Empowering Orphans, Fueling Jets


I first met sculpture Dennis Gaboury years ago when he and his wife, writer Elinor Burkett, were in Fairbanks. Elinor and Dennis met when she was writing one of the first books on the Catholic Church’s Clergy Sex abuse scandal. Dennis was abused by Fr. James Porter. Porter eventually was convicted of molesting 28 children. KUAC interviewed Dennis when he was here and I participated in a townhall forum with Dennis and Elinor about clergy abuse.

Elinor and Dennis moved on, had postings in other interesting parts of the world and I lost track of them. Then I learned Dennis was back in Fairbanks selling dolls and wire sculptures created by orphans from Zimbabwe.  In fact, he had formed an organization called Zimkids Orphan Trust. Its motto is “Built by Orphans, Run by Orphans, For Orphans.” Its unique business model aims at sustainability. He and his protégé Tinashe Basa have been back to Fairbanks almost annually in recent years because of the deep roots Dennis formed with people here. Tinashe currently oversees day-to-day operations at the orphanage. But he is also a musician and he built and operates his own recording studio. He created the music you hear in this piece.

Also on the show: guest producer John Perreault talks with Major Ryan McElroy from the 168th Wing, Alaska Air National Guard.

And Chris Lott is in with Katexic Clipppings.

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