Toshua Parker owns a grocery store in the Alaskan coastal community of Gustavus, which borders Glacier Bay National Park. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the small town has been struggling to obtain groceries. Thus, Parker has been making weekly 14-hour trips by boat to Costco to stock up and ensure the town doesn’t go hungry, according to CNN.
Parker’s store, which is nicknamed ToshCo, is the only grocery store in close proximity to the 450 residents of Gustavus. Typically, Parker keeps his store stocked with supplies by ordering shipments from a Costco in Juneau, the state capital. But due the pandemic, the ferry that would usually deliver the shipments is not currently in service.
It soon became clear to Parker that if he didn’t take things into his own hands, the town was going to be facing a real emergency. Thus, with the help of his staff and local fishermen, he began making the long supply treks in March and continues to do so now. While he’s been getting nationwide praise for his determination to advocate for his small town, he doesn’t think of himself as a hero.
“It’s funny because for us, this doesn’t seem like a big deal. Alaskans are fiercely independent and resourceful; you really have to be to survive here. So when a problem arises, we don’t typically look to someone else for help, we just find a way to do it,” he said.
However, the process of actually picking up the groceries and getting them home to Gustavus is no easy task. Parker has to keep many things in mind before the trip, including the weather and the tide. At times, storms have caused him to become stranded in Juneau, unable to safely return. When that happens, Parker keeps the food in coolers and waits until it is safe enough to make the trek back.
Parker is humble about the hard work he is doing to serve his community.
“The town needed to be supplied with groceries so we just did whatever it took to make that happen. Just another day in our world. Next year it will be another obstacle to overcome and we’ll buck up and deal with it,” he said.
It is not clear when the ferry system will be operating as normal again, allowing Parker to receive grocery shipments.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, the Alaskan government has received some criticism for how they intend to keep the coronavirus under control. Upon returning to work at the state capitol, lawmakers will reportedly have to wear stickers to show whether or not they have been tested for COVID-19.