All-In for Veterans Day

Nome residents prep for 2015 Veterans Day parade

As it is every year, this November has been a time for giving thanks — and not just with turkeys and gravy and stuffing. Recently, KNOM paid grateful tribute to the veterans of our communities and our state through coverage of Nome’s Veterans Day parade.

Our tribute involved nearly all of KNOM’s on-air staff; amid frigid cold and icy streets, volunteers Emily Russell, Maddie Winchester, Mitch Borden, and Laura Kraegel joined forces with news director Matthew Smith to provide live parade commentary. As it has been in so many other years, Nome’s Veterans Day parade — and, we hope, our live coverage of it — was a simple way of saying “thank you” to the women and men, especially those in rural Alaska, who have spent time in the armed forces.

Nome residents prep for 2015 Veterans Day parade

Nome-area veterans muster in preparation of the city’s 2015 Veterans Day parade. Photo: Emily Russell, KNOM.

As you might expect, there’s a long history of veterans who hail from KNOM’s listening area; in fact, of all fifty states, Alaska has the highest proportion of citizens who are also veterans (16.2%). This heritage includes the World-War-II-era Alaska Territorial Guard, a specialized delegation of Alaskan servicemen, ranging in age from young teenagers to senior citizens, who volunteered to serve the US more than a decade before Alaska was even a state. For more on the ATG, we encourage you to read “Called to Serve” from our Christmas 2010 Static; as we detailed in our newsletter, five years ago, then-news-volunteer Ben Matheson helped capture — and bring to our listeners — the local history of the ATG; he’s pictured interviewing ATG vet Franklin Okitkun.

Ben Matheson with ATG vet Franklin Okitkun

In 2010, news volunteer Ben Matheson interviews Franklin Okitkun, a veteran of the storied Alaska Territorial Guard. Photo: Ric Schmidt, KNOM.


  1. Jim on November 30, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Have you considered documenting these veterans stories for future generations and making them available in some means to the general public. While far from you, we here in Pittsburgh are doing that thru Veterans Breakfast Club, visit us @ If you would like our newsletter, let us know.

    • David Dodman on November 30, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      Hello, Jim! Thanks very much for your message and your suggestion. It looks like you’re doing a great service in Pittsburgh! We don’t have a radio series focusing on veterans, specifically, although elders from our communities (who are often veterans) have certainly been interviewed often on KNOM’s airwaves, whether for our long-form news/interview series or for other programs. Again, thanks for the idea!