Vicky Collins Online

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Remembering Uncle Ted

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I had a hunch as soon as I sat down by Scott on the flight to Anchorage that he was on his way to the funeral of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens.  He was in a suit with a Lockheed Martin pin and was busily cranking away on his Blackberry.  Once we were airborne we started to talk and he regaled me with stories of his days as a staff member for the Senator who died along with four others on August 9 in a plane crash near Dillingham, Alaska.  He told me of his travels around the world (he even went to Antarctica) with Senator Stevens when he worked in appropriations and budgeting on Capitol Hill, but one of his best stories was about a fishing trip he took with the late Senator when he was a young staffer.  He accompanied the boss to Alaska and was surprised to be invited along on a fishing expedition.  The weather was miserable so they could not go out to where the King salmon or even where the Silvers were.  Instead they found themselves in a pile of Pinks which Alaskans respect about as much as they do herring.  It was raining and frigid and they fished in their yellow slickers.  After a couple of hours their other companions went below.  Even the captain said they should head in.  But Senator Stevens knew there was a Silver salmon out there somewhere so he kept going.  About six hours into the trip he caught the elusive fish and they finally turned around and headed for shore.  Scott told me this was typical of the optimism of Senator Ted Stevens.  He referred to him as the “Energizer Bunny” a couple of times over the hours that we spoke.  The funeral of Senator Stevens is today in Anchorage.  It is hard to find a hotel room in town.  It is full of people like Scott who have come to honor the Senator and tell stories and reminisce about their friend, Uncle Ted.

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Author: Vicky Collins

Vicky Collins is a freelance television producer and journalist based in Denver, Colorado with a diverse portfolio of projects that including network news, cable programming, Olympic sports, corporate and non-profit videos. She is also an accomplished writer and photographer who is particularly interested in world travel and issues of global poverty. Some of her most satisfying assignments have been covering disasters, working in the slums of developing countries and telling stories of people who show great courage in the face of adversity. She has been in all 50 states and on six continents and many of her television stories and photos are posted on her website at To contact Vicky Collins directly email or tweet @vickycollins.

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