SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Gift Honoring the Memory of Ken Eichner Funds KMC Memorial Garden


February 19, 2015
Thursday PM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - It’s not uncommon in a small, remote community for everyone to jump and help in the case of an emergency. Longtime Ketchikan resident Ken Eichner was one of those people. As a pilot and business owner, he used his talents and resources to care for people by participating in rescues and medivacs from remote areas of Southeast Alaska.

jpg Gift Honoring the Memory of Ken Eichner Funds KMC Memorial Garden

Ken Eichner
Photo courtesy TEMSCO Helicopters, Inc.

The Eichner Family is honoring Ken’s commitment by giving a gift to PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center Foundation in his memory. Their donation provides the resources for a very special outdoor garden space—the Ken Eichner Healing Garden—which is sure to be enjoyed by patients, families and caregivers alike.

“Although this gift is the largest individual gift to the hospital in the Foundation’s history, its significance has as much to do with the meaning as it does the actual dollar amount. By providing Ketchikan Medical Center with the funds needed to construct the garden area, the Eichners have furthered the work begun by Ken Eichner in providing care and comfort for people when they are in need,” said Patti Mackey, President of the Ketchikan Medical Center Foundation. “Their investment is inspiring and serves as a reminder to all of us to do what we can to help others.”

In 2004, Ken Eichner was recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with the Wright Brothers' Master Pilot Award for 50 years of safe piloting. His dedication and commitment also received widespread recognition in 2007 when the Helicopter Association International awarded him the Robert E. Trimble Memorial Award. The award announcement specifically noted Eichner’s volunteer efforts: “Eichner helped form the Ketchikan Volunteer Search and Rescue Squad…Eichner himself made many rescues. During his first rotor wing rescue, Eichner landed in the White River Valley to save a local minister. Another rescue involved a stranded goat hunter. Eichner and a colleague flew in treacherous winter weather, set up camp for two days in a cave, and flew the hunter to safety once visibility improved. Still another involved an airline crash in Ketchikan, which prompted Eichner to put TEMSCO’s entire inventory into the air to help…The list of rescues demonstrates Eichner’s bravery, commitment, and personal sacrifices during the course of his career.”

By honoring the memory of Ken Eichner and his commitment to others with this garden space, the Eichners’ hope that patients, their families, and KMC caregivers will find that the peaceful space promotes healing and refreshment.

“We are so grateful for this important gift. We know that time spent outdoors in the fresh air and natural light is crucial for both the healing process of our patients and the well-being of the family members and caregivers who are supporting them each day,” said Chief Administrative Officer Ken Tonjes. “The Ken Eichner Healing Garden will provide a wonderful place to be outdoors and is sure to be of immense therapeutic value.”

When completed in May 2016, the Ken Eichner Healing Garden will provide patients and visitors with an outdoor garden space with views of the water and mountains, as well as the many helicopters, floatplanes and boats that pass by each day. It will be located along Tongass Avenue between the existing inpatient-care wing and the new building with access from the Four Seasons Café. Portions of the garden will be covered by glass awnings making the space usable year round.

"As our local hospital moves forward in the future, gifts such as these will become vital to retaining the high level of healthcare our small community currently enjoys,” said Foundation Director Matt Eisenhower. "Hopefully this gift will encourage others to consider how they might get involved in the future."

The Eichner family requested the amount of this donation not be released.

Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews

Source of News: 

PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center

Publish A Letter in SitNews

Contact the Editor

SitNews ©2015
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

 Articles & photographs that appear in SitNews may be protected by copyright and may not be reprinted without written permission from and payment of any required fees to the proper sources.

E-mail your news & photos to

Photographers choosing to submit photographs for publication to SitNews are in doing so granting their permission for publication and for archiving. SitNews does not sell photographs. All requests for purchasing a photograph will be emailed to the photographer.