This year’s Helen B. Clark Award winner had the town’s health in her hands for many years as a nurse at the old White Pass Hospital and later the Dahl Memorial Clinic.
Linda Bigham was honored with the annual community service award at the Yuletide Ball. For many years, Bigham was the only nurse on-call, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. No doctor was in residence while she provided health services.
“She was a great nurse, made great decisions, was compassionate, and understanding,” said Jeff Brady, who announced the award. “And she never really retired. Now 93, she is taking care of her 90-year-old partner RA Stephens.”
Bigham was not in town to receive the award. The family had to take RA south to a care facility last month, and she is along his side and hopes to return to Skagway some day soon.
Also recognized on Saturday night with a special certificate were Dylan and Natalie Healy. “This couple is willing to jump in and help out with an event and are active volunteers,” said Brady. “They are both active officers in the Elks, both volunteer Sunday mornings cooking the NFL breakfast at the lodge and other food events at both the Eagles and Elks, and they created and hosted an incredible haunted house in their home for Halloween.”
The late Helen Clark was the first recipient of Skagway’s Community Service award 29 years ago and agreed to have it named for her so generations would remember her volunteer spirit. The award recognizes outstanding volunteer deeds in our community. It is now jointly sponsored by Skagway Book Co. and The Skagway News. Every fall, nomination letters are accepted from the public, and then a selection committee of past winners goes over the nominations from the previous five years and chooses a winner.