Hannah Solomon’s lifelong example of giving, caring and sharing, intertwined with love and respect, was returned many times over at her 102nd birthday celebration Sunday.
The Athabascan matriarch was greeted with a rousing version of “Happy Birthday” as she entered St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church hall for the afternoon party.
The longtime St. Matthew’s parishioner was among the founders of the Fairbanks Native Association. Later, she worked as a social worker for the organization.
Once everyone was served, Hannah led the speech making, in English, interspersed with her Native Gwich’in.
“I am very glad I am here with you. When they open my door and there was snow; next year when they see snow, people are going to remember me,” she said.
“God bless you. Such a long life I have, but we are not here alone. God is taking care of us.
“Be careful when you go home,” she concluded, referring to the icy roads. “I’ll say my Native prayer for you.”