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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Thank You Dial

By Jasen Hansen


September 24, 2022

To the editor,?

I graduated from Ketchikan high school in 1993 and then proceeded to take classes at the Ketchikan campus of the University of Alaska SE until my father's passing in early 1996 that took me off island. I finally found my way back home in early 2014 when my son was 6 months old and my wife and I were looking for a wonderful community to raise our son in. It was shortly after moving back that I met Rodney Dial and was immediately impressed with his love for the community and more specifically the people of the community.  

We did not spend a lot of time together though, so I would be lying if I told you that I knew his true character at that time.  I wouldn't have hesitated to say that he was a friend, but that was more to do with his cordial demeanor every time we spoke than being able to point to shared experiences. Every time we spoke though, his passion for the community of Ketchikan and the people was evident. I had no idea how hard he worked behind the scenes putting that love and passion into action and quite honestly am still unaware of his countless hours of service.  

I do know one thing clearly now though and that his service is to the community and for the community comes out of sincere love for the town and people of Ketchikan.  I can say that unequivocally and I would like to share how I know this to be true.

In 2020, in the middle of the pandemic my wife and I made a very difficult and life changing decision. We decided to leave the town we loved dearly (planned to raise our son in), sell our house we scrimped and saved to buy, uproot our family, and sign on to be missionaries.  We needed to raise support in order to become full time missionaries and so we began talking to close friends and family.  I decided to reach out to Rodney even though again although we had engaged in several very friendly conversations and I would have called him a friend, our interactions were always centered around a group event and not because we spent our free time together.

He graciously agreed to meet me at the Landing one day for lunch and I told him about my wife and I's desire to become missionaries. He was positive and supportive of our endeavor and then began to tell me why he worked so hard for the Ketchikan community.  His love and passion for the people of Ketchikan again became so evident.  His desire to serve the people and strive to do what is right for the people came to the forefront of the conversation.  This is where the skeptic (and believe me I am a skeptic at heart when it comes to politicians) says talk is cheap.  Rodney Dial follows his words with actions that confirm time and time again that when he talks about love and service for his community that they are not just slick words without substance. Rodney Dial that day told me that although he is paid to be the Ketchikan Gateway Borough mayor that he does not do it for the pay and he wanted to donate a generous portion of that money monthly to help support us in the mission field.  

Every month he supports us, so we can serve people with our time.  My wife and I on a weekly basis meet with widows and the elderly.  Sometimes it is just for a visit and often it is to help them with projects around their house or yard that they are unable to do on their own.  I give people rides to medical appointments, I haul trash to the landfill, I have sat and held the hand of someone in hospice who just needed someone by their side and I have watched them take their last breath.  

We serve the kids in the community, organize activities for them, and work regularly in the schools. I serve as a camp counselor during the summer, coach kids soccer, and my wife volunteered to watch kids after school while they waited for parents to get off of work.  She is currently making blankets for the schools with some other ladies in the community to be used as emotional support blankets by the school counselors.

We have worked with the homeless to find suitable and affordable housing.  We have helped people to find jobs. I have spent countless hours working with people who have addiction problems and my wife has helped women who were in abusive relationships.

There are so many more things we do daily that I could tell you about, but I do not do it to toot our own horn.  The fact is that being able to serve is the reward for us and we get to do it full time in part because of Rodney Dial's support of us. He believes in what we are doing and wants to be a part of it, because that is the way he feels about serving the people and community of Ketchikan.  He could have easily given me kind words that day, smiled, and told me good luck. Instead, he chose to financially support us so we could serve people full time with the same passion that he serves Ketchikan.  We would not be missionaries right now if it were not for Rodney Dial and we are so very grateful.  The people that we serve daily may not know  Rodney Dial, but they appreciate the service we are able to provide them thanks to him.  

We miss our friends and family in Ketchikan, but are so thankful knowing that Rodney Dial is there serving them.  Thank you Rodney for selflessly working so hard for Ketchikan and by generously supporting us allowing us to serve a community with the same passion even if in a different capacity.


Jasen Hansen
San de Fuca, Washington USA





Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.

Opinions expressed are solely those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Sitnews.

Received September 22, 2022 - Published September 24, 2022

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