Chamber of Commerce Honors…

| May 9, 2012 | 1 Comment

By Peggy Keesecker, President,  Seldovia Chamber of Commerce

The Seldovia Chamber of Commerce has selected Clem Tillion, a pioneer of Halibut Cove and former commercial fisherman as our Old Crab for 2012. 

Clem became a leading state legislator for nine terms, helping to start the tradition of paying Alaskans an annual dividend from the state’s oil wealth before retiring as Senate president in 1981. He was appointed to the very first North Pacific Council in 1976, and served there for many years. He has lots of stories and much history.  You’ll have a chance to bid for the privilege of having lunch with Clem Tillion on the Fourth of July in Seldovia.

The Chamber would also like to announce the selections for the Citizen of the Year, the Business or Non-Profit of the Year and the Outstanding Community Contribution by a Young Person.

Every year nominations are open for various well-deserved honors in Seldovia.  There’s a month for locals to make nominations, and Chamber members do the voting.

The Citizen of the Year Award is presented to an individual for continuing or extraordinary service to community.  This individual has donated countless hours of public service, or funds, to a wide variety of organizations which benefit the entire community, or this may be an individual who has otherwise honorably distinguished him/herself through a heroic act, leadership, inspirational role, or other significant event.

Being nominated is an honor, and shows the appreciation of those making the nominations.  There were five individuals nominated for this honor this year – Shad Haller, Dr. Larry Reynolds, Kris Lethin, Seldovia City Council and Suzie Stranik.  Ballots are created, using the nominations as they are turned in, and Chamber members make the selection.

 Suzie Stranik was chosen as the Citizen of the Year – 2012.

The following nomination was provided to the Seldovia Chamber of Commerce:  I would like to nominate Suzie Stranik as Citizen of the year for her service to the community of Seldovia.  Suzie has dedicated countless hours and countless dollars to her efforts to beautify Seldovia.  The community gardens receive a loving touch each year as she makes her way down Main Street.  Suzie works alongside of other wonderful gardeners, but she also can be found late at night or on the weekends, tending the gardens when no one is around to notice (but I’ve noticed).

Suzie plants her starts in the winter (even returning to Seldovia each March to get things growing!) so that they can blossom at the right time in the summer.  Here is a list of some of the gardens in town that Suzie has worked on:

  • Mad Fish Garden on Main Street (near the harbor parking lot)
  • Spring Rhubarb beds at the head of the Boardwalk
  • Hydrant Garden near the Boardwalk
  • Main Street Garden across from the Post Office
  • Otterbahn Trail Garden at the trail’s entrance
  • Picnic Table Pots
  • Nick Hogansen Park

Suzie has started the Seldovia Garden Club and held the first meeting last summer, encouraging folks to learn about High Tunnels.  She also held a garden tour, a great success.     Having worked alongside of Suzie in a garden bed, I understand that it takes much more than endurance to do what she does.  It takes physical endurance, tenacity, finances, time, and most of all passion!

Business or Non—Profit of the Year 

This is presented to an entity, which during the past year has supported community activities and organizations above and beyond what would be normally expected, or whose projects and activities have contributed significantly to the well being of the community.

Also nominated for this honor:  Auntie’s Whole Foods Store, Seldovia Fire Dept. and Seldovia EMS Department.

The Seldovia EMS Department was chosen as the Business or Non-Profit of the year. 

The nomination:  I would like to nominate the Seldovia EMS Department for its service to our community.  We don’t all know the details of when the EMS crew responds to calls and we don’t all know how many times people have to fly over to Homer in extreme circumstances (either medical or weather-related), but I feel it is necessary to thank them.

Lisa O’Leary, Dr. Reynolds, Dan Blodgett and Tim O’Leary responded when my son needed to be medevac’d out of Seldovia last summer.  (There were possibly others there as well.)  I flew over with my son, sitting in a chair, while Lisa crouched at the back of the plane in her Sunday finest to ensure he was okay.

Alix Chartier has had to respond on several traumatic calls, and she helps serve our community by teaching First Aid/CPR/AED classes.  Debbie Hecks continues to be there for those in need, even for many before they have to get to the doctor.  She helped Mickey through his final days, even cleaning his home for him before he died.  Tim O’Leary has returned home from a week gone to work, only to head right back over to Homer on a medevac.  Sarah O’Leary has responded on incredibly difficult calls and has handled herself professionally.

The dispatchers – Darlene Crawford, Tracie Merrill, Monty Hingley, Jean Merchant   – Thanks for all those hours standing ready.  Ambulance drivers, folks who help carry the board, even the pilots who help take our sick and wounded out of town (including Andy Smircich who sneaks in and out when needed).

When do I get billed for calling 911 and having the ambulance come to my home?  How do I pay these people who respond?  I don’t get billed and these folks aren’t paid.  They’re amazing volunteers who are on the call day and night.  They’ve rescued many souls, and they’ve been on hand as some have lost their battle for life.  That takes a toll on them emotionally, and yet they press on.

Thank you, Seldovia EMS Department

Outstanding Community Contribution by a Young Person

Presented to a Seldovia youth attending Susan B. English or home school. This award will be based on activities outside of school that contribute to the general improvement or well being of the community.

Three young people were nominated – Chance Haller, Kathleen Gruber and Sarah O’Leary.

Sara O’Leary was chosen for Outstanding Community Contribution by a Young Person.
Once again we will provide you with the nomination that was used to make the selection:  Her personal commitment to excellence, and the many areas wherein she shows expertise and leadership. She has worked with the EMS Squad for many years as an Emergency Trauma Tech (ETT), and now that she’s old enough, and has passed State tests, she is an EMT 1. She is a certified Life Guard, who volunteers for school swims.  She’s played basketball and volleyball, and works with elders and children. Her consistent example of what is possible given effort, dedication and attitude.

Sarah O’Leary is a very deserving Youth for recognition by the Chamber.  She epitomizes commitment, service, leadership and good character.  She is a shining example to each of us as she is wise beyond her young years and capable of caring out any responsibility given to her.  She has volunteered in many areas of Seldovia since she moved to this community.  She is hard working and always willing to help any in need of assistance.   Honoring her with Youth of the Year would be just a small recognition for the giant dedication she has given this community.  I would like to nominate Sarah O’Leary as Youth of the Year for her service to the community of Seldovia.

Sarah has been involved in numerous activities over the years, especially from junior high on.  Here is a list of some of her achievements:

  • 7 years of basketball – 2 years as captain, senior year as the only girl on a boys squad (she took 2nd place in the boys division in free throws at the regional tournament)
  • 5 years of volleyball – 1 year as captain
  • 2 years of student council – Class president for 2 years, Student Body president 1 year
  • 2 years of rock band – drums, keyboard, vocals
  • 2 years of Booster Club
  • 3 years as a lifeguard
  • 5 years volunteering with summer missions groups at Seldovia Bible Chapel
  • 6 years volunteering with children’s church at Seldovia Bible Chapel
  • Volunteer babysitter
  • 2 years as a Junior Firefighter with the Seldovia Volunteer Fire Department
  • 4 years as a member of the Seldovia EMS Department – currently an EMT1

Sarah also has worked for the last year as a youth staff member of the Seldovia Village Tribe Prevention Program.  She helps plan weekly activities for teens, plus special community events.  She also is co-leading the Sea Otter Dance Group.

Sarah is a willing helper whenever she is needed.  She has been a tremendous asset to our community and we will miss her when she heads off to college in August.  The university will be getting a gem!

One other note:  This will be the fourth O’Leary name on the Outstanding Young Person plaque.  Sarah’s brothers have both won the award – Tim Jr. in 2003 and 2007, and Paul O’Leary in 2005.

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Category: Business, Entertainment

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  1. Joyce Devin says:

    Congratulations to this years winners. Not only do they show their right stuff, but encourage others to stand tall and for inner and public honors.

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