Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Joseph Virgin

Joseph Virgin was interviewed by Bill Schneider and David Krupa on October 21, 1993 at his home at Mile 140 of the Glenn Highway in Nelchina near Glennallen, Alaska. In this interview, Joe describes the history of the Alaska Central Mission and its role in providing medical service, a radio station, and the Bible College.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 95-71-16

Project: Wrangell-St.Elias National Park
Date of Interview: Oct 21, 1993
Narrator(s): Joseph Virgin
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider, David Krupa
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
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1) His parents' background, and meeting his wife

2) His religious background

3) Driving from Pennsylvania to Alaska

4) Early Gulkana and the birth of their children

5) Gulkana during their first year in Alaska

6) A boating accident, and their being sent to Ellamar

7) Working in the Glennallen, Lake Louise, and Kenny Lake areas

8) The 1964 Good Friday Earthquake

9) Vince and Becky Joy, and their vision of work in Alaska

10) The medical center and Bible College founded by Vince Joy

11) Vince Joy

12) Trips with Vince Joy

13) The Kenny Lake area

14) Homesteading in the Kenny Lake area

15) How the mission changed after Vince Joy's death

16) Work in the Chistochina area, and the arrival of the pipeline in Glennallen

17) What they have been doing since leaving the mission

18) Changes witnessed over the years: availability of goods

19) Changes witnessed over the years: transportation and values

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Section 1: Mile 140 Glenn Highway\ Philadelphia\ parents -- retired in Florida\ Virgin, Peg -- Folcroft, PA\ Virgin, Peg -- nurses training\ Kings College\ marriage -- 1955\ Northeastern Bible Institute\ Alaska -- left for 1956\ Central Alaskan Mission\ Joy, Vince

Section 2: religious -- background\ father -- worked for Pennsylvania Railroad\ Lord -- service to\ Joy, Vince\ village work\ medical work\ radio station\ Bible College

Section 3: trip -- description\ Ford Station Wagon -- 1955\ Edmonton\ Fort Nelson\ Tok\ road description -- June 1956

Section 4: Glennallen\ Gerdes, Ben and Daisy\ Gulkana\ home service\ village -- description\ Virgin, Dan -- birth\ Faith Hospital\ Virgin, Joe -- birth\ Virgin, Sandra Jean -- birth

Section 5: Gulkana\ people -- appreciation of\ Ewan, Fred\ Neeley, Hazel\ Ewan, Stella\ Neeley, Tom\ Neeley, Ben\ neighbors -- memories of\ chapel -- construction\ services -- Gulkana

Section 6: Tanacross\ Tok\ Ellamar\ Kelly, Al and Vera\ Valdez\ boat -- accident\ Paulson, Jim\ Kelly, Tommy\ Kelly, Debbie\ Brodkin, Johnny\ Tatitlek\ rescue\ Ellamar -- move to

Section 7: Huber, Ken and Gloria\ Glennallen\ Virgin, Peg -- medical work\ Cross Road Medical Center\ Lake Louise\ Hayes, Bob\ Twin Spruce Lodge\ Kenny Lake\ Homestead Act\ Kenny Lake -- first service\ Copper Valley Electric\ silver walls

Section 8: chairs -- order\ Easter -- 1964\ Good Friday\ Bible club\ Lower Tonsina\ 1964 Earthquake\ earthquake -- description\ Copper River\ Taylor, Al\ Taylor, Agnes\ Phillips, Eva\ road -- description\ Billum, Johnny\ road -- clean up\ Valdez\ Anchorage\ KCAM radio station -- relay messages\ deaths

Section 9: KCAM -- 1964\ medical work -- 1956\ Bible College -- 1966\ village work -- 1937\ Joy, Vince and Beckie\ Copper Center\ McKinley, Jim\ Johns, Harry\ old timers\ road system -- improvements\ Glennallen\ Chitina\ supplies -- dog teams\ railroad\ Cordova\ Kennecott\ McCarthy\ Glennallen -- expansion\ Alaska Road Commission\ Department of Public Works\ Department of Transportation\ Alaska -- growth\ Joy -- move to Glennallen\ mission headquarters

Section 10: Schneider, Dr.\ Pinneo, Dr.\ Vancamp, Dr.\ Flemming, Dr.\ hospital\ KCAM\ Caribou Clatters\ Bible College -- extension in Anchorage\ Association of Bible Colleges

Section 11: Joy, Vince -- description of\ pilot\ airplane -- PA 16\ Crawford, Percy\ Glennallen chapel\ Central Alaskan Missions -- director\ Joy, Vince -- death\ Kenny Lake

Section 12: flying\ Eagle\ survey trip\ Chicken\ Eagle School\ Ellamar\ Joy -- visits with\ Joy, Beckie -- death

Section 13: homestead\ Ross, Tom\ church -- land\ Edgerton Road\ diamond willow\ trailer\ Glennallen\ septic system\ water -- hauling\ water -- storage\ Helkenn, Glenn and Vern\ Bell, Adam and Emma\ George, Grandma\ earthquake

Section 14: Homestead Act\ agriculture\ Matanuska Valley\ barley\ rye grass\ hay\ farms\ people -- appreciation of

Section 15: Joy, Vince -- death\ Medicare\ Federal Communications Commission (FCC) -- impositions\ Bible College -- accreditation\ mission -- merger\ financial needs\ Far Eastern Gospel Crusade -- merger with 1972\ GI's\ Pacific Rim Countries\ Armstrong, Phil -- director\ Anchorage -- signing\ SEND International

Section 16: Chistochina\ Barnhart, Bill and Audrey\ Peters, Billie\ Sinyon\ James, Red\ Northcutt, Doug and Ceil\ Dale, Shep and Dodie\ chapel extension\ Glennallen\ children -- graduation\ pipeline\ Fairbanks\ Prudhoe Bay\ Valdez

Section 17: mission -- leaving\ Nelchina\ Copper Valley Electric -- power house\ Virgin, Joe -- mechanic\ industry\ Trans World Airlines\ Wright, Curtis\ Mendeltna chapel\ Virgin, Peg -- work at medical center

Section 18: area -- growth\ post office\ people -- recognition of\ old timers -- death\ children\ Alaska -- growth\ Anchorage\ whole sale discount stores\ goods -- availability\ Ewan, Oscar\ Gulkana\ diets\ fresh food

Section 19: transportation -- availability\ trips -- "Outside"\ road system -- improvement\ schools\ church values\ freedoms