The Juneau Chamber of Commerce gave its highest honors to former Juneau Assembly member Fred Baxter and former Mayor Dennis Egan over the weekend.
Egan was honored with the chamber's Citizen of the Year Award, which goes to a person demonstrating charity, leadership and commitment to helping the community, according to Murray Walsh of the local business organization.
Committees for the chamber nominated Baxter to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, which is given to a person who has shown commitment to a lifetime of dedication and service to Juneau.
"Fred aggressively worked to provide the infrastructure and promote the delivery of accessible and efficient governmental services to make Juneau a better place to for its citizens to live," Kevin Sullivan, who served on a committee that nominated Baxter, said in a letter of recommendation.
Baxter ran for and obtained a seat on the assembly for the first time in 1956, Sullivan said.
"I got involved in politics because I liked Juneau and that's the only way to get involved in Juneau. Politics, or ... No that's it, just politics," said Baxter in an interview today.
During his tenure with the Juneau Planning Commission and Assembly, Baxter was involved in efforts such as bringing jet service to Juneau, expanding the airport terminal, and construction projects such as Centennial Hall and the downtown library-parking garage facility, Sullivan said.
Baxter became Juneau station manager for Pan American World Airways in 1956 and later worked for the airline in New York City and New Zealand. He returned to Juneau in 1970 after retiring from the airline.
"I think we improved Juneau and helped make it a nice place to live," Baxter said. "I think that's why people are still here."
It was the desire to improve Juneau through his work in appointed and elected positions and charitable organizations that inspired Egan's nominations for Citizen of the Year, according to Walsh. Egan is a longtime Juneau broadcaster and is owner and general manager of KINY-AM and KSUP-FM.
"What is important here is (Egan) is utterly devoted to the well-being of our community," Walsh said. "When trouble looms, (Egan) is the first in line to help. (Egan) has given up a great deal of personal time, and probably has had to pass up opportunities, out of dedication to Juneau."
Melanie Plenda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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