The 2019 Pioneer of the Year, Person of the Year and Order of Polaris awards were presented to inductees and their families at the annual Yukon Transportation Hall of Fame awards ceremony yesterday evening.
The Order of Polaris recipient is the late Albert Michael Warner whose career in the aviation industry spanned nearly 50 years. Warner began his career repairing the fabric, wood and steel tube structure of a damaged Waco aircraft that went through the ice near Carcross.
The Pioneer of the Year recipient is the late George Johnston (K’aashtl’áa) who helped bring his community of Teslin into the modern transportation era. In 1928, Johnston shipped a car from Whitehorse to Teslin and hired local workers to cut a 6.5 km road which eventually became part of the Alaska Highway 13 years later.
The Person of the Year recipient is George Nagano. Nagano is recognized for dedication to his work, as well as the knowledge and experience he gained in his approximately 60-year career. At 86 years old Nagano continues working as a valued member of the Eagle Plains Highway crew.
Yukon has a rich transportation history filled with colourful characters, ingenuity and sheer determination. This year’s Transportation Hall of Fame inductees have made truly remarkable contributions to our territory by expanding our transportation networks, keeping our communities connected and sharing their deep knowledge and passion for transportation.
Minister of Highways and Public Works Richard Mostyn
The Yukon Transportation Hall of Fame was created in 1996 to honour individuals who have made a significant contribution to the transportation industry in Yukon.
The Hall of Fame is located at the Yukon Transportation Museum and is sponsored by the Northern Air Transport Association, the Yukon Transportation Museum, the Yukon Transportation Association and the Government of Yukon.
There are currently 96 Yukoners listed in the Yukon Transportation Hall of Fame.
- The late Albert Michael Warner worked on all manner of aircraft during his career, including single and twin Otters, Beavers, Beechcrafts, Seabees, Norseman, ST-27s, C-46s, DC4s, DC3s, and even the famous CF-CPY that is mounted as a weathervane outside the Yukon Transportation Museum. Warner was well recognized for his skills and knowledge and was a very capable, competent and colourful engineer.
- The late George Johnston (K’aashtl’áa) blended Indigenous culture and Western knowledge effortlessly. Johnston used his car for hunting and trapping in the winter, for local celebrations, and for ferrying both people and goods between Teslin and their destination. He was a true visionary, and the George Johnston Museum in Teslin still houses his car and tells his intriguing story.
- George Nagano started his career in highway maintenance in 1954 working on the Silver Trail. Throughout his career Nagano held positions as a heavy equipment operator for trucks and equipment, road foreman and northern area superintendent. Nagano worked out of the grader stations in Mayo, Stewart Crossing, Dawson City and Eagle Plains, and still maintains a valid class 1 drivers licence with air brake endorsement. Nagano is known for his vast knowledge and experience, pleasant demeanor and incredible work ethic.