Traveling fair brings health and wellness services to Prince William Sound communities

Valdez Communications Manager
Alyeska Pipeline Service Company

On Sunday, April 28, I stood on the deck of the tug/barge combo Krystal Sea/Cordova Provider for the Prince William Sound community of Tatitlek. The sun was shining, the winds calm, and I was surrounded by an enthusiastic group of health and wellness care providers. As we motored out of Port Valdez, everyone was outside taking pictures and laughing; a good start to an important event.

For the last 13 years, Alyeska has sponsored and supported the Prince William Sound Traveling Health and Safety Fair. For eight days, the Krystal Sea brings vital health and wellness services to communities of Cordova, Whittier, Chenega Bay, Tatitlek and Valdez. Our theme this year was “Healing our whole selves,” and the trip focused on health and well-being in all aspects of life, from blood pressure to nutrition, exercise, boating safety, music and meditation.

Participants gave a thumbs-up to this spring’s Prince William Sound Traveling Health and Safety Fair. Photo courtesy of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company.
Participants gave a thumbs-up to this spring’s Prince William Sound Traveling Health and Safety Fair. Photo courtesy of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company.

There was a 6:15 a.m. provider meeting each morning to go over the day’s schedule and discuss any safety concerns. Then medical professionals set up screening equipment in the schools so that community members could drop by to track their blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other important health information. This year, the group screened over 100 community members- a great success!

We also brought along mobile mammogram unit. The “Mammo Van” is supplied by long-time partner the Breast Cancer Detection Center of Fairbanks. For women in these small rural communities, getting their annual mammogram means an expensive trip to Anchorage. This year, we were able to save 17 women that cost.

Providers headed into classrooms in Tatitlek, Chenega and Whittier to talk to students about drugs and alcohol, suicide, nutrition and other issues that are brought up by teachers beforehand. These are not easy subjects to discuss, and the volunteers had to be focused and prepared to confront difficult problems that bubble up in such small communities. I was so impressed with the grace, humor and compassion that the care providers wield in these classroom sessions.

Beyond the scheduled activities -there were easily over 50 of them- there were the smaller, quieter moments in the villages that I will remember most: teaching the two preschoolers in Tatitlek why some chords sound “scary” and some “happy,” watching the newly-formed Whittier dance team perform Maroon 5’s “Moves like Jagger”, and holding multiple babies in Chenega so their moms could eat or craft with both hands. When the tug returned Valdez, the weather had turned from spring back to winter, but the snow couldn’t dampen my mood. I was energized and proud that Alyeska sponsors such a special program, and that I have the privilege to tag along.

A big thanks to our partners at Providence Medical Center, Bering Marine, Chugachmiut, Cordova Family Resource Center, Breast Cancer Detection Center, Advocates for Victims of Violence and the State of Alaska.


Trans Alaska pipeline important to Alaska’s economy

From Alyeska Pipeline


A central topic of this year’s Legislative session in Juneau is what to do about declining throughput in the Trans Alaska Pipeline System. This ongoing problem drives much of our daily work at Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. We all want the pipeline to safely transport Alaskan crude oil long into the future. That’s the best outcome for both our owner companies and for Alaska. From our pump stations, to our Valdez Marine Terminal, to our urban offices in Anchorage and Fairbanks, to the Capitol in Juneau, there is a shared understanding among Alaskans that bringing on more oil production from new and legacy fields is the best way to extend the life of the pipeline, maintain the health of the Alaska economy and sustain domestic crude oil supply.

The challenges from declining throughput confront us today. Until new production is on line, Alyeska will continue to apply our professional expertise and innovation to address the pipeline’s unique challenges, as we have for decades. We will research the smart paths forward and implement effective solutions.

Because the pipeline is so critical for all Alaskans, we all have a role to play toward its successful future. For the people of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, that means continued commitment to safe operations, environmental stewardship, reliability and efficiency. For Alaskans, it means understanding our challenges and the importance of the pipeline to our state. For our elected officials, it means enacting laws that will help drive an increase in production and reinforce the prosperity of Alaska. At Alyeska, we will continue to do our job every day.

We look to our fellow Alaskans to help us out by supporting steps needed to stop the decline in the line.

  • Thomas Barrett is president of the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company.

From Alyeska: Alyeska fire brigade wins top awards at state event

• Submitted by Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. Communications

Alyeska Pipeline Service Company’s Fire/Rescue Brigade won the overall skills competition at this year’s Alaska Fire Conference. This is the 13th consecutive year the brigade was named overall winner. The competition took place September 22 in Sitka.

Alyeska Firefighter Kurtis Carnahan conpetes in the fire extinguisher event. Photo courtesy of Alyeska Pipeline Co.

The Alaska Fire Conference is an annual meeting of agencies such as the Alaska State Firefighters Association, the Alaska Fire Chiefs Association, the Alaska Fire Standards Council and the Alaska Arson Investigators Association. This year marked the conference’s 50th anniversary.

Taught by local and national instructors, conference attendees received more than 280 hours of hands-on fire training.

“This annual event offers a unique training opportunity for our team as it allows them to interact and train with other state-wide departments,” said Valdez Terminal Director Scott Hicks. “This event also provides an opportunity to demonstrate and share how to prepare and respond to an event, as well as learn new strategies and techniques for emergency response.”

For more than 20 years, members of the Alyeska brigade have attended the conference. The conference is not mandatory for Alyeska employees, but is supported by the company and benefits Alyeska as a whole.

“Here at Alyeska, we are very fortunate and extremely grateful to have this dedicated team on the terminal,” Hicks said. “Our team has done an exceptional job of utilizing operational discipline tools for their task identification, procedure development and then training to those standards.”

Conference attendees from fire departments all over the state attended the Sitka event. Photo courtesy of the Alyeska Pipeline Co.

Alyeska’s competition team is comprised of both Alyeska technicians and Doyon Universal Services fire team employees who serve on the brigade at the Valdez Marine Terminal. This year, brigade members in attendance were Chief Sean Wisner; Captain Jennifer Stubblefield; Captain Chris Steeves; Lieutenant Justin Major; Lieutenant Kurtis Carnahan; Firefighter Brandon Reese and Firefighter Greg Matthieu.

Alyeska had 100 percent participation in all conference training exercises and competition events. Several Alyeska brigade members took first place in categories such as ladder raise, make and break, bunker gear and self-contained breathing apparatus. As a result of teamwork and dedication, Alyeska’s team was named overall winner.

“Each brigade member who attended the conference and participated in the competition represented Alyeska in the highest regard,” Wisner said. “These individuals showed a level of camaraderie that is unprecedented in the fire service.”

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