Mayor Beneville’s message to Nome: “I’m OK”
Nome Mayor Richard Beneville suffered a mild stroke on Sunday, January 19 at his home in Nome.
In an interview with The Nome Nugget by phone on Feb. 4, he reported that he is doing fine and recovering at Providence hospital in Anchorage.
Beneville said he woke up from a nap that Sunday and could not lift his right arm. Knowing that something was amiss, he contacted a friend who assisted him to get to Norton Sound Regional Hospital. There, the doctors determined that he needed to be medivaced to Anchorage’s Providence hospital for further tests and treatment. where he underwent a series of tests and was treated.
When Mayor Beneville talked to The Nome Nugget on Tuesday by phone, he sounded vibrant and sharp. “I want everybody to know that I’m ok,” he said.
He is currently in the rehabilitation unit at Providence, undergoing physical therapy several times a day and the work has paid off to the point that he has 90 percent of the use of his arm again.
The doctors, he said, give him a most excellent prognosis and will have a meeting by the end of the day to see when they will be able to release Beneville. While anxious to come home, Beneville said maybe by the middle of next week, he might be able to return to Nome. He said he was most upset about the fact that he cannot join city leadership on their annual trip to Washington, D.C. to visit with the Alaska Delegation, the Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers in order to discuss port issues and other Nome priorities.
However, he does plan on traveling back to Anchorage in the first week of March to be present at the ceremonial start of the Iditarod on March 7.
He said he is in good spirits, knowing that Nome residents reached out to extend well-wishes upon the news that he suffered a stroke. He said he received a get-well note from Senator Dan Sullivan. “A lot of Nomeites have reached out and knowing that my town is behind me has a great buoying effect on me,” Beneville said. “Everybody is my hero. I know I say that all the time and people say, “how many heroes can you have?’ Well, I respond, I have heroes in every department: I have mushing heroes, I have gold mining heroes, I have everyday people on the street heroes.”
“And don’t you forget it,” he said, “Hello Central.”