It was reported to me on Dec 5th that Andy O'Grady was involved in a single truck accident north of Fairbanks and did not survive. Andy was a founding member of Ice Alaska. Andy was an inspiration to the organization and especially loved operating his forklift. Over the past 28 years, I am confident, Andy lifted, moved and stacked over a billion pounds of ice. I feel blessed knowing I had the opportunity to spend so much time with this special person. In fact, on Dec 2nd , I spent the majority of the day with Andy. We had breakfast at the Bakery Restaurant around 7 am. We planned what we would do for the day. Andy and I met at the Ice Art Park around 1:30 pm to lay in the initial driving route for our First Annual Musical Light Display. I led the way in my truck and Andy followed in his 460 forklift towing the drag for the road. We made numerous passes to insure the snow would setup properly. We took a break around 3:15 and went to Denny’s for a snack. We returned to the Ice Art Park at 4 pm and made more passes over the route. The full Display route is a bit over 3 miles. Finally around 5:15, Andy parked his forklift perfectly in his spot in the garage and departed in his Chev truck for home at around 5:30 pm. I saw him driving east on west Phillips Field Road and was the 2nd to last person to see him. The last person to see Andy O’Grady was An, Zhe who saw Andy cross Peger Road heading east on Phillips Field Road which passes the old Ice Art Park on ARR property. Special about this is that the last person to see Andy O’Grady alive was the person An, Zhe that asked Andy O’Grady 4 years earlier for permission to be called Andy as well. An, Zhe had so much respect for Andy that he wanted his American name to be Andy as well. We all know An, Zhe as Andy and have for the past 4 years.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Pearl and the entire O’Grady family. I apologize if I missed someone but if I did please the word along yourself.
P.S. I will forever be comforted when I drive by O’Grady Pond on the ARR property, just inside of Chena Landing Loop Road. It was named after Andy because it was his idea to help the ARR get the wetland permit. Bob Thomas was the design engineer that took Andy’s suggestion and completed all the paperwork for the Corp of Engineers approval; or when driving by the Ice Art Park harvest pond which as of this day is officially named, R.A. O’Grady Sr. Pond Too. That was always the way Andy signed checks. Finally, and most importantly, each time driving through the Musical Light Display because I know the route was the last thing built on earth by my friend Andy O’Grady. I am confident he will be helping the Lord build many things in Heaven.
Thanks Dick Brickley, Chairman of Ice Alaska.