On Monday, August 5, the winners of the annual Door County Mariner Awards and Coast Guard Person of the Year Award were announced at the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club. BM1 Andrew Michaels won the Coast Guard Person of the Year Award. Bob Perlewitz was recognized with the Mariner Award, while Clifford B. Hart and Arthur (Art) Zuehlke received Posthumous Mariner Awards.
The Coast Guard Person of the Year Award recognizes a local Coast Guard member who exemplifies the Guard’s core values of Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty. The award is sponsored by the Sturgeon Bay Coast Guard Committee, the Greater Green Bay Chapter of the U.S. Navy League, Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club and the Door County Maritime Museum. The winner is selected from nominees submitted by the USCGC Mobile Bay (WTGB 103), USCG Marine Safety Detachment Sturgeon Bay and USCG Station Sturgeon Bay.
Presented jointly by the Door County Maritime Museum and the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club, the Mariner Award recognizes individuals who have had a significant, positive, lasting impact on the Door County maritime community. The Mariner Award is given to one living recipient and also posthumously to historical Door County maritime figures.
Coast Guard Person of the Year Award Winner: BM1 Andrew Michaels
BM1 Andrew Michaels is the Operations Petty Officer for Station Sturgeon Bay. As such, his duties are primarily focused on day-to-day mission scheduling for all three of the units of Station Sturgeon Bay. BM1 Michaels single-handedly coordinates joint agency operations throughout the waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan. This includes safety zones for dozens of firework displays, Littoral Combat Ship launches, Tall Ships celebrations, and joint ice rescue training with at least seven local fire departments from Brown and Door Counties.
BM1 Michaels also has several other assigned collateral duties that allows him to take care of his shipmates at all three Coast Guard commands in Door County. BM1 Michaels is the unit’s Health Promotion Coordinator and assists several members with their daily workouts and nutritional advice. BM1 Michaels is the sole coordinator for Operation HOMEFRONT, which allows Coast Guard families the opportunity to receive donated school supplies prior to the beginning of the school year. He acts as the Station Sturgeon Bay liaison for the Sturgeon Bay Coast Guard Committee. BM1 Michaels also works closely with Adopt-A- Soldier’s Nancy Hutchinson coordinating emergency funding for members and other volunteer opportunities to assist local veterans.
Mariner Award Winner: Bob Perlewitz
When the John Purves was gifted to the Door County Maritime Museum in 2003, a monumental task of rehabilitation and restoration faced museum leadership. There was only one man qualified to head up the project, one who served aboard the Purves for 23 years, most as Chief Engineer: Bob Perlewitz. Working with a core group of ten volunteers and coordinating an additional 60 individuals over 5½ years, Perlewitz and crew transformed the Purves from years of neglect into a thing of beauty. Volunteers invested 32,000 hours in the tug, while “The Chief” alone accumulated over 13,000 hours.Without Bob’s dedication, attention to detail, and respect for his ship and crew, the rich history of this tug would no doubt be lost in a scrapyard.
Posthumous Mariner Award Winner: Arthur (Art) Zuehlke
Art had a lasting impact on Door County and the Sturgeon Bay shipbuilding industry during a marine engineering career spanning over 40 years, especially during his tenure as the president of Bay Shipbuilding Corporation (now Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding). For nine years, Mr. Zuehlke led the young Bay Shipbuilding Company to become the largest shipyard on the Great Lakes. Under his leadership, through efficiency and productivity, Bay Shipbuilding built 15 new self-unloading vessels and converted many others. In addition to his professional life, Mr. Zuehlke was active in many maritime organizations and societies including The Propeller Club and the American Bureau of Shipping.
Posthumous Mariner Award Winner: Clifford B. Hart
Captain Clifford B. Hart was a career Great Lakes sailor and prominent citizen of Sturgeon Bay in the early days of the 20th century. Captain Hart began his sailing career at age 12, becoming captain of his own ship at a very young age. With his brother, he established a successful shipping company based out of Oconto in 1873. In 1905, Captain Hart sold his interest in the company and established the Hart Transportation Company based in Sturgeon Bay. His wife Harriet was his business partner. With their steamer Sailor Boy, they created a successful business providing transportation from Sturgeon Bay to Menominee, as well as ferrying resort guests to ports throughout Door County.