Adam’s a hero

Cooper Landing, Alaska

May 24, 2018

Adam was driving home on the Sterling Highway along the Kenai River after working on a friend’s construction job. He was eating Fritos and was almost done with the bag. As he neared the turn-off to his home in Cooper Landing, he looked over at the Kenai River and saw an upside-down kayak near the “Princess” rapids. He slowed down and looked closer and saw a man in the river. The man had on a life jacket and looked to be okay, but then Adam noticed another kayaker further upstream waving her arms and possibly yelling and screaming. At the last possible opportunity, Adam pulled into the pull-out and hopped out of his truck. He scrambled down to the river and hollered to the man, “You’re doing fine, just keep swimming, you’re doing fine!” He could hear the other kayaker screaming, “Save him, save him!” He ran back up to his truck and got a rope. He tossed the rope to the man but it didn’t quite make it to him and the rope sunk. The other kayaker made it to shore after seeing Adam, and she was calming down. The man, also seeing Adam, made it to shore. He was in fishing waders and they were full of water. The water in the Kenai is cold (about 40 degrees Fahrenheit) and hypothermia can set in, in minutes. Adam stripped him from his waders and wet clothes and put him in a pair of spare coveralls he had in his truck. Adam brought them both up to his truck and sat them inside with the heater full-on. There had been another vehicle parked in the pull-off, but by this time it was gone.

Adam drove them back to their vehicle and learned more about them. The husband and wife are Alaskan natives (Wes and Anecia) and they had kayaked the Kenai River in the fall when the water was much higher. They thought it would be safer with the water being lower. Adam asked Wes if he had any preexisting conditions. Wes said he had had a quadruple-bypass. Adam asked if he wanted him to call 911. Wes answered no. Wes was shivering but Adam knew shivering was a good sign. They told Adam they had prayed before they started the trip and God answered their prayers with Adam. Without a doubt, Wes would have died of fear and/or hypothermia had Adam not made the last-second decision to respond! In his typical humble fashion, Adam said he hadn’t done anything – Wes had on a life jacket and that was what saved him. But I believe Wes would have died if Adam had not responded at the last possible moment and provided his calming and comforting presence, and life-saving warmth.

Again in his humble fashion, Adam said it was a lesson-learned for him and the very next day he was ordering throw-ropes for each of his vehicles, and deciding to put a sleeping bag in each one, too.

If it had been me, I would have either not noticed these precious people in the first place, or panicked and kept on driving to try to find someone else to help them and by that time, it would have been too late. But Adam noticed and responded with his presence in the nick of time!

Adam was God’s eyes, ears, and hands to save Wes and comfort Anecia! A true hero, a life-saver!

Here is the text that Anecia sent to Adam the next day:

Adam, Thank you so much for your caring, calm presence and coming to the aid of strangers in a crisis. We thank God for you and wish the greatest blessings on you, Danette, and your loved ones. We will keep you forever in our prayers, with gratitude.

Wes is doing well today; taking it easy.

One of these days, we will call to say we are coming by with some frozen wild Alaskan berries. I was trying to think of a way to express gratitude for your selfless actions and thought of sharing what we might have which are berries; berries are humble, but to our Sugpiaq people, they are treasured, and gathered like our ancestors have done for thousands of years. The berries can only be a small token of deep appreciation for what you did. If you had not stopped and helped so well, Wes may have died or had severe health issues from hypothermia. He is not too far from age 70 and about three years ago, had quadruple bypass heart surgery. The doctor said he was good for another 100,000 miles, but that didn’t include freezing to death!

We say, quyanaa; thank you, thank you.

Anecia and Wes

Letter from Adam in Cooper Landing, Alaska, dated 5-15-02

Dear Mom & Dad,

I am enjoying a pleasant evening sitting in the cabin. I put in a good day’s work helping Tom out. Then followed it up with dinner cooked by Jason at the Sunrise. To top it off, I took a hot shower. Now her I am writing to you, an oil lamp for light and a good tape in the player.

Well, last I talked to you guys I was at Brandon’s, before we went fishing.

The 1st Float Trip

Let’s set the record straight. This was me and Brandon’s first float trip of the year. The boat had just gone through the de-winterization process, Brandon-style. I was glad to see the condition of the Dory. Everything was in working order. This took a lot of work. By the end of the season last year, the vessel was, let’s say it looked older than one year. Sure, it still floated, but it had seen many a fisherman’s wading boot; cleated boots, unseen rocks, visible rocks, tree branches, tackle, gobs of eggs, sardines, lead balls, big hooks, big nets, motor oil, motor gas, coolers, rain, the sun, and many fish.

When I showed up though, it looked almost like it did the beginning of last year. So once I saw the boat, Brandon showed me the rest of the gear. Some of it new, some of it old, but all of it was clean and in working order.

Well, great! Everything’s ready. Brandon made a quick phone call to a guy who was on the river that morning. The reply was, ‘Three, Three chrome-bright Kasilof King Salmon.’ We fired up the rigs and headed to the river with high hopes.

The 15-minute drive brought back memories. We were headed to a river where the fishing is completely different than what I am used to. Especially this time last year. The fish average 20 lbs. and are fresh from the ocean. The strongest survivors of thousands of siblings. These fish had been through it all and now, the only reason they had lived was to get up this small river. Strong fighters. Nothing was going to get in there way. Except us.

When we reached the boat ramp, we were the only ones there to fish. Which was good because the ramp was not its usual easy grade down to the river. There was a huge chunk of snow and ice in the way, about a 2-foot tall drop-off at the end. This was not easily navigable it looked. But we gave it our best shot and with a little tugging, we had the boat in the water and the truck and trailer safely in the parking lot.

We ran the shuttle and were back to the empty parking lot, that can get to be a madhouse at 4:00 in the morning during the peak of the run. Jumping into the boat felt good. I had a huge smile on my face and so did Brandon. Fishing again, the feeling of being on the water, everything was good. The sound the river makes on the side of the boat. The squeak of an oar in an oarlock, the shuffle of feet on the rubber floor, the call of an eagle, hell, even the sound of the flying rat.

We made it through the swift upper section and into the first hole. We were greeted by about 15 fly-fisherman scattered throughout. Who knew if they knew what they were fishing for. We weaved our way through, smiling.

I heard the squeaking of the pulleys as the anchor rope slid through them. The 30 lb. lead pyramid grabbed hold of something on the bottom. This was it–time to catch a fish. We rigged the rods and ran the plugs out. Now that the rods were in the holders, I could sit back and let Brandon do the work. He was going to work the boat through the hole at the perfect speed, in the right spot, with the right touch that would get one of these kings to strike.

Wrong, four holes later, we had gotten one bite that, I hate to say it but, I farmed. Missed it sure enough, our only chance. Brandon tried to make me feel bad. I blames it on the single hook we had to use during the ‘No-Bait’ season, which makes it hard enough. Oh well, it was a kick in the butt to be out again, and we both left with smiles on. Tomorrow was Mother’s Day–the fishing has to be good.

The End

An open letter to Adam


My Dearest Son,

Whenever I was about to do something that would harm you, God intervened personally with powerful visions that prevented that harm. This is utterly amazing, Adam – don’t ever forget it. God is not done with you – Big Things, Little Things, GOOD things are coming.

The first time He may have intervened (this one I’m not sure about), was when I was pregnant with you and smoking and I had a vision/dream of the baby (YOU) in my womb surrounded and suffocating in smoke. I quit the next day. Of course, I started again after you were born and smoked during most of your childhood, but not while you were in my womb, ever again!

The second time God intervened powerfully was when you were 3 and I was driving La Bamba (the giant Buick LeSabre). Your car seat was in front with me and I’d plop you in it but never buckle you up. I had a powerful vision one day of us driving south on Lemay Avenue, about to get in the left turn lane to turn east on Prospect Avenue. At that moment, a pickup darted in front of me and I had to slam on my brakes. Since you were not buckled in, you would have been hurt or killed by slamming into the dashboard and/or windshield. THE VERY NEXT DAY, I buckled you into your car seat for the first time and the exact same thing happened as happened in my vision – a pickup darted in front of us as we were getting into the left turn lane to turn from Lemay to Prospect, and I had to slam on the brakes. Since you were buckled in, because of that vision, you were not harmed in the least. God saved you from great harm, Adam, on that day!

The third time God prevented me from harming you was when you were about 8 years old and He saved my marriage to Wayne, through you at first, and then through a powerful vision a few months later. I had a moving van coming, an apartment rented, and was ready to take you to a new life in that apartment, a life without Wayne, your new father of about a year. I told you as we stood in the driveway on Plum Street. You stomped your feet and told me, “No, Mom! I’m not going!” My heart broke and I canceled everything – the moving truck, the apartment, the separate bank account, everything, and we stayed. Things were still not right between Wayne and I, so God gave me a powerful vision through my friend Jenifer. As we were sitting in her driveway in my car, after doing some shopping for Christmas, she took my hand to pray, and suddenly a vision of Jesus standing before a kneeling Wayne popped into my head. Jesus had so much love pouring out of Him for Wayne — it was like a two-by-four hit me upside the head! Instantly, my heart felt, ‘How can I not love this man for whom Jesus has so much love!’ It changed me. I saw how hurtful and petty my thinking had been. I went home and told Wayne about the vision. I asked him to forgive me and from that moment on, our marriage was healed. With Wayne as your father, and the marriage God had intended between us, you became the wonderful man that you are. If I had left Wayne, as I intended, you would have been hurt beyond what I can imagine.

So, my dearest son whom I love more than life itself, remember this when you feel God is not there. He saved you two times, directly and powerfully. He kept me from causing you permanent harm. He did this for a reason. He has plans for you and you can trust Him, always. Your life has meaning beyond what we can see right now. Always stay close to God. Trust Him and keep your faith in Him. He is for you, Adam, always and forever. He loves you and has GOOD plans for you. Trust Him.

How I love you and thank God for you, Adam!

Your Mom