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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