Jerry's gift is the single largest donation ever made to the ISU Outdoor Program. "The ISU Outdoor Program saved my life," wrote Jerry in note which accompanied his donation. "It saved my life in the literal sense in that the skills I learned at the Outdoor Program have made a difference in my pursuit of outdoor activities. In a figurative sense, the Outdoor Program made a difference in the time I spent at ISU."
Jerry says that the Outdoor Program helped him hone skills in winter camping which were used while he was living with the Kuuvunmiut Eskimos of the Upper Kobuk in western Alaska and while traveling by dog team through the Brooks Range.
Jerry was a smoke jumper in Idaho and, later, in Alaska. After a frightening incident in which his parachute failed and his reserve barely opened before hitting the ground, he decided he had had a epiphany. He moved to the town of Eagle on the Yukon where he worked at what later became the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve.
From Eagle, he moved farther north, to the wilderness of the southern slopes of the Brooks Range and taught in the town of Shungnak on the Kobuk River. He meet his wife, Deborah there, and after the birth of their first child, they moved to Seward, Alaska.
Jerry has degrees and endorsements in seven subject areas and speaks two foreign languages. He now teaches gifted children for the Eastern Kenai Peninsula Schools. He is Alaska's 1997 Christa McAuliffe Fellow.
"My kayak skills learned at ISU were invaluable doing exploratory descents of rivers in the Yukon Territory," Jerry said, "It was also at ISU that I started telemark skiing, which for me was an entirely new method of descending mountains."
"People with superior skills passed through the doors of the ISU Outdoor Program. These people and many other were the best in their individual pursuits and my life was enriched by knowing them. The Outdoor Program opened my eyes to new possibilities, and I am very grateful."
Indeed, we are the ones that are very grateful. Jerry's generous gift will provide many wonderful experiences for people well into the future.
Date February 3, 1998