Rotary District Governor Gayle Knepper presents Evy Gebhardt and 33 other Soldotna Rotarians with their Paul Harris awards.
Rotary International (RI) is the largest philanthropic organization of its kind in the world. Now in its 102nd year Rotary and its partners have been working to protect children worldwide from the cruel and potentially fatal consequences of polio along with a myriad of other humanitarian and educational projects around the world through the Rotary Foundation. A foundation which was started in 1917 to honor the memory of Rotary’s founder Paul Harris an attorney from Chicago with a remarkable idea of how business people could work together without religious or political ties to achieve community service.
Rotary District Governors Skip Cook and Gayle Knepper traveled from Anchorage and Fairbanks to present the Soldotna Rotary Club with the first ever 100% PHF Club membership award in their district that includes Russia and Yukon Territory.
A year ago Soldotna Rotary Club President Mike Bookout set a club goal to honor its founding father Fred Chambers by earning the first 100% Paul Harris membership award in all of Rotary District 5010, which includes Russia and Yukon Territory Canada. “Because Fred brought Rotary to the Kenai Peninsula and the experience of Service Above Self which has led to 4 other clubs being formed on the Peninsula and nearly 50 clubs now in Russia, not to mention the many college scholarships and community projects sponsored by the club over the last 27 years, we thought it appropriate to honor Rotarian Chambers in a special way to show our appreciation in a way that would be meaningful to him. So the club members all helped each other earn their Paul Harris Fellowships through all kinds of special events and this March we reached our goal of becoming the first 100% Paul Harris Fellowship Club in District 5010,” said Bookout. To become a Paul Harris Fellow, a Rotarian must have contributed $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation. “We have many multiple Paul Harris Fellows in our club and we have had 100% sustaining membership, meaning we pledge $10 a month to the Foundation until we reach the $1,000 dollar level for many years. So with the team effort that our club is known for, we put everyone over the top for Fred,” added Bookout. To honor the efforts of the Soldotna Club, Past District Governor Skip Cook and present District Governor Gayle Knepper traveled to Soldotna to present each member with their Paul Harris Fellowship and the Club with the only 100% Paul Harris Fellowship banner anywhere in Alaska, Russia, or the Yukon Territory. “This was a tremendous effort and I am so proud to have come to present this award to a community that has truly learned what Rotary and our Foundation is about. It is infectious and once a club like this has realized that Rotary goes beyond the fellowship and friendship of helping their community, but has stepped to the plate to reach out to world, the rewards are remarkable and will be realized through out your community,” said Knepper. As District Governor of Rotary District 5010, Knepper will leave July 10th to visit each Rotary club throughout Alaska, Yukon Territory and Russia, by the time she returns to her home it will be mid January.
Rotary continues to grow on the Kenai Peninsula and last month a new evening club was chartered in Homer and a new Kenai River Club has received its provisional status and is meeting Tuesday evenings, 6:30pm at the Borough Building, Conference Room B, in Soldotna. For more information about Rotary and local Rotary Clubs go to www.soldotnarotary.org.
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