Calling all heroes

  • Tuesday, May 27, 2014 9:35pm
  • News

The word “hero” can bring to mind anyone from law enforcement officers keeping communities safe to emergency responders saving lives to the firefighters working to contain the Funny River Road wildfire.

But the Summer of Heroes program, developed through a partnership between Alaska Communications and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Alaska, looks to recognize the young heroes of Alaska.

“It’s just recognizing a youth in the community (who have) done good,” said Heather Schloeman, executive director of Boys and Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula.

A panel of judges will select five winners from nominated kids this summer to receive a $1,500 scholarship and a trip to the Alaska State Fair in Palmer where they will be recognized for their heroism.

Jennifer Brown, director of marketing and public relations for Boys and Girls Clubs of Alaska, said the Summer of Heroes program has grown with more nominees since its debut four years ago. Brown had sat on the judging panel and said selecting five winners is not an easy process.

“I want to pick them all because they’re all just really good kids that need to be recognized,” Brown said.

Brown said the program has received nominees of all ages from throughout the state.

Chance Haller, a 17 year old from Seldovia, was selected as a hero last summer. Haller has been volunteering in the community as a firefighter since 2011.

“My dad stepped up and became fire chief and kind of dragged me along with him,” Haller said.

In 2012, Haller put in 250 volunteer hours for the fire department. He is studying toward his Firefighter I certificate, but no one in Seldovia is certified to do the training for it.

“Everything (in Seldovia) is volunteer, so we’re not certified to go into houses or any of that stuff,” he said. “We’re certified to hold a hose and put the fire out.”

Haller is also a certified emergency trauma technician. When he’s 18, Haller plans on becoming an emergency medical technician.

Haller will be a high school senior next year and plans to attend Kenai Peninsula College for computer science. While working toward a degree, Haller also wants to continue firefighting. After college, he wants to attend the Alaska State Trooper academy.

Nearly a year after finding out he won, Haller still doesn’t know who nominated him.

“He is kind of an all-around outstanding kid,” said Hannah Blankenship with Alaska Communications.

In 2012, Courtney Stroh of Kenai and Shaylee Rizzo, a Nikiski teen, received Summer of Heroes scholarships for their community work. Stroh founded a team to clean up fish waste during dipnet season in Kenai. Rizzo raised awareness about vehicle and moose accidents by writing a kid’s book and educating elementary students.

Alaskans are asked to nominate youth ages 6-18 who make a difference in their community whether it’s raising money for a cause, volunteering or contributing in other ways. Nominations can be made through July15 online at or forms can be picked up at Alaska Communications stores or Boys and Girls Clubs.

For every Alaska Communications smartphone purchased before July 15, the company will donate $25 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Alaska.

Clarion file material was used in this article.

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at

More in News

Raymond Bradbury preserves his salmon while dipnetting in the mouth of the Kenai River on Saturday, July 10, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai River dipnetting closed; Kasilof to close Sunday

The Kasilof River dipnet fishery is reportedly slow, but fish are being caught

Silver salmon hang in the Seward Boat Harbor during the 2018 Seward Silver Salmon Derby. (Photo courtesy of Seward Chamber of Commerce)
Seward Silver Salmon derby runs Aug. 13-21

Last year’s derby featured 1,800 contestants competing across eight days

Rayna Reynolds tends to her cow at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska on Aug. 5, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Animals take the stage at 4-H expo

Contestants were judged on the quality of the animal or showmanship of the handler

Emily Matthews and Andy Kowalczyk pose outside the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies headquarters on Friday, July 29, 2022, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Charlie Menke/Homer News)
AmeriCorps volunteers aid Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies

The 10-month commitment pushed them outside of comfort zones

People gather in Ninilchik, Alaska, on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, for Salmonfest, an annual event that raises awareness about salmon-related causes. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
All about the salmon

Fish, love and music return to Ninilchik

Alaska State Veterinarian Dr. Bob Gerlach gives a presentation on Avian Influenza Virus at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
State looks to outreach, education amid bird flu outbreak

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza is spreading in Alaska

Fencing surrounds the 4th Avenue Theatre in Anchorage, Alaska, on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022. Demolition will begin in August 2022 on the once-opulent downtown Anchorage movie theater designed by the architect of Hollywood’s famed Pantages Theatre. The 4th Avenue Theatre with nearly 1,000 seats opened in 1947, and it withstood the second most powerful earthquake ever recorded. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Efforts fail to save historic Anchorage theater from demolition

Anchorage entrepreneur Austin “Cap” Lathrop opened the 4th Avenue Theatre, with nearly 1,000 seats, on May 31, 1947

Mimi Israelah, center, cheers for Donald Trump inside the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska, during a rally Saturday July 9, 2022. Two Anchorage police officers violated department policy during a traffic stop last month when Israelah, in town for a rally by former President Donald Trump showed a “white privilege card” instead of a driver’s license and was not ticketed. (Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News via AP, File)
Alaska officers violated policy in ‘white privilege’ stop

The top of the novelty card reads: “White Privilege Card Trumps Everything.”

Ashlyn O’Hara / Peninsula Clarion file 
Alaska LNG Project Manager Brad Chastain presents information about the project during a luncheon at the Kenai Chamber Commerce and Visitor Center on July 6.
Local leaders voice support for LNG project

Local municipalities are making their support for the Alaska LNG Project known

Most Read