Gene Baumwoll sent the following to Chet’s Facebook page. Very apt, considering our relationship with Snowhook Kennel. (Many thanks, Gene.)
All this cold and snow reminds us of the heroic tale of Balto.
In New York’s Central Park stands a magnificent sculpture of Balto the heroic sled dog leader who delivered the diphtheria serum to snow bounds Nome, Alaska.
In January 1925 doctors realized that a potentially deadly diphtheria epidemic was poised to sweep through Nome’s young people. The only serum that could stop the outbreak was in Seattle, Washington, two thousand eight hundred miles (4,480 km) away. The engine of the only aircraft that could quickly deliver the medicine was frozen and would not start. After considering all of the alternatives, officials decided to move the medicine via multiple dog sled teams.
On February 2, 1925, the Norwegian Gunnar Kaasen drove his team, led by Balto, into Nome.
Balto proved himself on the Iditarod trail, saving his team in the Topkok River. Balto was also able to stay on the trail in near whiteout conditions; Kaasen stated he could barely see his hand in front of his face. Balto’s team did their leg of the run almost entirely in the dark. The final team and its sledder was asleep when Balto and Kaasen made it to the final stop, so Kaasen decided to continue on. At Nome, everybody wanted to thank Kaasen at first, but he suggested giving fame to Balto as well.
The bronze shines where heroic Balto patiently carries New York’s Children on his back as they wander to the park’s children’s zoo.
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