Resource Development Council

From The Executive Director - Jason Brune

Freezin' for a reason

‘Twas the week before Christmas,
and out at Goose Lake
Many creatures were stirring,
in a hole they did make

group photo

It’s 0°, and I’m walking around outside wearing nothing but my swimming suit and a cheap fake beard, looking like the love child of Osama bin Laden and ZZ Top. I’m not the sharpest tack in the box but probably not the coldest, either.

Our clothing was left
in a pile, on a dare
We had jumped in the freezing water,
effectively bare

I’m not alone. It’s the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics! I’m jumping as a member of the Bearded Seal Sport & Social Club, comprising John Shively, Pebble Partnership CEO; Dale Hoffman and Dave Hart, Pioneer Natural Resources Alaska, and April Parrish, Department of Natural Resources. Following us into the lake are the FrigiDares, represented by John Mingé, the President of BP Alaska, Mark Hylen, Beacon Occupational Health (and President of the Alliance), Rick Fox, retired Shell, and several others in the oil & gas and mining communities. These two teams alone raised nearly $60,000 for Special Olympics Alaska by Freezin’ for a Reason and jumping in the frigid waters of Anchorage’s Goose Lake.

group walking

In all of the fights we take on here at RDC, we often feel much more exposed than jumping in freezing cold water with effectively nothing on. Members of Congress use Alaska for their cheap environmental votes, national environmental groups try to shut down responsible development with blatant mistruths and incessant litigation, and Outside interests try to “Save Alaskans From Themselves.” Despite this exposure, RDC members continue to generously support their communities.

group jumping

While the Polar Plunge is certainly a unique event, it’s only a snapshot of the contributions resource development employees make yearround. Many of us are fortunate to have good paying jobs that allow us to help others less fortunate than ourselves. In fact, the average salary in the mining industry is over $80,000 and in the oil and gas industry, it’s even more. Accordingly, these folks are very generous in their support of Alaskan non-profits who do great work in our communities. From Special Olympics to the American Cancer Society to our local school booster clubs (and even many environmental organizations), all receive significant support from folks who work to responsibly develop Alaska’s natural resources. And this doesn’t include the generous corporate contributions most companies make. I believe many of these non-profit organizations would barely exist without the generous support of the development community.

The athletes we were helping
were special indeed
With visions of medals, camaraderie,
and speed


Despite the challenges they may face, Special Olympians tackle every challenge life gives them with smiles on their faces. Imagine what it would be like to face the challenges every Special Olympian faces. Indeed, through this event I realized Special Olympians should be role models for all of us as we live and work in Alaska. According to the Special Olympics Alaska website, “The training that is such an integral part of the Special Olympics program is truly ‘Training for Life.’ Through training, Special Olympics athletes not only acquire specific sports skills to prepare for competition, they also gain an opportunity for even greater participation in family, school, and community life.”

The announcer exclaimed,
as we got out all right
Thanks to your help,
our goals are in sight!

cold water

The announcer exclaimed, as we got out all right Thanks to your help, our goals are in sight! Financial contributions aside, many RDC members also volunteer with Special Olympics and many other organizations throughout Alaska. I don’t have the statistics to prove it, but I know in the boards and organizations for which I serve, years of volunteer time are donated by folks in the resource development community.

We Alaskans are privileged to live in a beautiful state blessed with an abundance of resources. It is our responsibility to make sure that these resources are developed responsibly so that all Alaskans can continue to share in the wealth of this great state.

I was proud to join a group of folks who participated in this year’s Polar Plunge. Between time and financial resources, the development community gives back to Alaska. But even more so are the rewards we receive from it. I look forward to next year’s plunge on December 17th! Won’t you join me?

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and all the best in 2011!

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