I have questions, trying to clean up things after Alan died. She would pick up papers I had to sign, or drop things off for me. I don't go out of the house at all. She has spent her time on the way home from work, dropping off papers. She's asked to go grocery shopping, too. 

"Karen, the branch manager at First National goes way out of her way since Alan has passed. She deserves a great big huge thank you. Actually, the other two gals who work at the bank are very helpful too. The bank is so welcoming when you walk in the door."

Black Eyed Peas
"Somebody dropped off a little box or bag of black eyed peas or navy beans. Maybe it was left over from somebody who got too many things, or from a food bank. That is just so wonderful. I didn't catch who that was. And I don't know who the person is who plowed out at the well house. Whatever great things you can say about those people, they deserve it!"   
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