2017 Mariner Award Honors Locals


A number of Door County individuals were recognized for their impact on the local maritime community this month at the annual Mariner Award Dinner held at the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club. Three local Coast Guardsmen were also honored.

The Mariner Award traditionally goes to one living and at least one deceased recipient. This year’s living winner is Steve Brunstrom, who has served for 40 years as a marine surveyor with the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). Brunstrom has also dedicated a number of volunteer hours to the Door County Maritime Museum’s Classic and Wooden Boat Festival. He also served on the museum’s Board of Directors until this year.

The posthumous award recognized local maritime legends, Minnie Hesh Cochems and Joseph Harris, Jr. Cochems, who led a life intertwined with lighthouses. Minnie was the niece of a lighthouse keeper, then the wife of a lighthouse keeper, and eventually she became a lighthouse keeper herself. Joseph was both a lighthouse keeper and the owner of an early Sturgeon Bay boatbuilding business, which gave many local marine craftsmen their start in the boating industry.

Petty Officer Jacob Whitsell was also recognized at the dinner as the year’s Coast Guard Person of the Year.

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