Alvin Gordon accepts the award from News publish Jeff Brady at a Chamber of Commerce meeting in April 2007.

Helen B. Clark award to Alvin and Lorene Gordon

Alvin and Lorene Gordon were named the recipients of the 2006 Helen B. Clark Award for Skagway Community Service during the annual Yuletide Ball.
The award recognized their work on an incredible community project that they took on this past summer, as well as past dedication and service to the community through the school, city and local chamber of commerce.
“This past year they were upset at the state of repair and neglect at the Pioneer Cemetery,” said their nomination letter. “Instead of griping to the city about it, they gave of themselves in the form of untold hours spent in renovating the cemetery dedicated to the pioneers of our city. They researched and re-marked old graves, replaced broken grave markers, and single-handedly made the cemetery a place fitting for those who have been laid to rest there.”
The project actually started several years ago when Lorene Gordon was city clerk and researched the cemetery on her own. The daughter of long-time magistrate Virginia Burfield, she knew right where to go for the cemetery records, and starting compiling a map. This summer she and Alvin were up at the cemetery early, often by 6 a.m., to work on the project of sprucing up the cemetery.
Alvin also was involved with the school, whether serving as a board member or volunteering. He also has been active with the Chamber of Commerce, volunteering for years at the Skagway booth at the annual Yukon Trade Show. He also was a men’s basketball league coach and supporter, a mainstay of the men’s bowling league, and a volunteer on several city committees over the years.
“If someone needed a hand, Alvin volunteered two. If someone was in need, Lorene quietly wrote a check,” the nomination letter said. “If you needed a friend at coffee, Alvin was always there.”

Sun shines on the work of the Gordons at Pioneer Cemetery.

They both have a rich history in Skagway. Lorene was born here to lifelong residents Bill and Virginia Burfield. Her mother was a sister in one of Skagway’s original families, the Hillerys. Lorene’s aunts are Bea Lingle, and the late Jean Hildebrand and Helen Clark. The award was named for Helen, and Bea has also won it. Alvin came here as a child with his mother, Martha, and step-dad, Don Whelpley.
They were both employed by White Pass – Lorene in the office and Alvin as both a conductor and dispatcher. Later Lorene became city clerk, and Alvin purchased the local fuel business, which they operated as Skagway Fuels for 14 years. After selling the business, they built and ran the Back Track RV Park.
They raised five children in Skagway: Margie, Judean, Rob, J.G., and Rocky. Now retired, they spend much of the winter visiting family in their RV and will return to Skagway in the spring.
“It is because of their continued dedication to this community over the years that we would consider it an honor to have them be the recipents of the Helen B. Clark Award,” the letter concluded. “Lorene and Alvin are truly following in their Aunt Helen’s foosteps.”
Helen Clark was the first recipient of the Skagway Community Service Award in March 1988. Before she passed away from cancer later that year, she agreed to have the award named for her, so future generations in Skagway could remember her volunteer spirit. The award can recognize volunteer work in the community over the past year, or a lifetime of service to the community. The award is sponsored by The Skagway News Co., and we take nominations from the public. In addition to Helen, past recipients of the award are Darlene Hoover, Connie Conard, Elma McMillen, Bea Lingle, Anna True, Boyd and Jean Worley, Jaime Gagnier, Buckwheat Donahue, , Alan See, Mike O’Daniel, Bob Dill, John L. O’Daniel, Tina Cyr, Lynn Herbig, Barb Brodersen, and Don and Betty Hather. These past winners who are still with us and in town during this time of year make up the selection committee.
The award was announced by News publisher Jeff Brady, who will present it to the Gordons in the spring at a time to be announced.