The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

Citizen of the Year – Many embody the spirit


For the Citizen of the Year, each year The LOG seeks a person, club, organization or any kind of deserving entity deserving of recognition and a great big “thank you.”

We want to honor someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the community without the expectation of financial or personal gain. What sets the Citizen of the Year apart from the rest of us is that they do things that remind us of what good volunteer work is.

All of this year’s nominees deserve recognition for embodying that spirit.

Among the nominees are:

Keith Campbell – In the 40 or more years Campbell has been involved in the civic affairs of Seward. His work here started as administrator at Seward General Hospital, and he has selflessly contributed ever since. “I believe he deserves favorable consideration for the guidance and leadership he gave the Seward Library Museum complex from its concept through its construction.  The number of volunteer hours that Keith, along with his committee members, donated to this community would have to number in the thousands for that single project. With the successful completion of the library-museum such an honor for Keith is both timely and deserving,” writes Dan Seavey

Paul Rupple – Rupple’s work with the Seward Community Foundation has benefited many. “He wrote a grant for the Seward Arts Council when backstage headsets were needed. His work on the grant made up the difference in what we needed,” said Hilda Listron. And that’s just some of what Rupple does.

Jon Gage – “I know of no other person who embodies community spirit than this man. In addition to his full time job at the SeaLife Center, he volunteers with the fire department, where he was recently promoted to captain. He is also the department’s training officer, responsible for setting up training and working with the volunteers schedules to ensure our fire department is as prepared as they can be when the tones drop,” wrote Morgan Woodard. Additionally, Gage headed up the Angel Tree program so that youngsters would have a gift at Christmas and is organizing the Polar Bear Jumpoff to raise money for those afflicted with cancer. “Jon has a pleasant demeanor that is infectious. He always has a smile, and makes sure to stop and ask how you are doing, regardless of what he may be doing,” continues Woodard.

Seward, Bear Creek and Moose Pass volunteer EMT and fire departments – The volunteers that give tons of their time to tending to our needs in times of fire or medical crisis deserve a standing ovation for their efforts. They keep us safe and tend to us when we are hurt. And they don’t just go out on calls, they train constantly to keep their knowledge and skills up to date. To that end they’ve formed an incredible training cooperative that allows all who are interested to train without cost.

Matt Gray – The Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance Watershed Coordinator, recently left his long time position with the Seward based environmental advocacy group to take up residence in Oregon. Since 2005 Gray has been a familiar figure commenting and testifying at public meetings and has been instrumental in many public interest projects in the community involving habitat protection and restoration. Most recently, along with student volunteers and teachers, he helped coordinate the Seward Schoolyard Habitat Project. Contributing his skills as a professional engineer, Gray also provided critical support for culvert replacement in several area waterways as well as the Sheffler Creek viewing decks.

Melanee Stevens – A daughter of Seward, long time Qutekcak Native Tribe programs coordinator Melanee Stevens served as a leader and cheerleader for community youth and programs such as Native Youth Olympics. After 10 years of working at QNT’s headquarters in Seward, travelling the state in support of NYO and acting as QNT’s rural provider representative as well as working behind the scenes on other QNT programs, Stevens recently resigned her position to explore new horizons in the Lower 48.

See the Citizens of the Year, Skip and Marie Fletcher


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