If the lifeblood of any community is its helpers, that rings even truer when you live just north of the Arctic Circle. Helena Jones, 71, a retired licensed practical nurse, remains a go-to person for medical guidance and help in tiny Ambler, Alaska, a city of just 300. Her husband Scott, 67, an Ambler’s fire chief.
The couple—long a fabric of their community—answer the call. That means everything from helping deliver a baby when the weather is bad to suturing a wound or dousing a fire. It means being ready to offer advice gleaned from decades of nursing experience. For Scott, a retired commercial bush pilot, it means continuing to respond when search-and-rescue help is needed.
What drives such commitment to community? Helena, a volunteer emergency medical technician trained in CPR, says there is a special spirit of unity.
“Everyone takes care of each other,” she says. “Everyone helps out everyone.”
Helena is also Alaska Village Electric Cooperative’s longest serving board member, first elected in 1982.
Who is your health hero? We’re still looking for nominations of everyday folks like Helena and Scott, who quietly make a difference in the lives of those around them. I look forward to hearing from you. Please send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, be sure to check out today’s installment of the Changing Face of Rural Health Care—a look at the challenge of attracting rural doctors.
—Leon Espinoza, Editor