St. Michael dinner, auction net $1,100

Congregation hopes to raise $17,500 for building upgrades

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St. Michael the Archangel Orthodox Church’s members held an Indian Taco dinner and silent auction Sept. 30, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, in the first of several fundraisers planned to raise $17,500 for building improvements.

About 75 dinners served, plus a silent auction, brought in roughly $1,100.

The St. Michael church, with a membership of 40 to 50 people, needs new front doors, storage shelving and a bathroom.

“We’ve based our fundraising on quotes we received to do the work,” said Darrel Olsen, a member of the congregation who helped organize the dinner and auction. “We were pleased with the turnout.”

The meal included Indian tacos, fry-bread topped with ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, salsa, sour cream and chopped onion. Fresh fry-bread with butter and jam also was served, along with a variety of desserts.

Volunteers helping to cook, serve and clean up included Arleene Olsen, Shyla Krukoff, Altana Hamilton, Cheryl Eleshansky, Patience Faulkner, Amanda O’Brien, Chris Hamilton, Demetri Kompkoff, Kenneth Eleshansky, and Denise Olsen.

Many of the 14 silent auction items were handmade.

“Cheryl Eleshansky donated some homemade (items) in a shadow box. Patience Faulkner donated a sea otter scarf, Denise Olsen made a dream catcher, Altana Hamilton made a felt fish pillow, Chris Hamilton donated some baskets of homemade jams and jellies, Mark Hoover donated a swan photo, and Samantha Villalon made a painted picture,” he said.

The original St. Michael’s church was built at its present location on Lake Avenue in 1925, Olsen said. The new church was built and consecrated in 2009.

“Fred Brizgaloff once told me that the beams of the first church were from the shipping material from the old post office building,” Darrel Olsen said. “Fred Brizgaloff was our long-time church reader at Saint Michael’s Russian Orthodox Church. He and his wife, Rose, relocated to Cordova from Chenega after the 1964 earthquake, and he stayed here and served as our reader.”

For more information contact Olsen at 907-253-5757.

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Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson is a staff writer and photographer for The Cordova Times. She has been writing in one form or another for 30-plus years and has had a longstanding relationship with The Cordova Times starting in 1989. She's been an Alaskan since 1976 and first moved to Cordova in 1978. She's lived in various West Texas towns; in Denver, Colorado; in McGrath, Cordova, Galena, Kodiak, Wasilla, Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska and in Bangalore, India. She has two children and three grandchildren. She can be reached at or follow her on Instagram @alaskatoindia.