Valdez Entrepreneurs Name Gas Station After Joe Hazelwood
VALDEZ, Alaska (AP) _ Skipper Joseph Hazelwood doesn’t have to worry about area residents forgetting him after all the oil spilled from his ship, the Exxon Valdez, is finally gone.
Three entrepreneurs, flush with cash after the massive cleanup, have decided to name their new gas station after him.
″Cap’n Joe’s″ will have its grand opening Saturday in Valdez, said owners Herb Hirsch and Jeff and Laura Saxe.
Hirsch said the name was a natural. ″Hell, he made it all possible,″ he said.
The tanker had just left Valdez when it ran aground in nearby Prince William Sound in March 1989, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil.
The ensuing cleanup provided nonstop work for many people like Hirsch and the Saxes, who piloted and chartered boats for Exxon officials and worked on Valdez docks as longshoremen.
Laura Saxe said she and her husband netted $300,000 in 1989. They invested much of it and bought a campground, opened in 1991, and the gas station.
″We were just trying to think of a name, and we were thinking how did we get all this stuff?″ she said. ″We wanted to name it in remembrance of all the hard work we did that summer.″
She they didn’t blame Hazelwood for the tragic oil spill.
″We’re not mad at him,″ she said. ″Everybody’s human, everybody makes mistakes.″
Hazelwood was convicted of negligently discharging oil, but that misdemeanor conviction was overturned this year by the state Court of Appeals, which said improper evidence had been used.