The 42nd Annual Kenai Community Awards luncheon was held June 15th at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center (KCCVC). Board President Bruce Jackman started by recognizing Ron and Ruth Malston with a Lifetime Chamber membership for all their years of business in the Kenai community and their involvement with the Kenai Chamber of Commerce. The Malston’s later were additionally honored with the Pioneer Award presented to persons who have been in the Kenai area for at least 25 years and who have been instrumental in the development of business in the community. The Malston’s have been doing business in Kenai for 45 years, “We had to present them with a blank plaque in order to surprise them because the Malston’s are the ones who do our engraving,” laughed Johna Beech, Chamber COO. The esteemed Log Cabin Award this year went to Hal & Susan Smalley and states that there is, “An unwritten law in Alaska that a cabin in the wilderness is refuge to all weary travelers. A moral obligation requires those using a cabin to replenish the wood and supplies, thus leaving the cabin ready for the next traveler. The symbol of the law and award is to recognize those have contributed to the community and leave it a better place because they were here.”
The Service to Youth Award this year went to Country Foods/IGA, the Steinbeck family, “The list of beneficiaries of the Steinbeck and Country Foods IGA generosity over the years would be too long to list- but it is hard to find a youth event without a Country Foods IGA banner hanging, or a youth organization in the community that hasn’t been supported by IGA,” said Jackman in presenting the award. Kenai Mayor Pat Porter was selected as the Volunteer of the Year for all her service and random acts of kindness that she has done since in the community since 1969. The Community Service Award went to the Peninsula Food Bank for working their mission that “No one deserves to go hungry.” The Outstanding Small Business of the Year Award went to Doug and Dawn Brown who started Brown Insurance Agency in 1983. And the Business of the Year Award went to Wal-Mart, “They filled the need to not have to travel great distances to purchase the smallest of items…sheets, towels, kitchen items, gardening products, craft supplies, books, socks, shoes and yes, even men’s underwear. These items, and so many more all come with a price. But, what they have given back to this entire community has been priceless,” said Jackman in presenting the award.
Honored with a special Kenai River Marathon Thank You award this year was Dr. Peter Hanson. “The morning of the marathon, Doc heads out to the water stations, greeting the volunteers, giving them their food vouchers and personally thanking them for being an important part of the Kenai River Marathon. Doc is a brick in the foundation known as the Kenai River Marathon. We cannot thank him enough for the past 10 years.” The KCCVC President’s Award will presented during the 4th of July Parade.