Tributes to a Dedicated VISIONS Alaska Community Partner

Don Doty was a long-time dear friend and partner on our VISIONS Alaska program. Don first got involved with VISIONS teen volunteers in 1997 during a bridge building project in Mentasta Village. He brought his portable chainsaw mill down from Tok and taught kids how to mill timbers for the bridge decking. After the bridge was completed, Don stayed involved in many more Alaska programs, particularly if there was milling to be done or guitars and music to be played.

Below are a couple of tributes to Don, from one of our long-time VISIONS Alaska Directors and leaders, Amanda Pincock, and Janet and Brad Hubbard.

“Don was a staple in our VISIONS adventures and projects in Alaska. Every summer we spent many of our work days in groups at his house, milling lumber with the mill he built. Our high school volunteers were able to mill the wood from felled trees themselves. They also learned how to take care of the mill, how to oil a chainsaw chain, and the tricky and satisfying work of making their own piece of lumber. He really helped them take ownership of the projects..

Don also loved simply spending time with our teens. He loved to sing and play guitar with them, and talk with them about their lives and about his time in Alaska. He became someone many kids looked up to and kept in touch with after leaving the summer program. Kids would ask daily if they could be put on his work group, or at least go spend their free time with him. (My guess is that they really came to love his realistic, no-fluff way of talking to people, which is something I also loved about DonI did.) He felt lucky to work with VISIONS, and he respected the kids who chose to spend their summer participating in the program. He proudly wore his VISIONS hats and t-shirts, and when he met new participants each summer, he greeted them like old friends.”

—Amanda Pincock

“Don was genuine in a way that few people are in the modern day. He was resourceful, kind, and hard edged all at the same time. He was a straight shooter with his words, and he didn’t let other people’s ideas about how he ‘should’ live rule his life. He wouldn’t let you do that in his presence either, whether you were 17 or 45.

In friendship—and with VISIONS teens and our own children over the years—Don called people to be attentive to detail, whether it was with a slab of wood or in the way you lived and your values. He urged you to use your heart and mind together with confidence and as a way to bring joy into your own world and the lives of those around you. He was a bright spot of fierce and free love in our lives. Don was a treasure of a peace-loving, backwoods, Alaska music man.”

—Janet & Brad Hubbard

VISIONS in The New York Times