All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for November 2003

Realtor doesn't let MS stop her from giving

PeggyAnn McConnochie named Chamber's 2003 Citizen of the Year

November 3, 2003
Tara Sidor
 Juneau Empire

When PeggyAnn McConnochie was 15 years old, she answered the plea of a Spokane, Wash., disc jockey, who wanted youth to spend time with folks homebound by multiple sclerosis.

McConnochie organized a group, Youth Against MS. About 10 years later, McConnochie herself was diagnosed with the incurable disease that afflicts the nervous system.

"I must admit when I first heard I had MS, I thought of the people I visited," she said in a recent interview at her home.

McConnochie not only didn't let MS stop her, but she has contributed so much to society that the Juneau Chamber of Commerce named her the 2003 Citizen of the Year. The award was presented on Oct. 25 at the chamber's annual dinner at Centennial Hall.

"It's the magnitude of her contribution to the community and her genuine nature," explained Chamber Executive Director Todd Saunders.

McConnochie gives to the community without seeking personal benefit and is involved in a diverse number of organizations, Saunders added.

McConnochie, 47, owns ACH Consulting, a real estate company she operates out of her house on Pioneer Avenue in West Juneau. She and her husband, John, arrived in Juneau in 1980 because John got a job offer to be the assistant manager at the former Juneau Racquet Club. Today the McConnochies co-own the club - now called The Alaska Club.

A frequent tennis player at the club, Dick Isett, told John that PeggyAnn should go into real estate. She met Isett's real estate broker, Bob Barbutti, now deceased, who taught her the business starting in 1982. In 1986, Barbutti sold McConnochie his business, Alaska Coastal Homes, Inc. and she ran it for nine years. She spent a year at Crawford Real Estate before opening ACH Consulting.

The number of offices she has held with the National Association of Realtors takes up a full page on her resume. All of her organization affiliations take up another page plus numerous honors.

In 1992, she was Alaska Association of Realtors' Realtor of the Year. A past president of the chamber, McConnochie is a co-organizer of the annual MS Walk/Run, belongs to the Juneau-Gastineau Rotary Club and is vice chair of the University of Alaska Southeast Campus Council to name a few. She continues to give back to her alma mater by being a recruiter for Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., where she received a bachelor of arts degree in history and American studies.

As a child, McConnochie was taught to give back to her community. Her mother, Dianne, stayed at home and gave time to charity. She was the one who often drove McConnochie and her friends around Spokane to spend time with folks homebound by MS.

"It's how I am, and it's how I was raised," she said, explaining her contributions to society. "It's what is right.

Despite all of her community work, McConnochie finds time to take care of herself against any additional problems related to MS.

She gets up at 5 a.m. and works out six days a week to keep her muscles strong and flexible. MS eliminated her sense of balance so she cannot ride a traditional bicycle.

But she found a way around it.

She brought stationary bicycle spinning to Juneau after she learned about the exercise equipment while going to trade shows with John.

"I clip in, put my tunes on and I'm gone," she said.

Copyright © 2003, Juneau Empire