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Name: Dan Shilling


Education: UAF 1987 Music Education, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary 1991 Master of Music


Family: Wife; Betsy,  Son; Jordan


Current Occupation: Minister of Music, Grandview Baptist Church, Anchorage, Alaska


How many years were you with the University of Alaska Fire Department?

7 years or so. I met Mark Barker and Wilson Valentine at the music department and let them encourage me to apply. My recollection is that I started in September 1976, although my brick says 77. I loved working at the fire department so much that I was not very motivated to graduate and move on. I stayed until 1983 when I got married to Betsy, then came back for a while filling in as captain for Chuck Kuhns after he broke his leg. During my time at UAFD I was a firefighter, EMT, engineer, and captain of the ambulance and Engine 3.


What is your favorite memory, story, experience, etc. while at the University Fire Department?

There are just too many great memories to capture in this short document. I made life-long friends during my time there, and every day was an adventure. I remember sliding old Engine 2 around a sloping corner and coming within a whisker of creaming a car, racing to fires and ambulance calls, having the status of being a campus firefighter, winning Winter Carnival (Dirk Bodnar and I won first in two events), exploring the bowels of the campus at night, scheming all sorts of crazy behavior with my FD pals, pranks, training, camaraderie, fires, wrecks, accidents, rescues, and real life and death. It was the most exciting time of my life.


Brief History/Biography:

After graduating from UAF in 1987 I decided to go to seminary for a master’s degree before entering the Christian ministry. I have served as Minister of Music in Baptist churches in Nebraska and Colorado before returning home to Alaska in 2001. I now serve at Grandview Baptist Church in Anchorage. My wife, Betsy, works at the Alaska Baptist Convention in Anchorage, and our son, Jordan, works for State Senator Coghill in Fairbanks. I am blessed to have both my parents still living and active and maintaining a working gold mine near Manley Hot Springs. I love hunting, fishing and exploring Alaska. A few years ago I completed building an airplane from scratch (along with Mark Barker’s help) which now occupies a lot of my summer activities. Every day I am living the dream, and every day is just another beautiful day in paradise.


Dan Shilling


(907) 884-8334