Richard “R.C.” Woodson was raised in a community where you got out of it what you put into it. When he and his family landed in Anchorage in 1996, he was pleasantly surprised to discover that same sentiment.
“I really didn’t know what to expect,” Woodson said. “One of the things that I didn’t expect was the diversity in Anchorage and Alaska as a whole. As an African American living in Anchorage, Alaska, it’s exciting to see how everyone in this state is interested in cultural activities and even most multicultural activities.”
The Woodsons came to Alaska the same way many families do, through the military. Though the Air Force moved them away for a few years, the Woodsons returned in 2003. R.C. said having experienced so many different communities from Michigan to Texas to Alabama, the diversity in Anchorage was surprising and continues to inspire him.
“I enjoy watching how many people will come to your aid or how many people are willing to pitch in,” R.C. said. “I’ve lived in places where you didn’t even get an opportunity, you didn’t even get invited to the table.”
Across nearly 30 years in Anchorage, R.C. has taken advantage of multiple opportunities, especially those geared toward building the Anchorage community. In addition to a long career in banking and information technology, R.C. became a successful events promoter bringing A-List artists to the state, and coaching basketball at nearly every high school in Anchorage. Each experience is fueled by a foundational belief in hard work and reciprocity.
”If I love Anchorage, if I take care of Anchorage, Anchorage will take care of me and my family,” R.C. said.
That commitment to the community goes beyond race. RC. is actively involved in the community, giving time to make a difference in his own way. That means mentoring youth and helping to raise the next generation of Alaskans.
“Those of us who are in leadership positions now, we are very, very willing to mentor, very, very willing to coach,” R.C. said. “We are ready.”
By doing so, R.C. encourages others to take advantage of the same opportunities Alaska provided to his family.