Hal Smalley said the Vic Fischer Local Government Leadership Award had Pete Sprague's name written all over it.
That is why he and Kenai Peninsula Borough Clerk Johni Blankenship nominated Sprague for the award from the Alaska Municipal League, which was presented at its annual local government conference in Juneau last month.
"We felt he exhibited the qualities that were on the application for the award," said Smalley, a sitting Kenai Peninsula Borough assemblyman and president of AML. "He's served for the benefit of the community, for the benefit of the state and the benefit of national organizations."
Sprague, former Kenai Peninsula Borough Assemblyman who also served on the Soldotna City Council, said he was "floored" when his name was announced as the recipient.
"I was very, very humbled and very honored," he said.
While it might have been a surprise to Sprague, it was not a surprise to others, Smalley said.
"He has a vision and he takes input from everyone," Smalley said. "I've seen him change and go a 180 on an issue because he listened to others and found out other comments are valid."
To Smalley, that's the mark of a good leader, one who is willing to listen and has the ability to change his mind for the good of the people.
"Most often he's right on the mark," he said. "He helps folks through his vision to see the entire picture."
According to the AML website, the Vic Fischer Local Government Leadership Award was established in 2000 in honor of Vic Fischer, one of the original delegates to Alaska's constitutional convention.
There is only one Vic Fischer award given per year to a local government official who demonstrates significant statewide contribution to improving local government and communities in Alaska.
Sprague was an elected official for 13 years, also serving on the Alaska Municipal League and on the National Association of Counties and the Western Interstate Region representing Alaska.
In October he was term-limited out of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, but that does not mean he is done with public service.
"It has been a big adjustment from being very involved to being a concerned citizen, but I think that's important as well," he said. "I really enjoy public service, I just needed to step back a little bit but I'll see what avenues are open in the near future."
In the meantime, Sprague, an avid skier, said he plans on getting out to ski more as well as reading.
"I'm just really glad to have had the opportunity," he said.
Brielle Schaeffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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