Rotarians check out peninsula

Posted: Tuesday, May 20, 2003

The moose, the eagles and the vastness of Alaska seem to have made the greatest impression so far on five visitors from Wales and England participating in the Group Study Exchange of Rotary International.

On their way to make a presentation about their part of the world to the Rotary Club of Kenai on Monday, they group saw an eagle fly past the windshield of the vehicle in which they were traveling.

"I've never seen a bald eagle ... or a moose," said Lee Winterbot-tom, a paramedic from the Wirral peninsula. "And, we almost got to see a bear, but it was gone by the time we got to where it was reported to have been."

The three men and two women, visiting the Kenai Peninsula for four days, will spend a total of five weeks in Alaska and Yukon, Canada, participating in educational, vocational and social activities, learning about the countries they visit and sharing information about England and Wales.

The exchange program, sponsored by The Rotary Foundation, is designed to enhance understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.

During a slide show at the Rotary meeting Monday, the visitors portrayed "life as it is where we're from," said Winterbottom. "In terms of our vocations, we're looking to see how (life) is here."

Winterbottom is to spend today with the Kenai Fire Department, particularly looking at methods and procedures of paramedics here.

Another visitor, Ben McCann, is a university lecturer in England and will visit Kenai Peninsula College and the Peninsula Clarion offices.

"I have just been impressed by the vastness of your country ... I mean your state," he said. "It seems like a country to us."

Colin James is the group's leader, who is visiting Alaska for the first time.

"It's been wonderful the hospitality, the people. It really is warm and heartfelt," he said.

Maria Martin, a police inspector, and Leonie Richards, a public health officer, will visit with Kenai Police Chief Chuck Kopp and the Kenai Public Health Center, respectively.

Martin and Richards presented a travelogue-type slide show of Liverpool, one of the largest cities in the group's English-Welsh Rotary district, noting that the city, which celebrates its 800th birthday in 2007, "has many sites devoted to our favorite sons, The Beatles."

After visiting the central peninsula, the group heads to Homer on Wednesday.

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