NORTH POLE -

If it weren't for the tower behind the long log cabin in North Pole, you might not know KJNP is a radio and television station.

The station was founded in 1967. That's clear by the shag carpet covering the walls of some of the rooms inside. Though some of the décor is a sign of the times it was built, the television studio has modern equipment. It's all supported by donations. KJNP is a Christian AM/FM radio and television station. It's been a steady work-in-progress in the 47 years since its founding.

Bonnie Carriker, 83, is the president of KJNP. She has a very active role, taking care of the finances and the bookkeeping. She's been doing it since 1967 on a volunteer basis. The radio station provides volunteers cabins next to the radio station.

Carriker dedicated her life to her faith when she was 10-years-old and it's been a consistent theme throughout her life. She's been a driving force behind the station since it was founded.

Carriker grew up in Juneau and went away to Bible College in Springfield Missouri in the 50s. There, she met her husband, Duanne Carriker. Duane knew Carriker's home state through his time in the Air Force stationed in Alaska. He had even met her father before he met Carriker. The two shared an inspired love of their religion. Carriker graduated from Bible College on a Friday and was married on Saturday. The two returned to Alaska as missionaries. The couple worked in Nome and in 1964 were building up a church in Valdez.

The Carrikers had two children, 6-year-old Jan and 2-year-old Leland. Their home was connected to the small church where they had to board the windows in the winter because all the snow falling from the roof would smash them otherwise. Duane and Carriker both worked in the ministry. Carriker said he was especially talented, a good singer and a kind-hearted person.

Carriker Couple

When the ground started shaking, Carriker was at home with their two children and Duane was at a second job they worked to supplement their small stipend donated from Outside churches. Carriker described as an out-of-balance washing machine grew to the sound of "a train coming through the house." Bonne rushed to the other room to check on Jan, age 6 and Leland who was just two. She said the shaking knocked her down. Carriker remembers water sloshing out of the fish tank. 

Someone came to warn the town of a tsunami and Carriker and her children spent the night at a friend's house 10 miles out of town. She still hadn't heard from Duane. Carriker had hope that he was still alive.

"My husband was the type of person who would go and help people," Carriker said.

Duane knew everyone in town. Carriker said about 50 people crammed into that little house. It was there that one of her church members told Carriker nobody was saved from the dock.

"That was tough," Carriker said through misty eyes. 

In 50 years, Carriker never remarried.

"He was a special guy," she said of her late husband. "I don't think I could find anybody that would take the place of him and I never did. There were some that came around, but I just couldn't feel it."

Carriker

Duane's body was never found. There were 32 people that died at the docks that day. Only two bodies were recovered.

"Everything just disappeared," Carriker said.

Carriker said she could not have gotten over losing Duane if it hadn't been for her strong faith.

"I don't understand how anybody can handle such a severe thing without knowing the lord," she said. "I would have completely fallen apart, but the lord sustained me." 

Carriker said if she lost Duane for a reason, it was for KJNP. It's been an important part of her life's work since she moved to North Pole. The tower out back was dedicated in his honor.

"I hope he's proud of it," Carriker said of the work she's done. "I think he would say, 'go Bonnie,' because his heart was in the ministry too.