The Ketchikan Visitors Bureau building on the downtown cruise ship dock. (KRBD file photo)

Ketchikan Visitors Bureau honored individuals and tourism businesses last month during its annual awards banquet at the Ted Ferry Civic Center.

The banquet raises funds for the Kris Geldaker Memorial Scholarship. Geldaker was a longtime KVB member and past chair of the KVB board of directors. The annual scholarship provides $2,500 for students pursuing tourism-related career opportunities.

The Ketchikan Visitors Bureau initiated its awards program in 1979.  Initially, two awards were presented: The Rainbird Award for work performed on behalf of KVB; and the Golden Totem to recognize innovation or cooperative efforts to enhance Ketchikan as a visitor destination.

The Spirit of Alaska award was introduced in 1983 to honor those who exemplify high standards of hospitality. The Heart of the Community Award was added in 1998 honoring those who give back to the community; and the Chinook Award was established in 2009 to recognize those who generate economic benefits to the community through events in Ketchikan.  

This year’s Rainbird Award went to Stephen Bradford, who served as the Borough Assembly liaison to the KVB during his term of office.

The Spirit of Alaska Award went to Merita Kamberi, a longtime employee of The Landing restaurant.

The Heart of the Community Award went to Tongass Trading Company, recognized for its more than 100 years serving the community.

The Chinook Award went to Lynn Wadley, who recently retired from her position as activities director at Ketchikan High School

And the Golden Totem Award went to Ketchikan Museums, for its work on the Tongass Historical Museum renovation and expansion.