The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Late Stan Stephens honored by SeaLife Center

Mariner honored with lifetime achievement award funded by Hickels


The late Stan Stephens has been posthumously awarded the Walter J. and Ermalee Hickel Lifetime Achievement award by the Alaska SeaLife Center, recognizing the Valdez mariner's decades of commitment to positive contributions to Alaska's coastal resources.

Stan Stephens will be posthumously honored by the Alaska SeaLife Center this weekend after the organization announced the four recipients of its annual Alaska Ocean Leadership Awards.

Colleen and Mary Helen Stephens, his daughter and wife, and close family friends will accept the Walter J. and Ermalee Hickel Lifetime Achievement on Stephens' behalf this Saturday during the organization's yearly fundraiser, the Alaska Marine Gala, at the Dena'ina Center in Anchorage.

The award was endowed for 10 years by the late Alaska Governor and his wife to recognize "recognize an individual who has made exceptional contributions to the management of Alaska's coastal and ocean resources over a period of 20 years or more."

Stephens started offering wildlife and glacier charters into Prince William Sound from Valdez in the early 1970s.

Valdez Star photo

Many paid respects to Stan Stephens last October during a memorial hosted by the City of Valdez.

"When the Exxon Valdez ran aground in 1989, Stan's was the first vessel to arrive at the scene," the organization said in a press release. "The events during the following days and weeks reordered this priorities and changed the course of his life. Stan spent the remainder of his life as an activist who will long be remembered for brining citizens, regulatory agencies and the oil industry together. As a founding member of the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council, he endeavored to ensure clean water and air at the Valdez Marine Terminal, fighting for Best Available Technologies to be used in the Ballast Water Treatment System and the Vapor Recovery System. He was also instrumental in getting tractor tugs as escort vessels between the terminal and the Gulf of Alaska. Stan became known as the "Keeper of the Sound" because his work was centered on Prince William Sound, yet the impact of his work continues to be felt across the state and around the globe."

Stephens died September 21, 2013.


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