Telling Alaska’s Story: Seward Highway flagger entertains those in line

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 6:44 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - If you’ve driven down the Seward Highway between Anchorage and Girdwood you may have seen Patrick Deacon. He’s the energetic flagger at mile 111, holding one lane of traffic at bay while an Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities rock mitigation project is ongoing.

Deacon developed a host of signature traffic moves that people love to watch, but which he said are mostly meant to make what can be a dangerous job, safer.

“The more easier (it is) for them to see what I want them to do farther away, it’s better for everybody,” he explained.

Deacon has lived most of his life in Anchorage but was born in Grayling, in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area. This is his second season as a flagger. A humble man, Deacon has been a little unprepared for the reception he regularly gets from drivers. His boss, AnEva Kimble of Tlingit Traffic Control Professionals, said she was also surprised the first time she saw the reaction from people waiting in line.

“Some people were cheering, some people were honking. People put their hand out the window and they were like ‘whoa!’” she said. “Everybody was really excited to see him.”

Deacon said he loves working with the public, who often reward him with snacks, handed or tossed out the window.

“Candy bars, doughnuts, trail mix — just about every snack you can think about,” he said with a laugh.

Sometimes people try to take quick selfies with him while they wait in line, and more than once, he’s gotten a thank you card for making someone’s day.

“It’s just really hard to explain and put into words, but it’s really awesome,” he said.

Pretty soon the flagging season will be over, and Deacon’s boss said he will certainly be missed.

“He always has that same enthusiasm all day long, and he genuinely makes people smile on their whole drive to work,” she said.

Deacon said he loves the job and plans to come back when the project continues next spring.

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