Benny Benson of Chignik, a small village on the Alaska Peninsula’s shore, had a difficult childhood. The Alaska Native villages were subject to crippling epidemics and in 1916, Benson’s mother died of pneumonia when he was three years old. Then, the family lost their house to a fire. His father was forced to put the children in foster care, and Benson went to an orphanage in Unalaska.
But talk about the power of perseverance … at age 13, Benson entered a contest to design the Alaskan flag and won, using his winning scholarship to enroll in the Hemphill Diesel Engineering School.
– Eve Lederman, The 100 Companies