Here’s a story from a while back, that I am just posting now.
Mr. Danny Blas is our wonderful Chairman of the Che’lu organization board in San Diego. He has had many adventures from the Big Island to Arctic, but I don’t think I have seen him more excited than he was to be leaving for Guam recently. This was his first homecoming since childhood, and he was looking forward to what he promised would be one of many visits back.
I recently saw Danny post a picture of himself with the Governor of Guam, where he invited Governor Calvo to our 2014 Chamorro Cultural Fest, and then discussed findings from his scientific Arctic expedition. This is when I realized Danny’s article was not yet on GoIsland.net.
Here it is, better late than never. Enjoy!
As it appeared in the Pacific Daily News on Oct. 10, 2013
Interesting people and places come together sometimes, with wonderful results. This was this case this summer when local San Diegan and fellow Chamorro, Danny Blas set off for the Arctic.
As part of a small group of teachers who work each summer with UCSD’s Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Blas was the one chosen to accompany Scripps Scientists on their three-week mission north of the Arctic Circle.
Blas explained that the purpose of the trip was to learn more about the conditions of a recent ice age, 13,000 years ago, by acquiring core samples that would then be analyzed back at the Scripps and collaborating Woodshole MIT laboratories. The harsh Arctic climate creates a pristine environment for scientific research.
Blas wrote a blog and video taped the experience to share with high school students and others. He not only shared the scientific activities on board the ship, but recorded sightings of the abundant wildlife such as walrus and polar bears. He interviewed the Coast Guard crew to offer a view of this lesser known branch of the military. He also took the opportunity to learn about the culture of the native people through a member of the Inupiaq tribe who worked as a cultural consultant on the expedition.
Despite occasional rough seas, Blas enjoyed amazing scenery, great meals, and the times everyone was allowed to play on the ice, which they called “ice liberty.” These always included scouts with binoculars who were on the lookout for approaching polar bears. He quite obviously appreciates his experience of this secluded and sensitive area of the earth.
Blas received the Teacher Of The Year Award at his high school in 2013, and was awarded the Coast Guard Arctic Service Award as a result of his work this summer.
Danny Blas is the son of Jose R. Blas (deceased) originally from Hagatna, and Cecilia San Augustine Baza originally from Sinajana. He is currently the Chairman of the San Diego Che’lu organization, and a teacher at Lincoln High School. But most of his life has been in the Midwest. As a young child, his family moved from Guam to Rantoul, Illinois where his father was stationed in the Air Force. After going to school and working in Chicago, Blas moved to San Diego in 2002 to go to graduate school, and earn his teaching certification.
San Diego is the first place where he has lived among Chamorros outside of his immediate family. Says Blas, “It’s the first place I can fully be myself.” His next big expedition will be to go back to Guam this December where he hasn’t been since he was a child. “I want to explore my culture and learn more about who I am, and from where I came from,” he says.
You can see Danny Blas’ blog at www.DannyBlas.com.