Shortly after hearing the tragic news of former Sen. Ted Steven’s death the morning of Aug. 10, 2010, the words “Thanks Ted” mysteriously appeared on the bulletin board of ABM’s kitchen. I couldn’t have said it better myself.
What do you say about a man who loved Alaska and brought fame and fortunes to the Great Land like no other in the history of the state?
As the world reeled at the news of his death – which happened the night before, resulting from a plane crash near Dillingham with eight others onboard, four of whom died in the crash with him: Dana Tindall, Corey Tindall, Bill Phillips and Terry Smith – ABM staffers grieved as well.
Press releases with memories and condolences poured in from government officials and leaders around the world. Everywhere you went, people talked about it. And at a Toastmaster’s meeting I attended that afternoon, speaker Dawn Williams changed her prepared speech at the last minute to a more impromptu one memorializing Stevens and Black Monday in what she called one of the five most horrific days in Alaska’s history, along with the Good Friday Earthquake of 1964 and the Exxon Valdez spill of 1989.
“Thanks Ted.” For all you did and all you were.
About a day and a couple hours after his death was announced, a Google search on news on him and his death resulted in more than 3.6 million results (and growing by the second). The former senator was a healthy 86, and remembered as being as strong and stubborn as ever. Vibrant. Alive. Willing to bat for what was right and help the people he loved.
I don’t want to remember his death. I want to remember his life and all that he did for Alaska. But I am forced to face reality as I open my e-mail, read a newspaper, click on the Web, or go out in public.
Thank you for your work on making Alaska as great as it is, for your passion as a U.S. Senator, for your love of people and the state, for your generosity, for your know-how, for everything.