At Sidney Huntington’s 100th Birthday party in Galena earlier this month, the guest of honor showed incredible stamina taking pictures with numerous guests and taking in almost two hours of speeches and tributes from family, friends, colleagues, and even the Obamas.Towards the end of the program, Mr. Huntington gave a speech of his own. He shared a story told to him by Edwin Simon that saved his life in the wilderness. The story recounts how to keep from freezing to death if you find yourself wet and lost in the woods.
“Edwin Simon also told me that when you use a story, you tell the true story. A false story can cause someone to lost their life. Never use a story to make yourself look good…I always credit Edwin Simon for teaching me to save my life.”
After sharing this elder’s story, Sidney ruminated on some of the reasons he thinks he has lived to reach 100. In addition to quitting drinking and smoking over 50 years ago, Sidney models his diet after Japanese culture since the Japanese are known for their longevity.
“When you live 100 years, there are many things to be proud of. One of them for me is my children. Angela and I tried to set a good example for them and teach them to work — I am proud that they are all hard workers and have jobs all over the country. That is one of the best feedbacks that I could get for the example I tried to set.
Another thing I am proud of is my involvement in promoting quality education. I think we did a commendable job in choosing to and becoming an independent school district. Then with the vision and hard work of others that followed, like my friend, John Billings, we [Galena] are now educating kids from all over the country — over 4000 this year.”
Indeed, Mr. Huntington has much to be proud of! He has had an incredible impact on the community of Galena through his commitment to self-reliance, hard work, and education for rural Alaskans.