By Wolfgang Kurtz
LOG Editor 

Chamber puts on the Ritz at awards


Wolfgang Kurtz | The Seward Phoenix LOG

Iris and Hugh Darling received special recognition for their family business, Brown & Hawkins, which operated in Seward for over a century until its closing last Fall.

This year the Seward Chamber of Commerce turned its annual Community Awards into something a more formal and engaging. In years past, the ceremony was attended well enough at low key mid-day luncheons. Saturday, it was like the difference between night and day as the second floor of Chinook's Waterfront Restaurant filled with a business directory of Seward merchants and civic leaders along with mere folks.

MC and Seward Chamber director Cindy Clock was effusive in her introduction for the winner of the Person of the Year award. Maya Moriarty was commended for her investment in the community through the family-operated Moriarty Dental practice as well as through numerous civic engagements including service on the Seward Schools Site Based Council, Seward Community Health Center board, Tsunami Swim Club, the chamber's Lemonade Day, and numerous other boards and commissions.

Business Person of the Year award winner Joe Tougas also received a torrent of accolades including credit for adapting to meet the demands of new business represented by Noble International, Royal Dutch Shell, Cornerstone Construction, Edison-Chouest and others in addition to serving the changing needs of the established local business community. The award, designated for chamber members who have stimulated economic development in Seward through business activity and professional excellence, was a good match for Tougas and his Seward firm, Catalyst Marine Engineering.

Although Kerry Romig of Frontier Healing Arts & Science, Dan & Lori Butts of Chinook's Waterfront Restaurant and the entity known as the Seward Community Library Museum were singled out for special mention as local organizations worthy of the Business Site Improvement award, Woody's Thai Kitchen edged them out. René Likitprachacomb was on hand to accept the plaque on behalf of her family enterprise.

A highlight of the evening was a special recognition for the Liberty Theatre and Marie Fletcher, and Brown & Hawkins including Hugh and Iris Darling. The gathering paid their respects to the local legends with much applause as Fletcher and the Darling couple each took the stage in turn.

The sunset of the evening's presentations was a toast to an inveterate Seward businesswoman and civic champion as every glass was raised in a salute to Vanta Shafer.


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