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2024 Royalty 

Gigi Obren & Larry Kelone

Gigi Obren & Larry Kelone

Larry: I moved to Valdez, Alaska January 20, 1980, following a 3 day snowstorm. I immediately
fell in love with our town’s beauty. I had traveled here searching for the famous Alaskan Gold
(jobs and money), eventually working at Harborview Developmental Center until it closed, and
Providence Valdez Medical Center until retirement.
With the help of family, friends and small town love, I raised two wonderful sons here.
Gigi and I make adventures in fishing, skiing, hunting, gathering, and community service the
center of our Valdez life. Today I am known as the “guy in the green boat” (A Tolman Skiff I
built). This boat has allowed many people (strangers and friends alike) an opportunity to
experience PWS.
If I have to tell you why I love Valdez, it might mean you haven’t lived here. Amazing people,
outstanding educational opportunity, jobs, and the most important part, FISHING. Best kept
secret about Valdez? The FISHING!!

Gigi: (In 2002) I took a 4 month drive from Flagstaff after getting licensed as a Physical Therapist,
seeking adventure. Drove to Valdez when it was socked in, spent the night in a tent in pouring
rain, determined to get through an interview and leave Valdez forever. I met Roxann (PT) and
Mo, and hospital team, some families of LTC residents, had a lovely lunch at the old Rose
Cache, met George Keeney, and signed up for EMT class. Moved to town in a week, started as
a PT at hospital and began the EMS course on the same day, and never looked back.
I was so fortunate to participate in the Traveling Health Fair out on Prince William Sound, fit bike
helmets on a ton of heads, played in the community band, sung with the madrigal group for
Ren Fair, and joined an amazing funny and talented group to entertain for The Museum Club
Fundraisers and Frosty Fever. I’ve worn a lot of goofy costumes!!
This amazing town has so much to offer recreationally and I’ve tried to participate in many
activities (as long as going fast down a hill is not involved). Biking to work all year, x-country
skiing, snow shoeing, paddling, rafting, hiking, ice skating. Even climbed up on a stallion
shaped iceberg at Valdez Glacier Lake, then had to swim in to shore.
OH MAN, I met this wild man and then the real adventures began. We had kinda a secretive
initial romance at the hospital. I got “Larried” in 2009! We have fished and hunted and hiked the
Chilkoot, primitive camped at Susitna lake, floated the Wiluk and Gulkana, snow machined into
watch Iditarod, explored glaciers all year. Did I say we fished? Dip netting for Reds, mooching
for Silvers, Women’s derby, halibut, lake trout, grayling, dollies, cod, shrimp, SQUID, herring…
so much fishing. Valdez has superseded any expectations. On slower days, helping around
Epiphany Lutheran Church with flowers and yard work, pie sales…
There is so much to always do in Valdez, we’ve never been bored. Theatre Conference plays,
Women of Distinction, Arts Council, pickleball, amazing hikes right in town, a great pool, PWCC
gym, city recreational activities, and Gold Rush of course. So much pie baking, after the
amazing berry picking! Of course, fly fishing is Larry’s passion.
We are chocolates lab people. Kin is our lovely pup now. She is a ptarmigan retrieving beast.
And sweet as heck, loves all her Valdez friends and “aunties”, hikes, paddles, fishes, loves to be
on the boat, snow machine, 4 wheeler, (and her favorite delicacy is rabbit poop). And now she
is assisting in supporting some folks around town with her gentle demeanor, so following in
Larry’s and Gigi’s footsteps as care providers.
We love the generous way this town supports it’s own.
We have wonderful friends, and are part of the Valdez Fire Department Family. We so graced

to be able to call Valdez our home.


Past Kings and Queens of Gold Rush

2023- Sara & Steve Irwin Goudreau

2022- Laurie & Joe Prax

2020/21- Diane & Bobby Gibbs

2019- Laura & Jeff Saxe

2018- Hazel Hill

2017- Shannon Mahoney-Irish & Henry Irish

2016- Sue and Bob Smith

2015- Charlotte and Jim Shepard

2014- Lynne and Larry Michaud

2013 – Donna and Jim Gifford

2012 – Jerri Plaster

2011 – Larry and Meg Weaver

2010– Trudy and Phil Koszarek

2009– Russ and Molly Palmer

2008– Dave and Joanne Winney

2007– John Cerutti and Marie Blood

2006– Mike and Sue Britt

2005– Darwin and Mary Barrie

2004– Dan and Trish Stowe

2003– Donnie and Sue Blackburn

2002- Lori Saylors and Larry Hodges

2001– Lyle and Pat Von Bargen

2000– Lynn and Janese Chrystal

1999– Linda Fleming and Bill Unfer

1998– Walt and Gloria Day

1997– Judy Londo and Princess Krista Cameron

1996– Benny and Joyce James

1995– John and Jane Tongen

1994– Tom and Gloria McAlister

1993– Bert Cottle and Jean Phillips

1992– Fred and Kathy DiNicola

1991– Arch Fry and Dorothy Clifton

1990– Emil and Dorothy Wegner

1989– Clyde and Hallie Draine Ruhl

1988– Harold Williams and Cathlia Seagrove

1987– John and LaRue Rogers

1986– Harmon and Shorty Hall

1985– George and Judy Maykowskyj

1984– Robert and Ann Kelsey

1983– O.L. and Dorothy Crisp

1982– Mac and Sheila MacDonald

1981– Ed and Frances Walker

1980– Harvey and Delores Stellings

1979– Fran and Robert Larson

1978– Monte and Enola Olds

1977– Sid and Edith Moore

1976– Clint “Truck” Egan and Oma Belle Day

1975– Phil and Phyllis Irish

1972– Owen and Joyce Johnson

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