The Mason LaZelle Achievement Award is one of the highest honors for electric utility workers in the state -- it recognizes dedication to electric work in Alaska. This month the award went to a Dillingham resident for the first time in 30 years.
Henry Strub has worked at Nushagak Cooperative in Dillingham for 35 years. He first decided to volunteer for the board because he wanted to find a way to serve his community.
“I felt like I needed to volunteer for something,” said Strub. “I was too old for the draft and I was right in the middle so I didn’t have to go for any other military service. I just always felt a feeling to do something for my community.”
When Strub found out this month that he’d won the Alaska Power Association’s highest award he was ecstatic.
“I was totally surprised. I wasn’t able to get online properly and I was doing it from the co-op board room,” he said. “It was the last award of the award portion of the meeting, and in came two of the ladies from Nushagak with an award for me. I was totally surprised and delighted. And they also brought me a six pack of beer.”
The Mason LaZelle Achievement Award recognizes the recipient’s leadership, and their work supporting and improving electric utilities. Strub is only the second person from Dillingham to have ever received it. The previous awardee was Dave Bouker in 1990.
The award is named for Mason LaZelle, a former manager of the Matanuska Electric Association who died in a plane crash in 1968.
Strub has served on several board positions since joining Nushagak’s board in 1985. He used to serve on the APA board of directors. Now, he’s the chair of the Alaska Committee for the Advancement of Rural Electrification, a non-partisan political action committee that backs political candidates who support electric cooperatives.
Michael Rovito is the deputy director of the APA. He praised Strub’s work with the rural electrification committee.
“Henry has really been a force in being engaged with that, keeping it active, bringing in donations so that we can support candidates that support election consumers,” Rovito said. “He’s been really great on that effort.”
Strub now serves on the board of directors for the APA insurance exchange and as vice president of the Nushagak Cooperative board of directors in Dillingham.
Board President Pete Andrew has served with Strub for nearly two decades.
“His leadership and calmness always is ratifying what the members need for service. He does a really good job taking care of membership needs,” said Andrew. “The success of Nushagak Cooperative is very much a result of Henry’s good, hard work.”
Bob Himshoot is the CEO of Nushagak Cooperative. He said he appreciates Strub’s consistency and dedication.
“Henry’s always there every month,” Himshoot said. “He’s always prepared and that’s a lot of volunteer time over 35 years. He’s an absolute asset - substantiated by the fact that he’s been re-elected like 13 different times!”
Strub said he is proud of his service since volunteering for the APA and Nushagak Cooperative.
“I’m really rewarded by what I see when I go around and see the system here. I like to tell members that that belongs to them,” said Strub. “This whole system – this is a member-owned not-for-profit cooperative.”
Strub said he is grateful for the opportunities he’s had and the people he’s met and that he’s excited to continue his work.
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