Community spirit gets Nikiski pastor service award

Posted: Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Denver Copeland loves finding opportunities for his church community to get involved.

He was recognized for this attitude at the Nikiski Chamber of Commerce's 22nd annual awards banquet Saturday at Agrium Camp with the Community Service Award.

"It's quite an honor," Copeland, a pastor at Lighthouse Community Church said. "There's a lot of people that had a hand in that (award). It really doesn't go just to me."

He said it goes to his entire church and other Nikiski churches that continually makes an effort to get involved in the community.

Judene Van Cleave, president of the Nikiski chamber, said he was selected for the award because he is always interested in helping other people. She said he coordinates efforts all around the community to make it a better place. "He never stops," she said.

Copeland's church works in a breakfast program at Nikiski North Star Elementary School that feeds more than 100 kids every day.

He also brings in World Changers, an organization that makes improvements to low-income and handicapped homes, and has them work with other churches in the community.

This year, his church is developing some new sports fields and a picnic area for public use.

"We're pretty much open to any way we can help," he said.

Lighthouse Community Church also hosted the weekly chamber luncheons until recently when it was moved to Ohana's Restaurant.

Copeland said he has enjoyed being involved in the luncheons because it gives people a chance to come together and talk about the needs of the community.

Van Cleave said the chamber's goals will remain the same this year, focusing in on education.

Every year the chamber awards scholarships to high school students. This year, she said the chamber hopes to increase the amount of money they generate for the scholarships. "That's our main focus," she said.

Saturday's ceremony also featured presentations by various community organizations — including area educators, she said. Van Cleave said the presentations were incredible.

"Educators from our area were incredibly excited, exuberant and positive," she said.

The following people and organizations also were recognized at Saturday's event:

n BJ Services was recognized as the business of the year.

n The Community Vision Award was given to Jim and Nedra Evanson.

n Dan Gregory, Nikiski fire chief, was given the President's Choice Award.

n Business Person of the Year was awarded to Nathan, Julaine and Nancy Lewis, owners of the Bear Paw Coffee Shop and Deli.



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