The Rotary Club of Juneau Annual Vocational Service Awards recognize outstanding businesses, programs and individuals

When someone joins a Rotary club, one of the first things he or she learns is “The Object of Rotary” — encouraging and fostering service, especially in personal, business and community life. Each year the Rotary Club of Juneau recognizes others in the community who exemplify this basic tenet with its annual Vocational Service Awards, based on nominations by members of the Club. This year’s awards were presented at the weekly meeting on Oct. 29 at the Baranof Hotel and honored:



Girls on the Run International is an empowerment program for girls aged 8-14, that uses a fun, experience-based curriculum to instill self-esteem and self-respect in young girls at a critical time in their personal development. It provides the groundwork needed for girls and women to develop self-respect — the attribute needed to make healthy choices and break the cycle of violence. AWARE launched the program locally in 2008, but currently partners with two other domestic violence programs in Southeast Alaska, WISH in Ketchikan and SAFV in Sitka. In the last school year, 284 girls participated in SE Alaska, including 125 in Juneau. AWARE was honored, but the 100 women, including 40 from Juneau, who coached, inspired, and empowered these girls, as well as the sponsors and donors who made the program available to those in need, were also acknowledged. AWARE’s GOTR program is making a difference in attitudes and expectations by connecting with, investing in, and empowering our young women.


Behrends Mechanical was honored not only for its extraordinary business practices, but for the community service the company provides, as well. Recipients of the 2009 Apprenticeship Award, Behrends Mechanical hired the first high school-to-apprenticeship candidates; students who later went on to work on the Harborview remodel. Behrends Mechanical also recycles all of the old metal they obtain from different jobs and donates the money to the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council, Boy Scouts and Rotary. This included donating enough money to allow Juneau’s Rotaract club to purchase 12 wheelchairs to send to Mexico a number of years ago.

The company was honored not only because of their business contributions to the community, but as individuals who have donated money and time to numerous community organizations such as the Boy Scouts, the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council, Yaakoosge Daakahidi Alternative High School, as well as Rotary and Rotaract. The Behrends family also created two scholarships in memory of their late son, McKinnon “Mac” Behrends: The Mac Behrends Memorial Creative Writing Scholarship (Juneau Arts & Humanities Council) and the Mac Behrends Memorial Scholarship at UAS. As their nominator noted, the Behrends family and Behrends Mechanical are “...those who do good work, but never really talk about it.” 

Public sector

The University of Alaska Southeast Center for Mine Training offers comprehensive programs through a partnership that includes UAS, the University of Alaska Mining and Petroleum Training Service (MAPTS), and the University of Alaska Corporate Programs. In 2012, more than 700 participants received training and certifications as required by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.

This award specifically focused on the success of the Introduction to Mining Occupations and Operations program, a course offered to high school students, which was created with a gift from Hecla-Greens Creek Mine to develop a local workforce. The center partners with HECLA-Greens Creek to attract local high school seniors to mining occupations, although last spring, during its second year, the course was offered in the Center’s Juneau classroom, as well as by distance delivery on the Alaska Learning Network to 69 students throughout the state.

Of 18 students who completed the course the first year, 15 are now either working at a mine or in college preparing for mining careers. Of the 68 who completed the program during the second year, many are either working or enrolled in degree or other vocational programs. During the award presentation it was also noted that in the past three years, 36 of Juneau’s students have found employment at either Greens Creek or Kensington. This success is connected to a goal-centered partnership between industry and education.


Each year Rotary recognizes an individual who exemplifies service above self — someone who has contributed to the community in order to make things better for others. Pastor Stage-Harvey, although unable to attend the award presentation, was honored in abstentia for her work to feed the hungry in Juneau, serving as an inspiration to many.

Through her vision, Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church provides a summer food program and cooking classes to young people living in the general area of the church. This past summer, the program expanded to teach children about bike repair, a project supported through the inventory of unclaimed property held by the police department. These are just a couple of the programs Stage-Harvey has brought to a neighborhood in need. Said her presenter: “Innovative and relevant. We are pleased to recognize the difference she is making in Juneau…”

The Rotary Club of Juneau meets each Tuesday at noon at the Baranof Hotel. For more information, visit


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