A true Alaska Pioneer, Augie Hiebert, was the first to bring live television to Alaska. His dedication and passion to the news industry allowed Alaskans to watch Neil Armstrong walk on the moon at the same time as our counterparts in the Lower 48. Nearly one year after his death and on Veteran’s Day, Augie was honored at a small but packed ceremony at Mirror Lake Middle School, a place that inspired him in his final years of life. Students captured Augie’s heart. His eyes truly sparkled when he talked about what they did, producing a closed-circuit television show for classmates each morning. Throughout the school year, Augie would visit the students and he watched as the confidence in the kids developed, and he encouraged them and supported them in their quest to improve, and to follow their dreams. After all, it was Augie who taught so many of us that anything is possible if only we believe and work hard enough.

One cold and snowy day in 2006, Augie and his daughter Cathy picked me up and drove me to the school so I could witness first-hand the kids in action. As impressive as they were, it was the twinkle in Augie’s eyes that was distinct and heart-warming. He was making a difference in these kids’ lives – and they were making a difference in his.

Tuesday’s tribute closes an important chapter in Alaska’s history but through the contributions Augie made, I have no doubt that when students approach the studio doors, they will see the sign: The Augie Hiebert Communications Studio, and they will reflect upon that sparkle and they will remember Augie, and thank God for the blessing of having known him.

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