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Duane Ose
Duane Ose

Yellow Medicine County homesteader in remote Alaska turns to Facebook in emergency

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news Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

FAIRBANKS, ALASKA -- A Yellow Medicine County native who lives in a remote and roadless area north of Fairbanks, Alaska, turned to social media when his wife continued to suffer debilitating pain.

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It may have saved her life.

The Fairbanks News Miner newspaper reported Thursday that Rena Ose, 68, was doing well at the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital with her husband, Duane, 69, at her side.

According to News Miner Reporter Reba Lean, the Oses live at Ose Mountain, one of the last homesteads created by the federal Homestead Act. It is about 15 miles outside of Denali Park and 77 miles north of Mount McKinley.

Some days ago, Rena began experiencing pains in her chest and arms. Her symptoms worsened and persisted. There is no cell service where the Oses live, but they have ''slow'' Internet access through a satellite dish. They usually contact friends via Skype, but it wasn't working on Monday when concerns about Rena's symptoms prompted them to seek help.

Duane turned to Facebook, and contacted a friend he never met, Bonnie Jepson, living in Massachusetts.

She arranged for a charter airplane to bring them to Fairbanks.

Doctors in Fairbanks discovered that Rena had suffered a heart attack. The pains she was experiencing were the after effects.

"This hit us like a sledgehammer between the horns,'' the Miner News quoted Duane as stating. The two had not suspected a heart attack and can only speculate as to what may have happened had they not gotten treatment for Rena.

Doctors performed surgery and placed two stints inside her arteries, and her condition has improved.

Duane Ose is well known in the Wood Lake area of Yellow Medicine County for his exploits as one of the last homesteaders in Alaska. He and Rena married in Yellow Medicine began homesteading at the site together in 1991. Duane initially had built a dug out, but the two have since constructed a log cabin home.

They live off the land. Duane traps and Rena, a native of Ontario, Canada, skins in a taxidermy style, so they can earn the most money from the high quality furs, the newspaper reported.

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