The D.C. area says its final goodbye to Don Young

Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 4:12 PM EDT
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GREAT FALLS, VA (Gray DC) - Wednesday was the final day of honoring Don Young in the Washington, D.C. area before his remains return home to Alaska. The last stop of the goodbye tour took place at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Great Falls, Virginia. It was a more intimate service for the late Alaska Republican, with friends and family sharing their memories.

“Everybody has a Don Young story,” said Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), House Minority Whip and a friend of Young’s.

“I always knew that if I wanted my daddy, he would come to me,” shared Dawn Vallely, Young’s daughter.

Young’s longtime chief of staff CJ Zane also took part in the hour and a half long service Wednesday morning.

“He just rubbed off on you in all the best ways,” said Zane.

The church was packed with mourners, honoring the Alaska political legend one more time.

“Always it was about helping the folks in Alaska. That was his passion. He loved it. And he was really good at it,” said Zane.

Zane worked with the longtime congressman for many years - when Young’s party was in the minority, and in the majority. Zane says his former boss worked across the aisle no matter who was in power, and no matter how his party had been treated in prior years.

“Don’s motto was, ‘You do not govern by revenge,’” said Zane.

Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson made the long trek to DC this week to pay his respects to who he calls a godfather of Alaska.

“Everyday he got up and asked himself, ‘What can I do for the state today?’” said Bronson.

Bronson was one of a number who traveled from Alaska to the D.C. area. They joined other friends, family, and two busloads of lawmakers from Capitol Hill who made the 45 minute trip to the church in Great Falls.

“He will be sorely missed,” said Bronson.

Young’s remains will be sent back to Alaska where he will be laid to rest. Another memorial service will take place in Anchorage on Saturday at the Anchorage Baptist Temple.

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