NEWS | May 12, 2021

Palmer Mayor Edna DeVries presents 176th Wing with a key to the city

By Maj. Chelsea Aspelund

Palmer Mayor Edna DaVries welcomed the 176th Wing, Alaska Air National Guard to the Warren “Bud” Woods Palmer Municipal Airport in Palmer, Alaska for the Great Alaska Aviation Gathering with a presentation of a key to the city May 7.
 
It was a rainy morning with clouds hanging low over the Chugach range surrounding the airport as the mayor watched an HC-130J Combat King II aircraft from the 211th Rescue Squadron and an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter from the 210th Rescue Squadron arrive for the event.
 
“This is so special to me,” said Mayor DeVries, as she held back tears of excitement. “My son flew C-130s at JBER for many years. He is retired now, but it still brings me joy to see them.”
 
In her hands, Mayor DeVries held one of the highest honors a mayor can present; a key to the city.
 
The presentation of a key to the city stems from a medieval demonstration of trust and honor. Keys to walled cities were presented to only the most trusted friends of city residents.
 
Mayor DeVries extended this tradition of honor and friendship as she presented Capt. Matt Seakup, aircraft commander, Capt. Chris Brunner, co-pilot, and Chief Master Sgt. Andy Reynolds, loadmaster, all HC-130J crewmembers, with a key to the city of Palmer.
 
“This is a huge honor for the 176th Wing” said Reynolds. “The rescue triad is here to serve and to save. We’re everyday Alaskans here to take care of our friends and family.”
 
Over the weekend, hundreds of aviation enthusiasts, young and old, attended the aviation event where they toured the Guard aircraft and multiple other flying machines from around the state.
 
From young kids in bomber jackets and astronaut suits to retirees sharing stories of days gone by, there were smiles from end to end of the airfield.