On a trip to Wasilla for routine supplies,
Gail and Denvy met the borough mayor in the grocery store. She asked if
Gail was planning to attend the meeting that afternoon about the state wanting
to improve health care in the valley. After a quick change of plans Gail
attended the meeting.
had been ten years that Gail had been serving on the ambulance and observed
the need for medical care in the Trapper Creek area. Her kitchen served
as an exam room. That same winter she decided to record the time she spend
on medical issues. During that January she tallied about one hundred hours.
This was a documented need and the state acknowledged the need. They identified
a possible grant and Gail gathered data, developed support, and wrote a
grant which was accepted. Bids for a building were solicited and a practitioner
was sought. A year later a clinic was in operation in the RV first and
then a new building. A retiring doctor and father of a local lady donated
all his supplies to the clinic including the x-ray machine.
Medical Health Center was born. After the building was in full operation,
it included a dental exam room for an itinerate dentist, a metal health
office and bays for an ambulance and fire truck. In the process of securing
a mental health clinician, Gail found herself being hired for that position.
The most consistent feature of extreme weather
in Trapper Creek was the length of winter. First killing frost suggested
that the garden should be harvested by late August. It was the cool moist
long days that allowed gardens to grow from seeds in early June to a lush
harvest by late August. This typically was with cool weather vegetables
such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, peas, potatoes and the like.
Snow depths and temperatures varied from
year to year but there was the year where it seemed like it snowed two
feet every day and snow plowing was constant. At one point the snow on
the level was up to the basketball hoop which stood at the standard ten
feet. With that much snow the only view on the roads were straight forward
and back with an occasional break in the walls of snow which was an entrance
to driveway. One counted driveways to find your way home.
One year, during a high school basketball
tournament in Tok, interior Alaska, Saxowskys saw temperatures drop to
65 below Fahrenheit. After making some mistakes, they learned not to close
the doors on the car or leave it in gear. The battery slept in the motel
with the people and the motor was covered with sleeping bags and plugged
in for heat. Three vehicles from their high school went to the tournament,
only theirs returned intact.
Time for Fun
There was always time for fun whether it
was a Halloween party at the neighbors, a talent show at the school (Denvy
doing "I wish I were a rich man"), or hosting a party for the