ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Hundreds of Alaskans paid their respects to former Sen. Ted Stevens Tuesday, stopping by All Saints Episcopal Church where he was lying in repose to say thanks and a final goodbye to a man who helped shape Alaska.
Stevens’ family had a moment alone with him before the church opened its doors to the public. A steady stream of mourners filtered through, carrying flowers, pictures and memories.
People from all walks of life remember Stevens as a pioneer and a man who fought for Alaska's best interests -- and frequently won.
Many had personal stories to share. One woman said Stevens helped get her son into West Point, while another man said Stevens took time out of his busy schedule in Washington, D.C. simply to talk.
“He's been a selfless senator, put Alaska and the people of Alaska first,” said mourner Ed Hendrickson. “I think it's something to be honored and cherished, and it's an example for all of us.”
“I think Sen. Stevens dedicated his soul to Alaska, and he gave his life to it, so I'm here out of respect for that,” said mourner Lisa Herrington.
“Thank you for everything, for everything that you've done for the State of Alaska and your public service,” said mourner Vicki Otte.
“And I think they always had Alaska's best interests at heart, and what an opportunity for all of us who have been there all these years to actually have lived a part of Alaska history with him,” said mourner Larry Wiget. “And I think all of us want to thank him for his service to the state.”
Several mourners said they also stopped by because they wanted the Stevens family to know how much the late senator meant to them, and that they were there to support them during this tough time.
Contact Jackie Bartz at firstname.lastname@example.org