In the fall of 2020, as part of their legacy planning, Ron Stotz and Nancy Bandy established the Chilkat Valley Medical/ Health Fund. The fund was set up to be launched after being funded by their estate. However, the board members of CVCF elected to launch the fund today. Now the community can join Ron and Nancy in leaving a legacy and come together to fund here and now grants.
While Ron and Nancy have never visited the Chilkat Valley, their interests in Alaska go back many years. During Ron’s first job at a regional airline, he operated scheduled service out of Denver to points in Wyoming’s oil/gas/coal hot spots. During those years, he flew with several pilots who had worked on the Alaska pipeline. They supported the pipeline with small twin-engine aircraft, transporting the worker rotations and providing medevac service from those remote pipeline locations. Those former Alaska pilots and Ron had many hours of flying together when they discussed Alaska adventures. Ron was hooked. However, it took him another 15 years to get to Alaska. As a representative of an airplane manufacturing company, Ron visited Alaska many times, flying to many locations, mostly in southcentral and southwest Alaska.
Nancy discovered Heather Lende’s books about Haines in a magazine’s book review section published several years ago. She clipped that review, stored it, and recently found the clipping. She was compelled to ordered Heather’s books and encouraged Ron to join her in reading them. Their connection to Heather’s writing grew their appreciation for Alaska, and specifically Haines. They traveled extensively in western Canada. During one of their adventures, they headed to Haines from Haines Junction. But due to encroaching winter weather, they turned around before they arrived in Haines. They are eager to complete the trip once they can travel again.
The fund’s purpose is to assist those Chilkat Valley residents in need of health and medical services. Based on the needs Ron saw in western Alaskan villages and what they read about in Heather’s books, the fund will support medical-related transportation costs for patients and family members, vouchers for medivac insurance assistance, stipends for lodging/food for patients and family members, prescriptions and procedures, stipends for equipment like wheelchairs/walkers, hospital beds, or automatic external defibrillators, and other health-related medical needs.