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At the Heart of It: Two Years of Service in Nome, Alaska

Iditarod Spotting in 2018.

There is a certain bond within the KNOM volunteer alumni network…

While each year is certainly different – from the staff, volunteer cohort, station duties, to even the weather! – I know for a fact that I can bond with any former volunteer over our shared experience.

It’s a weird sensation that combines the tentative excitement of meeting a stranger alongside a deep sense of familiarity. I might already know their face from the many volunteer class photos that line the staircase of the KNOM Community House. Or instead, I might recognize their voice from an archived PSA or one of the volunteer-produced Christmas Plays that air in December. Whatever way I meet KNOM alumni, it’s like coming home. This indescribable experience of living in the community of Nome and being a part of KNOM’s legacy (something we try to capture, bit by bit, in each blog post) is something we share. I don’t have to explain why I’m here or why I’ve decided to stay. They get it.

As my final opportunity to speak about my KNOM experience in this medium approached at an alarming pace, I began to worry about being able to succinctly state how much this experience has meant to me. I realize now, that, like all worthy and great opportunities in life, I cannot fully describe my KNOM experience in a mere few sentences. After all, as former General Manager Ric Schmidt, and current GM Margaret DeMaioribus often say: this is an experience I will be unpacking for the rest of my life.

But even after that realization, I still had a blog post to write. And as I attempted to decide what my parting – but not final – word on KNOM and my time in Nome would be, I realized that the experience of volunteering in Alaska and falling in love with the community here was not solely my own.

In my parting post on the KNOM volunteer blog, I speak with Nome Resident and High School College & Career Guide, Caroline Proulx, about her time spent volunteering with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and how she fell in love with Alaska, too. Make sure to click the audio player above to hear our conversation.

Thank you so much to everyone and anyone who has touched my life while here in Nome. It has been a privilege and honor to be a part of your community in these last two years.

Image at Top: Caroline Proulx (left), Kent Black (middle) and 2016-2018 KNOM Volunteer Karen Trop (right) enjoy a brief pause during a spotter vehicle shift during Iditarod 2018. Photo: Karen Trop/KNOM.

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