My name is Steve MacSwain Jr. As a lifelong Alaskan I have met amazing people from our great State throughout my life. Rick Koch is one of them. I first met Rick while I played for the Anchorage Aces around 1998. He offered me a ride one day at the airport as I was stranded and he was there to pick up Dallas Ferguson who is now the Head Hockey Coach at the University of Alaska.
Dallas had always spoken so highly of Rick and I could see why on my first meeting with him not to mention I was thankful for the ride.
Over the years I would see Rick and his son Alex at sporting events around the State and we would always seem to end up hanging out. Rick and his son Alex always made us feel comfortable as my son had developed a serious seizure disorder after beating Leukemia. Rick did not avoid us he showed great compassion and support.
Years later Rick hired me to run the Palmer Ice Arena. This is where I got to see Rick the leader. I saw Rick in the trenches from being the head of Public Works where he got things done. Rick was my supervisor and he earned my respect as a true leader and gentlemen. Rick is a tireless worker who inspired me.
When Rick moved to Kenai I have to admit I was sad to see him move from Palmer, but on the other hand I have always felt I was a Peninsula boy and having Rick as the city manager in Kenai made me feel the city would be in great hands.
I have been almost all around the world in my playing hockey days and I have told everyone I have ever met that the Kenai Peninsula is the most beautiful place in the world. I was born in Seward Alaska in 1965 and lived in both Seward and Kenai as a child. My Grandfather Scotty McRae owned Seward Builder’s Supply. After surviving the Great Alaska Earthquake in 1964 the family moved to Kenai where Grandpa worked for Stan Thompson at Thompson Hardware until he became the Director of Buildings and Grounds for the Kenai Peninsula Borough. My Grandpa Scotty and Grandma Margaret McRae’s love of the Kenai Peninsula was passed to me.
So like most lifelong Alaskan’s I don’t like when some outsider comes around and starts talking about issues in the area that they do not live. I have fished set-net sites in Ninilchik growing up and have loved fishing every river I could find with my pole as well.
But one day I will again live on the Kenai Peninsula. I have a cabin in Ninilchik where my Grandma Rose Leman MacSwain grew up. My Grandma Rose’s Grandpa was Joe Cooper, the man that Cooper Landing was named after. So I have deep roots in this wonderful place of the world and that is why I write for Rick Koch. I believe Rick has the knowledge-leadership and strength to keep this The Best Place in the World. I trust Rick to grow and develop this great area the right way Rick gets things done. He is a good man and I’m proud to call him a friend. So until the day comes that I get to fully live in this area I dream of living one day I hope and pray good people like Rick are doing the right things to keep it beautiful and prosperous.