Paul and Rebecca Harris met and where married in Kotzebue, Alaska. Paul is originally from Lithia, Florida and moved to Alaska constructing schools and hospitals for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). There they raised their family and supported the local community serving on various boards and supporting community programs. Rebecca grew up in Point Hope, Alaska and attended High School at Mount Edgecumbe High School, as her village did not have a High School. Mount Edgecumbe was then, operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. She then went to college at Arkansas City Kansas Junior College and Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. Rebecca, along with a small committee in Kotzebue, wrote the grant which would put into place the first public radio for the Northwest Region of Alaska. It was a life line for many people who lived in the villages with no other way to communicate with others in the region. It is still in operation to this day and follows the same format. You can even listen to it online. KOTZ radio out of Kotzebue, Alaska. Rebecca was a part of Beta Sigma Phi, which met regularly, supported many projects in the community and provided leadership training. She taught Kindergarten at Kotzebue Elementary School. Paul, along with a small committee, wrote a grant to provide a teen center so that the youth of Kotzebue would have a safe place to go to do activities. There are people to this day, who touch base and say what an important part of their life this center was and are thankful for his efforts. Paul also served on the City Council and was instrumental in Kotzebue being awarded the “All American City” in 1980. Paul was a member of the Kotzebue Lions Club and was very active with all of its efforts and manned the hamburger grill for the 4th of July Booth. He served on the local Search and Rescue and has many wonderful stories to share about that.
Paul and Rebecca, along with 2 other couples, formed EON, Inc., and provided many valued services for the village. They operated a general store, to insure that everyone in the village had a fair place to purchase goods. They also shipped to villages in the surrounding area. They operated a commercial Salmon buying business when it came to light that local fisherman were being cheated out of money owed to them. They opened the farthest North Dairy Queen and supplied schools in the region with free Dilly Bars for any class party they held. They have always fostered a love of community, taking care of one another and respecting everyone’s rights. They have openly shared all their knowledge and artifacts of the Inupiaq people with Title VI Native American and Alaskan Native Education Initiative and for that we are very grateful. For this, we are proud to present Paul and Rebecca Harris with our 2016-2017 Everyday Hero Award!