Former Skagway News owner Jeff Brady wasn’t entirely caught off guard when Skagway School Superintendent Josh Coughran called to inform him he had won this year’s Don Hather Wall of Fame award.
“I kind of had an inkling,” Brady said.
While giving out the Helen B. Clark Award for Skagway Community Service last December, the crowd asked Brady when he would receive recognition for his own contributions.
“I can’t win, I give it [the award] away,” he protested.
Brady got his due when the school board voted in April to honor him with the Hather award, an accolade given to individuals or groups who “have contributed to the benefit of Skagway School in an exceptional manner over the course of several years.”
Originally started in 2012, the wall is in honor of Skagway resident Don Hather, a former coach and booster of Skagway School and its sports teams.
School board member Jaime Bricker described Brady’s service to the school.
“Jeff has been a supporter of the school for countless years – covering school events in the paper, fostering the newsies program that taught Skagway School students the value of hard work and great forward-facing tourism customer service. He ran internships for youth journalism (one of his protegees won a pulitzer and another is working on a documentary about Skagway.) His work with the Margaret Frans Brady Fund awards students the opportunity to continue education related to art. He encourages athleticism and outdoor activities to Skagway youth through Log Cabin Ski Society and offers up his personal property to ski activities. I could go on and on. He certainly has my respect and gratitude,” she said.
Brady, whose youngest child is now in college, continues to attend basketball games and DDF competitions, turning in pictures and write-ups to the new owners of The Skagway News.
“I don’t know what we would do without Jeff taking care of basketball for us,” said co-owner Gretchen Wehmhoff. “He still loves going to the games.”
Brady said the award is particularly meaningful this year with the death of Betty Hather, Don’s wife.
Ever the journalist, Brady’s acceptance speech was succinct.
“I really appreciate it,” he told the crowd, then shared a story about Don.