As one of the passengers on the cruise ship Empress of the North, I would like to extend my gratitude to the kind people of Alaska who came to our aid after our ship ran aground on May 14.
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I want to thank the Coast Guard and the various crews of the barge, fishing boats, tug boat and small cruise boat who helped organize and execute our safe passage from the ship to the ferry Columbia. Also, I'd like to thank the American Red Cross volunteers in Juneau who provided food, phones and comfort. They all helped turn a potentially traumatic experience into one that was much more bearable.
I am profoundly grateful to the crew, and particularly the passengers of the Columbia, who willingly put aside their travel plans to help a group of strangers in need. The outpouring of concern, care and comfort from these wonderful people touched me deeply.
I plan to return to Alaska one day in the not-too-distant future, because to me, Alaska is the ultimate vacation spot. The only difference is that I now realize that it's not just the beautiful scenery that makes it the ultimate vacation spot - it's the people of Alaska, too. Thank you so much!
West Warwick, R.I.