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Nome city council honors Tom Vaden for decades of volunteerism

Image at top: Nome Mayor John Handeland congratulates Tom Vaden for his decades of service on May 22.
Image at top: Nome Mayor John Handeland congratulates Tom Vaden for his decades of service on May 22. Photo by Greg Knight/KNOM

The Nome Common Council passed a resolution on Monday, May 22 honoring Tom Vaden for his decades of service to the community, and his years of work with the Nome Volunteer Ambulance Service. 

Nome Mayor John Handeland read a proclamation of appreciation for Vaden aloud. He spoke about Vaden’s time as a first responder in Western Alaska. 

“Tom wrote the curriculum that was used for a number of years for training health aides throughout the region, and that has been something of a legacy,” Handeland said “He has definitely made a difference not just to Nome but to the region.”

Vaden moved to Nome in 1993 to work in corrections, and soon thereafter began work as a volunteer with the ambulance service. 

Over the course of a career spanning three decades, Vaden held officer positions within the department for 28 of those years. He responded to over 5,000 ambulance calls, the most ever by a volunteer with the department. 

Nome Mayor John Handeland reads a proclamation honoring Vaden during the May 22 Nome Common Council meeting.
Nome Mayor John Handeland reads a proclamation honoring Vaden during the May 22 Nome Common Council meeting. Photo by Greg Knight/KNOM

Vaden says his love of being a first responder – and teaching others about the work – began even before he came to Nome. 

“I’ve been teaching for 50 years, First Aid, CPR, that kind of stuff,” Vaden said. “When I moved up here, I just kind of fell into it and just loved it.”

Vaden has also volunteered as a race official and medic for the Nome-Golovin Snowmachine Race, the All-Alaska Sweepstakes Centennial Anniversary Race and the Iditarod. He has been the chair of the Nome Local Emergency Planning Committee and a member of the State Emergency Response Commission. 

According to Handeland, Vaden is scheduled to retire at the end of May.

Image at top: Nome Mayor John Handeland congratulates Tom Vaden for his decades of service on May 22. Photo by Greg Knight/KNOM

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