STURGEON BAY, WI (August 18, 2016) – Sixteen iconic figures in the rich maritime history of the Door Peninsula and three local Coast Guardsmen were honored at the annual Mariner Award Dinner held at the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club on Monday evening, August 8.
A joint effort by the Door County Maritime Museum and Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club, the Mariner Award is presented annually to recognize individuals who have had significant, positive and lasting impact on the Door County maritime community. One living and at least one deceased recipient are honored each year. The nominees for this year’s Mariner Award were Jeff Weborg, Minnie Hesh Cochems, Ingar Olsen, Steve Brunstrom, Joseph Harris Jr., Clifford B. Hart, Bill Parsons, Dick Purinton, August Rieboldt, William “Curly” Selvick, Leathem “Tim” Stearn, Alanson Sweet, Martha Burris, Dennis Hickey, Ken Schmidtke and Todd Thayse.
Nominees for the Sturgeon Bay area Coast Guard Person of the Year were also honored at the dinner. Sponsored by the City of Sturgeon Bay Coast Guard Committee, Greater Green Bay Council of U.S. Navy League, and Door County Maritime Museum, this award recognizes a local active duty Coast Guardsman who exemplifies the Coast Guard’s core values of Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty. The nominees for this year’s award were Machinery Technician First Class Nicholas Foster who is stationed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay, Seaman Ashley-Starr Clark from Coast Guard Station Sturgeon Bay and Lieutenant Brett Belanger from the Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment (MSD) in Sturgeon Bay.
The 2016 Mariner Award recognizing a living nominee went to Dick Purinton. Purinton has worked more than 40 years with the Washington Island Ferry Line starting as a deckhand, progressing to captain, general manager and eventually company president and owner. Under his leadership, the ferry line has continued to successfully serve as the island’s lifeline to the mainland. Purinton is also an accomplished historian and his skills as a published author ensure that the history of the island is preserved for future generations.
Posthumous honors went to local maritime legends Jeff Weborg, August Rieboldt and Alanson Sweet. Weborg was honored for his efforts to both preserve the commercial fishery so identified with Gills Rock as well as his generosity to the community and his willingness to help those in need, on the water and on land. Sweet was the real driving force in the growth of Baileys Harbor and the county as a whole while Rieboldt is considered one of the founding fathers of Sturgeon Bay’s shipbuilding heritage.
Purinton was presented the Mariner Award trophy, a hand-crafted original work by noted local woodcarver David Frykman. Weborg, Sweet and Rieboldt were added to the impressive Mariner Award plaque that is prominently displayed on the second floor of the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay.
Seaman Clark, who distinguished herself for her dedicated volunteer work within the community from the time she was first stationed in the county, was this year’s Coast Guard Person of the Year. She received an impressive wooden plaque depicting the Coast Guard Seal. Lt. Belanger was also recognized for stepping up and providing leadership when it was needed at the MSD office.
The Coast Guard Person of the Year and Mariner Award dinner was part of the annual “Sturgeon Bay Maritime Week: A Salute to the United States Coast Guard." The festival brings together many long-standing annual events along with new and exciting activities to celebrate the area’s rich maritime heritage and to honor local Coast Guard units.