Day had his night.
Kirby Day, port manager for Holland America Group, was named Citizen of the Year Saturday at the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner held in Centennial Hall.
“I’ve been so fortunate to end up here,” Day said after receiving his award. “I love this community. I’m humbled to be on the list of people who have stood up and received this award.”
Day, who helped start and shape Tourism Best Management Practices, said he’s pleased to do his job and happy about where he does it.
“I’ve been honored and blessed to be in this industry for 38 years, 31 of it in Juneau,” Day said. “I will always think of this as my home.”
Fittingly, the dinner’s theme was Cruise the Night Away, and Day was greeted onstage by the opening of the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine.”
“Is that supposed to be my era of music?” Day joked while shiny confetti fell.
After the ceremony, Day said he was completely surprised to receive the award and credited his coworkers and opportunities that have allowed him to make decisions that have had a local impact.
Day said hiring local has been “near and dear” to his heart over the years, and there are people who started out holding signs for him who have gone on to become business owners.
He said it might be contrived, but that takes a team effort.
“It’s not me, it’s a number of people I’ve worked with and learned from,” Day said.
Steve and Jean Sztuk were similarly surprised by the Lifetime Achievement Award the couple received during the dinner.
“We’re absolutely honored, and I’m stunned,” said Jean Sztuk, longtime director for Juneau Fourth of July Parade Committee. “Usually, when I start talking people say, ‘Will she ever shut up?’ But I’m honored. I don’t know what else to say.”
Steve Sztuk, a World War II veteran who worked for Alaska Electric Light & Power for 42 years, thanked everyone for the award.
After the ceremony, Jean Sztuk said she had an inkling her husband might be receiving an award because she was asked by event organizers for some information about him, but when their names were read, it still came as a shock.
“I just grabbed his hand and said to my angels, ‘Thank you.’” Jean Sztuk said. “I haven’t cried in years, and I almost lost it.”
The Sztuks weren’t the only Lifetime Achievement Award recipients as an unprecedented third award winner was also announced.
State Sen. Dennis Egan, former Juneau mayor and a hall-of-fame broadcaster, also received the award.
Egan was unable to attend the dinner; however, presenters said he would be honored at an upcoming luncheon.
Gavel to gavel
The dinner also served as a changing of the guard for the chamber.
Outgoing president Richard Burns passed the gavel to incoming president Mike Satre.
Satre outlined a couple of hopes for his term while addressing attendees, including increasing membership.
“As our membership strengthens and grows, we’ll build our financial strength,” Satre said.
He also said he wants to ensure existing members get as much as they can from the chamber.
“That’s my one goal as president this year,” Satre said.
•Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at 523-2243 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @capweekly.