Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Awards Ceremony

We hosted a beachside barbeque on Monday night to thank the Friends of the Monument for all the work they did to support the creation of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument. We handed out "2009 Engaged Citizen Awards" to all of the members. Below are some of the members accepting their awards.

Ike Cabrera was the first award winner of the evening. Ike has been on four trips to the states on behalf of the Friends of the Monument, earning him the "Most Onepass Miles Earned" Award.

Heinz Hofschneider was given a "Special Award for Legislative Courage" for his early support of the monument.

Alexie wrote the Boon or Bane article for Island Locator Magazine. The article explored the issues of the monument from both sides. Since the monument is now a reality, she was awarded the "Boon or Bane Award."

Bryan Jones kick started our school outreach program. He also sent a number of photos to Washington, DC of student volunteers working to build support for the monument. He was named the "MTMNM Photographer of the Year."

Mike Tripp brought a tear to everyone's eye as he gave his speech after winning the "Canadian Heartbreaker" Award.

Laurie Peterka was given an award as the "Oreo and Angelo Babysitter." I will not comment on that award further.

Ken Kramer quit his job to work on supporting the monument, so he was the winner of "Best Sacrifice of a Job." His wife Monique was given a "Most Patient Spouse" Award.

Ruth Tighe was given the "Mightiest Pen" Award for her many columns and letters to the editor during the course of the year. Nobody can zing 'em like Ruth Tighe.

Harry Blalock discussed the monument on his radio talk show almost every day in 2008. He was the recipient of the "Best Radio Face" Award. His wife Kelli received a Lifetime Achievement Award for "Most Patient Spouse."

Jane Mack received the "John Gourley Smackdown Award" for her many letters to the editor refuting his many letters to the editor. This was the most coveted award of the evening.

Wes Bogdan traveled to American Samoa on behalf of the Friends of the Monument earlier this year to testify on Wespac's involvement in drafting regulations for fishing inside the monument boundaries.

MarjaLee Taitano was one of our most consistent volunteers last year. She came to all our meetings and helped us collect signatures for our petition. She's originally from some country in Europe (never really figured out which one), so she was the recipient of the "Best Accent" Award.

Cinta was awarded with the "10/20 Turnout Award" because of the huge number of people she recruited to come to the White House public workshop on October 20, 2008.

Gus Kaipat was given the award for "Best Use of Music as a Lobbying Tactic." When the Federal officials came to Saipan in October 2008 to discuss the monument, the Friends of the Monument greeting them in the lobby of their hotel. While the Friends lined the driveway entrance to the lobby, Gus was strumming away at his ukulele and singing. It was a magical moment.

Agnes McPhetres was named "Toughest DC Lobbyist" for the trip she took to Washington, DC in August 2008 and for her "strength of character" during our meetings with James Connaughton and other Federal officials in October 2008.

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