49 Voices: Lewis Pagel of Kotzebue

Lewis Pagel of Kotzebue (Photo by Anne Hillman, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage)

This week we’re hearing from Lewis Pagel in Kotzebue. Pagel is a chiropractor who also serves on the local city council.

Listen now

PAGEL: You know, I was practicing in Minnesota. My wife was a public defender down there, and I was a chiropractor. And we just kinda got sick of living in Minnesota. We’re from Wisconsin originally, and there’s a football battle there that we played into pretty good. And we weren’t really attached to anything, so we decided to strike out on a new adventure, and saw a posting for a chiropractor clinic here in Kotzebue. And I said, “Yeah. If you wanna move to Alaska, I’ll try it out.”

We came up here thinking we might stick up here for a couple years and move on and try something new. But we fell in love with it. Been here for just about 11 years now.

I’m a big outdoors person, lots of fishing, lots of hunting, riding snowmachines all winter and spring long. And this just seems to be the best place in the world to do it.

This last weekend (in March), my hunting partner and I were out looking for musk ox. He had a tag. And it was a windy, stormy day but we found a herd and made a good stock. Now I’ve got a musk ox down in the shop and in the garage that we’re working on cutting up. And I had musk ox burger for lunch today.

We moved a few places when we were younger, my wife and I. Most of the communities seemed to be really clique-y that we moved to. But when we got here, it seemed a little different, kinda just one big clique. Everybody here seems to help each other out more than my experience in the Lower 48.

I think a lot of people try to avoid local politics, so when someone puts their name in the hat, oftentimes they’ll get the privilege, so to speak, of being able to serve the public. And I’ve always been a public servant my whole life. I serve people. That’s what I love to do.