Joe Redington, Sr. has been gone for 18 years. Tomorrow, June 24th marks the anniversary of Joe’s death. Today Joe’s family and friends, school officials, Iditarod fans, Borough dignitaries and artist Patrick Garley gathered outside of Joe Redington, Sr. High School to dedicate the Redington Bronze.
During the dedication Stan Hooley, Iditarod CEO said, “My hope is that this remarkable bronze art work will cause everyone who walks by, whether that be the young people who attend this school or those who visit it less frequently, to be reminded of the place in history that Joe played in making the Iditarod a reality. But more importantly, I am hopeful that they develop enough of an understanding of his life and they make a connection with his undying spirit and his ability to pursue a dream even when others had a lot of doubt.”
Over the years, Patrick Garley has had a close association with Iditarod that goes beyond the Redington Bronze. Garley creates the 98-pound winner’s trophy presented to the winner of the Iditarod each March. Hooley calls the Redington Trophy the most unique and special trophy in all of sports. He says, “The Lombardi Trophy and the Stanley Cup may be better know, but certainly they are not as unique and artistic as the Joe Redington, Sr. trophy.”
Matanuska – Susitna Borough Mayor, Vern Halter, commented on the legacy of Joe Redington, Sr. and how important the Iditarod is to the Mat-Su Borough. During the dedication ceremony Halter signed a check from the Borough for $25,000 and presented it to the Iditarod Trail Committee. Halter and Mat-Su officials want to keep the Re-start in the Mat-Su Valley and donated the funds for trail work over Rainy Pass and in the Dalzell Gorge. Trail improvements will go a long way in keeping the race re-start in Willow for even less than optimal snow years.
Stan Hooley concluded his comments saying, “Certainly, we remember Joe because of the fact that we get to enjoy the Iditarod each year. But I believe that inspiring others to stay focused on their dreams in times of adversity may very well be his greatest contribution to us all.
The Redington Bronze named “Joe Redington on the Trail” by Garley was made possible through the 1% for the arts stipulation for new Alaska Schools.