Legislature honors musher Scott Janssen’s Iditarod heroics

Published: Jul. 12, 2018 at 10:16 PM AKDT
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A rescue during the 2018 Iditarod earned special recognition for Scott "The Mushing Mortician" Janssen after saving fellow musher Jim Lanier's life.

Rep. Matt Claman presented musher Janssen with a legislative citation for his heroics at the musher’s Evergreen Memorial Chapel in downtown Anchorage Thursday.

The lifesaving effort happened on March 16th about 40 miles from the finish line in Nome, when Janssen came across Lanier, 77, who had been stranded for hours without his dog team.

"At one point Jim said something to the effect of 'Gee Scott, what are they going to do at your funeral home if we freeze to death in this position like this?'” said Janssen jokingly. “I responded, 'Don't worry Jim, I have caskets that will fit the both of us.'”

Janssen stayed with Lanier for hours in -60 degree Fahrenheit temperatures until a snow machine came for help. The ‘Mushing Mortician’ would eventually have to forfeit the race to ride back to Nome to make sure Lanier didn’t fall of the snow machine.