National Geographic’s Port Protection has captivated us as much as the town of Port Protection has captivated its 100 inhabitants. One of those residents, Litzi Botello, is the silent, stoic, and lovable type. Her story is told on Port Protection to a degree, but despite being one of the “characters” in a television show, she keeps her life pretty private.
One thing that’s impossible to miss about Litzi is that she only has one arm. Despite this, she has survived the harsh conditions put upon her and her family in the small town of Port Protection, Alaska. While she has never publicly shared how she lost her arm, she has shared how it has affected her life.
No one except for Litzi Botello and those close to her know how she lost her arm.
Despite having only one arm, Litzi’s outlook on life is admirable. She shared when featured on Port Protection, “I’ve never let just having one arm stop me. It’s made me say, ‘I know I can do it, I just have to figure out how.’” And then we see her go fishing with her good friend, Gary Muehlberger! She still goes fishing and makes her own sculptural art frequently.
Litzi Botello has had to deal with devastating deaths on top of the loss of her arm, and has found solace through her art.
One thing that makes Litzi so lovable is her story. She met her husband, John Bean, when she was 22 and living in Los Angeles. So, she did what any young impulsive woman in love would do, and moved with him to Port Protection, Alaska. Together, they had two sons, Johnny and Leland.
However, both of Litzi’s sons passed away. Through it all, Litzi has a smile on her face in Port Protection. She now creates art, which she says is therapeutic.
Litzi shared with a Ketchikan, Alaska news outlet regarding a 2019 art show: “[There were] pretty major happenings in my life and then I couldn’t do it. And I think to be in a really creative space, to create something beautiful that you think is good, you have to be in the right head space. And it took me a while to get back, but now it’s fun, you know? And not necessarily to sell because it’s fun to create something that you can look at and I guess be proud of, you know?”
Whatever happened to Litzi’s arm doesn’t matter as much as the fact that she wears her one arm with pride. And as a city girl turned Alaskan wilderness dweller, she’s made quite the impression on us all by not only surviving but thriving in the harsh conditions of Port Protection. Litzi ruminates, “I feel with every cell of my being, I am where I was meant to be. Right here, in Port Protection.”