Hannah and Adam Weed with their daughter and newborn son Ethan on Tuesday at Bartlett Regional Hospital. (Courtesy Photo / Bartlett Regional Hospital)

Hannah and Adam Weed with their daughter and newborn son Ethan on Tuesday at Bartlett Regional Hospital. (Courtesy Photo / Bartlett Regional Hospital)

Rock-a-boat baby: Hospital welcomes 1st baby of 2023 with a special gift

Bartlett Hospital welcomes 1st baby of 2023 with special gift.

When Dr. Lindy Jones isn’t busy building relations at Bartlett Regional Hospital, he’s busy building boats.

“I love making boats, I like the shape, I like building things out of wood,” Jones said. “I like the challenge because there are no square corners, for me, it’s just a fun hobby.

Bartlett Regional Hospital recently welcomed the first baby of the new year on Tuesday. Ethan Weed was born weighing 7 pounds, 14 ounces and measuring 20.5 inches long. Ethan is now at home with parents Hannah and Adam Weed, but before departing the hospital, the Weed family was surprised with a handmade wooden rocking boat as part of a long running tradition at the hospital called Bartlett’s Beginnings.

The Weed family declined to be interviewed.

The boat was made by Jones and his wife, Colleen Jones, who for the last six years has carried on the tradition for the first baby born at Bartlett for the new year. Jones, an emergency medicine doctor for Bartlett, said the tradition first started as an idea from when he was still delivering babies with the hospital.

“I felt somewhat of an emotional connection with the families I’d work with and this became a way for me to kind of express my gratitude to be a part of that experience with the family,” Jones said.

Jones said slowly from that point of making boats just for personal patients, he took on the idea to start building cradle boats for the first baby of the year, however, that’s not to say he only builds one per year. Jones said he actually builds multiple boats throughout the year for friends and colleagues, typically starting in October so that they’re ready by the holidays. Jones said if he had to guess, there’s roughly 25 to 30 hours of work that goes into crafting the handmade cradle boats. But when you love what you do, as Jones said, it’s hardly work at all.

Originally from Montana, Jones has been living in Juneau and working for Bartlett for the last 29 years with his wife, Colleen, who helps with not only assembling the boats, but also the sanding and finishing. Jones said he loves the feel of community Southeast Alaska has always offered. While he’s built his boats out of different types of wood over the years, he said he prefers yellow cedar for the simple fact that it not only looks good, but because of its local connection to the Southeast region.

“The owner of Icy Straits Lumber in Hoonah, Wes Tyler, is a friend of mine, he started donating the wood for these things,” Jones said. “A couple things about the wood I like, for one, it’s just a beautiful local wood, so I like that connection to our forest. Also, it is a lovely wood to work with and I put these cradle’s together with copper nails, which are kind of soft, so trying to nail into a hard piece of maple is really challenging whereas the cedar is really just perfect for that. But more so, it’s about the look and the local connection to Juneau and Southeast.”

Jones isn’t just limiting his love of boat making to cradles. He said he’s currently in the process of building a 30-foot wooden boat,but this one he said won’t be for babies, but rather catching more fish. Jones said he has no plans of ending the hospital’s tradition anytime soon, Jones said he ultimately sees it as just one more way of giving back to the hospital and community. .

“I’ve been at Bartlett for 29 years and it’s offered me an opportunity for an amazing career, very satisfying and fulfilling, and it’s just a simple thing that I can do to maybe make the hospital seem a little bit more personable, a little more unique than a big hospital run by a big corporate chain,” Jones said.

• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at jonson.kuhn@juneauempire.com.

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