Ethel Lund of Juneau has been added to the list of people who will carry the Olympic torch when the Olympic Torch Relay makes its way to Juneau on Jan. 24.
The addition of Lund and Linda Hayes of North Pole bring the list of Alaska's torchbearers to 32, but local torch committee officials say the list could grow to about 45-50 runners before the torch gets to town.
Lund, 70, is one of the founders of the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) and served as the group's president for more than 20 years. She retired from SEARHC in April 2000 after building the Alaska Native healthcare organization from a budget of $233,000 and 20 employees in 1976 to nearly 700 employees and a budget of about $46 million when she retired. SEARHC runs the Mount Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka in addition to clinics in Juneau, Ketchikan and on Prince of Wales Island.
"I'm not sure what my role will be, but I'm very honored and delighted to be included," Lund said. "Absolutely, this is overwhelming to me, that the torch is coming to Juneau before making its way down there (to the 2002
Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah). This is very exciting. I'm very happy for us here in Juneau to be able to witness and be a part of it."
Lund will be joined in the relay by five other current Juneau residents -- Ray Vidic, Sabrina Richmond, Niall Johnson, Constance Trollan and Joanna Goldman. Two recent former Juneau residents -- Mike Miller of Beaverton, Ore., and Wendie Marriott of Unalaska -- will also take part in the relay.
Jack Eddy of Petersburg is also on the list of torchbearers.
"What this means to me is the torch is a symbol of everything healthy and good, not only in competition but doing the best you can in whatever field you choose," Lund said. "It's a great invigorator. The symbology is needed, especially today."
Besides those from Southeast, the other Alaska torchbearers include Col. Norman Vaughan, Cathy Choi, Robert Forgit, Marietta Hall, Deana Johnson, Joy Maples, Jody McCarrey, Nick Parker, Kirsten Rasmussen, Brian Ryan, Linda Sopp, Jean Vreeman, Michelle Webb and Chuck Whelan, all of Anchorage; Dan
Coleman of Eagle River; Erik Drygas, Ryan Chapman, Joy McDonald and Nicholas Pulice, all of Fairbanks; Jody Burcham of Kodiak; Mandy Anderson of Unalaska; Hayes of North Pole; and Carolyn Lee Crusey of Wasilla.
The torchbearers were nominated this spring and 30 of the 32 Alaska names were announced in October. Torchbearers were selected based on how they epresent the Olympic ideals and how they inspire their communities. There were more than 11,500 tochbearers selected nationwide out of more than 210,000 nominations.
The Olympic Torch Relay started on Dec. 4 in Atlanta and the torch will visit 46 states in its journey of more than 13,500 miles to Salt Lake City.
The torch's visit to Juneau on Jan. 24 is the first time the Olympic flame has visited the state of Alaska.
The Juneau Department of Parks and Recreation has Olympic Torch Relay t-shirts and baseball caps for sale at its office. The department is also ooking for volunteers to help with the relay when it visits Juneau, from decorating the route to hosting an out-of-town torchbearer or being a support runner. For more information, call the Juneau Department of Parks and Recreation at 586-5226.
Charles Bingham can be reached at email@example.com.