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Rotary Club of Kenai, Alaska

A Brief History

In 1982, the Kenai-Soldotna Rotary Club was the one and only club on the Kenai, Alaska Peninsula.  The club's meeting place was in Soldotna, and the nearest club to attend for a "make-up" meeting was in Anchorage -about 170 miles away over a mountain pass.


The Kenai-Soldotna club agreed to sponsor a new Kenai club and the founding fathers of the new club were Brad Wade, Leroy Heinrich, Dr. Dick McCartan, and Elmer "Mo" Knight.  This group invited some other business people in Kenai to a breakfast meeting to determine if there was enough interest.  Attending that meeting were Matt Amundson, Richard Ross, Bill Thompson, Dale Sandahl, Tom Wagoner, and George Ford who had been involved with Rotary since 1954 and who was also a charter member of the Kenai-Soldotna Rotary Club.


Breakfast meetings continued weekly at the Sheffield House as a provisional club.  Officers and board members were elected, and the club was granted its charter in February 1983.  Ed Philleo, the District Governor of 503 and Carl Swenson, the District Governor Elect, made the charter presentation on March 4, 1983 at the Kenai Elks Club.  The first officers and board members of the club were:


President:  Brad Wade/ Clergy


Vice President: Clancy Johnson/ Borough Government, Civil Defense


Secretary: Leroy Heinrich / Petrochemical Manufacturing


Treasurer: Matt Amundson / Banking, Commercial


Club Service: Clyde Baxley  / Professional Sports, Baseball


Community Service: Elmer "Mo" Knight / Federal Government, Aviation


Vocational Service: Steve Doughty / Telephone, Central Office


International Service: George Ford / Petrochemical Manufacturing


The first female club member was Barbara Wilcox, and she was admitted on April 1, 1990 with the classification of Government Finance.  In 1997, Eleanor Thomson became the first female president.



The following is a list of club presidents & classifications to-date:


1982-1983: Provisional Club Brad Wade / Clergy


1983 3 months Brad Wade / Clergy


1983-1984 Matt Amundson / Banking, Commercial


1984-1985 Dale Sandahl /   Education, Personnel


1985-1986 Clancy Johnson  / Local Government


1986-1987 Mark Winston / Footwear


1987-1988     4 months Paul Epperson /   Education, High School


1987-1988 8 months Leroy Heinrich / Petrochemical Manufacturing


1988-1989 Leroy Heinrich / Petrochemical Manufacturing


1989-1990 Rick Baldwin / Law


1990-1991 2 months Dave Bredin / Gas Utility


1990-1991 10 months George Ford / Petrochemical Manufacturing


1991-1992 John Dahlgren / Education, High School


1992-1993 Tom Boedecker / Local Government, Law


1993-1994 Bill Kluge / Architecture


1994-1995 Nelson Amen /  Petroleum Engineering


1995-1996 Charlie Pierce / Natural Gas Utility


1996-1997 Lloyd Johnson / Banking, Commercial


1997-1998 Eleanor Thomson / Business Management


1998-1999 Dave Feeken / Real Estate


1999-2000 7 months Bob Newbry / Retail Management


1999-2000 5 months Rick Baldwin / Law


2000-2001 Duane Bannock / Auto Sales


2001-2002 Barry Eldridge / Marine Shipping


2002-2003 Randy Daly / Office Equipment Marketing


2003-2004 Gaye Dawkins / Banking


2004-2005 Linda L. Snow / Municipal Government


2005-2006 Wes Keller / Title & Escrow Services


2006-2007 Matt Streiff / Financial Services


2007-2008 Dave Derry / Real Estate Appraising


2008-2009 Mya Renken / Visitor Service Administration


2009-2010 Jeanette Desimone / Substance Abuse Counseling


2010-2011 Barry Eldridge / Marine Shipping


2011-2012 Trenten Dodson / Financial Services


2012-2013 Scott Harman / Metal Fabrication


2013-2014 Carrie Couey / Real Estate


2016-2017 Karl Heinz / Financial Services


2017-2018 Dick Peck / Management Controlling





The following club members have become Paul Harris Fellows:  Dick Peck, Karl Heinz, Nelson Amen, Rick Baldwin, Dave Derry, Barry Eldrige, George Ford, Jim Hampton, Lloyd Johnson, William "Bill" Kluge, William Phillips, Linda L. Snow, Chuck Stauffer, William Thompson, Tom Wagoner, Jeff Belluomini, Randy Daly.  Non-club members who have become Paul Harris Fellows are Julie Derry and Mary Ford. (Last updated 2007)

The club has held a variety of fundraising events, and the three most successful were raffles (Hawaii trip, Guns, Boat trip to Nuka Island, Super Bowl, etc.), Rotary Roses for sale, and the Fourth of July Pre-Parade Breakfast.  Raffles have earned the most money.

The following four have been the top priority club projects:


(1) since its 1995 inception, the annual "Not for Sale" ethics program at the Kenai Central High School.


(2) the 1998 establishment of the Rotary Interact Club at the Kenai Central High School.


(3) since 1983, the club has provided annual college scholarships to graduating high school seniors.


(4) Soap Box Derby