Kenai woman receives national award for work

Posted: Thursday, September 11, 2003

A Kenai woman who spends her time far from the spotlight has found herself in the glow of national recognition after winning an award for her work with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

June Harris, who serves as the primary volunteer advocate for the local Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), was honored by the National Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) earlier this month with the group's national RAINN Honors award. RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline, a network of hot lines run by community outreach groups and volunteers.

The award is given monthly to a rape crisis volunteer or staff member from RAINN's network of more than 1,000 rape crisis hot lines across the nation.

Harris said last week she was shocked to learn she'd won such a prestigious national award.

"It kind of left me speechless," she said.

As a volunteer at the Kenai Women's Resource and Crisis Center, Harris is on call for eight hours each day, seven days a week. In her role at the center, Harris works with law enforcement and medical personnel to assist victims following an assault.

In giving her the award, RAINN cited Harris' more than 2,000 hours of volunteer time in 2002 alone, as well as the fact that she helped found the Kenai Peninsula Run for Women. She has been involved with the WRCC since 1984, serving on the board of directors since 1994.

Because the nature of her work is usually very private, Harris said she really wasn't expecting any kind of honor. She said that's not really what her work is all about anyway.

"I certainly do not do what I do for public recognition," she said. "It is definitely behind the scenes."

Still, she said it's nice to be recognized for her work.

"It's very exciting," she said.

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