Each year the Rotary Club of Juneau looks outward to recognize those across our community who live these values.  This year, at its weekly meeting on October 20, the Club presented five Vocational Service Awards for 2015.
Recipients left to right: John Cannon, Vanessa Gable, and Jim Swanson from
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation; Shona Osterhaut and Art Rotch of
Perseverance Theatre's STAR program; Bob Urata, Individual; Dan Landen and
Lennie Gorsuch of Allen Marine; and Justin Sleppy, youth individual.
Since its founding over 100 years ago, Rotarians have emphasized honesty and integrity in professional and personal practices.  By pooling their talents, they aim to better their communities and the world condition through public service. 
Each year the Rotary Club of Juneau looks outward to recognize those across our community who live these values.  This year, at its weekly meeting on October 20, the Club presented five Vocational Service Awards for 2015.
Nominated both by club members and the community at large, the following five businesses, organizations and individuals have been recognized for exemplifying Rotary’s motto, “Service above Self.”  
BUSINESS: Allen Marine.  Through the years Allen Marine has generously donated wildlife excursions to nonprofit organizations to serve as fund-raising opportunities.  Because of this generosity, many of our local agencies are able to offer services and better programming.  Rotary also noted that Allen Marine vessels have been used in cases of national and international disaster, such as the 2011 Japanese tsunami cleanup and the 2009 rescue on the Hudson River after the crash of Flight 1549.  Reputable worldwide, this company serves as a great representative for Alaska.  Rotary is proud to recognize Allen Marine for its business ethics and for the extension of its resources in service to others.
NON-PROFIT: Summer Theatre Arts Rendezvous (STAR).  A program of Perseverance Theatre, this 5-week experience is geared to youth aged 10 to 18.  Offered in the summer, it provides an opportunity for high level, specialized training in teamwork, discipline, and creative thinking.  It also includes work with the voice, and with movement and acting techniques.  While students work to present themselves well and meet the deadline to present a fully realized theatrical production, they develop self confidence and life skills.  The program’s effectiveness  has was recognized in 2002 as one of 16 “outstanding American arts programs for young people.”  Rotary has recognized the program for making a difference in the lives of our youth as they prepare to take their place in the community.
PUBLIC SECTOR: Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR).  Coinciding with National Disability and Employment Awareness Month, Rotary recognized the work of staff at the Alaska DVR.  Statewide, DVR helped 607 individuals with disabilities to secure employment with 369 employers.  Of those employed, 94 were in Southeast and are working for 65 employers at an average hourly wage of $14.68, beating the statewide average by $.07.  Rotary recognized the commitment, dedication, and patience required of this agency to serve its clients and those who employ them.  Through their effort, people with challenges have an opportunity to contribute and to make a difference, building self esteem in the process.  In presenting the Award, Rotary said, “DVR’s personal investment in others demonstrates that we all can make a difference” 
INDIVIDUAL: Dr. Bob Urata.  As a family practice physician at Valley Medical Care, Dr. Urata has gone beyond his daily practice to serve his patients and his community.  Throughout his career, he has been an advocate for change, volunteering his time to serve on boards and commissions as well as educate and work with legislative leaders to effect improvements in health care delivery.  Rotary also cited Dr. Urata’s commitment to Hospice and Home care where he is widely known and appreciated for his holistic approach to dying with dignity.  In addition, he has supported his family and community by serving as a manager for the Gastineau Channel Little League and as president of the Perseverance Theatre Board.  Rotary extended its deepest thanks to Dr. Urata for his diverse contributions to our quality of life. 
YOUTH: Justin Sleppy.  A student athlete and musician, Justin Sleppy is a Thunder Mountain junior cited by Rotary as a young person who makes a difference.  He is a national honors student, active in student government and a student representative to the school board.  A Sources of Strength program peer leader at TMHS, Justin is also active in “Lead on! For Peace and Equality in Alaska,” a statewide student program sponsored by the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.  In this role he helped to produce an award-winning video to promote healthy lifestyles and relationships.  Rotary recognized Mr. Sleppy for his community contributions which have extended beyond his high school experience and have embraced the qualities of integrity, work ethic and outreach to others. 
This was the first year Juneau Rotary made an award for youth service.  According to President John Blasco, “this recognition is long overdue.  Our youth are our future leaders.  By recognizing them now, we acknowledge that the future in their hands is bright.  Justin Sleppy is an outstanding example of the hope we all have for tomorrow’s leaders.