DUNEDIN – Never in a million years, local chiropractor Pat Snair thought she would learn how to install a soffit.
It was not part of the chiropractor’s job description. But Snair took the hit from Habitat for Humanity while working on a project, and it’s one of his many memories as a member of the Rotary Club of Dunedin North, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
“With our speakers and the people who are here and the things that we do, it’s family to me,” said Snair, who was the first woman to join the club in 1988 and became president in 1994-95. .
Allen Kynes was encouraged to join the club in the 1980s so that he could add something significant to the community.
“I went there and soon after they made me the leader of the song,” he said, eliciting laughter from fellow Rotarians in an interview on Dec. 15.
He moved from that responsibility to that of Sergeant-at-Arms and about two years later the club named him president.
Rotary is a wheel, Kynes said, and the wheel means there are a number of spokes.
“But by using all of these talents from the different spokes of the wheel, we can be a really vibrant organization to benefit the community. That’s what we love to do. We love to work together,” he said.
The club, which now has 44 members, has been involved in countless projects since its creation.
These include the planting of 18,000 trees and plants at Honeymoon State Park, the completion of the pavilion at Highland Park, assistance with the subscription to concerts of the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, and support from many organizations, such as the Clearwater Free Clinic.
Manny Koutsourais, a founding member of the club and former mayor of Dunedin, was exposed to the club by a relative who was actively involved in it.
He praised the projects Rotary has supported over the years, such as a polio eradication program, and the speakers the club has each week.
It has been great for me, “he said.” After all these years, I made a lot of friends for one thing… I got a lot out of Rotary. “
Club president John Tornga has been a member of the club for six years, enjoying friendships and giving back to the community like others.
“There are so many creative people here who are going to go out there and do something. It can be a small project. It can cost $ 2,000, $ 3,000. But there is no paperwork. There is no has no ribbons to cut.
“There are no channels through which to go. We’re just going to step in and do it. Someone will take it up and say we have to deal with it,” said Tornga, a city commissioner.
Mary Beth Carroll was club member of the year in 2020-2021.
She joined the 44-member club about eight years ago after moving to Dunedin from Sandusky, Ohio, where she was the second woman to join a Rotary club.
“I think the longevity of this club certainly goes to the sons we have who are both long-standing and welcoming to those of us who have joined this community,” she said.
Sherrie Davis Kinkead, also a former club president, said being a club member is the best way to find out what’s going on in the city.
“It’s very valuable in business, in relationships and friends when you don’t know anyone,” she said.
Among the major projects undertaken by the club was providing bottled water to staff and students at Dunedin Highland Middle School at the start of the 2020 school year, as the water foundations were closed due to COVID .
“We weren’t happy to give just a few hundred,” Kinkead said. “The club decided that every student and staff member needed a bottle of water.”
More than 1,200 bottles distributed by the club have been personalized with the school logo.
Plans are underway for the Heart of Dunedin club, slated for February 6.
A similar program took place two years ago designed to honor and recognize nonprofit organizations in the community.
“It’s such a great time to know that so much is going on by so many people,” Carroll said.
The club, which meets Wednesdays at 7:30 a.m. at Dunedin Golf Club, also rings the Salvation Army bells during the holidays and works to help families struggling with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, Tornga said.
He said the club raised $ 8,500 at a cornhole tournament for the cause.
“We all serve to change lives, and this is one of the beacons for us,” Tornga said.
Allen said one of Rotary’s smartest things to do is allow women to join.
This decision made by Rotary in the 1980s made Rotary stronger. Some organizations that remained reluctant to allow women to join their ranks have fallen apart, he said.
Allen also said the club must continue to “get young people to go through the same process as all of us.” “
Snair recalled that joining the club was “quite a fun experience because a lot of the guys that were in the club were older generation and I went to high school with their kids. They looked at me a bit differently. Not just was. “I was a woman. I was a child,” she said.
When asked if she felt intimidated at being the club’s first female member, Snair, who is active in the Scottish arts and many other community activities, made fellow Rotarians laugh.
“You don’t know me,” she said.
The club – over the years
Based on information provided by the Rotary Club of Dunedin North.
• District Governor Hampton Dunn was challenged in 1971 to form a new Rotary club in the Dunedin area. After three months of provisional meetings, the club was formed on November 21, 1971.
Woodrow “Woody” V. Register was the first president of the new club.
• In the early years, sensing the term “snowbird” somewhat offensive, the club called its many regular winter guesswork “sunrises,” as befitting a 7:30 am reunion. The name later changed to “Red badgers”.
• In 1978, the club’s membership remained around 50 and has consistently been one of the highest clubs in the district for its attendance record.
• In 1986, a pavilion for Highlander Park was suggested as a valid club project.
Over the next year, “Bill Huettig became president and got the ball rolling.
The club contributed $ 10,000 in seed money and an additional $ 20,000 was raised by asking for direct contributions and organizing fish fries. “
Another $ 20,000 was borrowed from a bank.
“A lot of members invest in sweat, like digging trenches and pulling cables, with Bill putting in the longest hours.”
The pavilion was completed on November 6, 1988 and dedicated to Bill Huettig in 2003.
• During the following years, many projects were carried out with a large participation of the members of the parents’ club and other community groups.
These included the Dunedin Causeway Beautification, the Dunedin Recreation Department’s Annual October Festival, the Junior League Art Harvest, the Blue Jays Spring Practice Concessions, the literacy and dyslexia education and Dunedin Good Deeds Day.
• In 2003, Rotary International envisioned its centenary year in 2005 and called on clubs around the world to undertake a major project to celebrate.
The two Rotary clubs of Dunedin have combined their efforts to create a new nature center on Honeymoon Island.
Rotarians and officials met on June 8, 2004 at the new Rotary Centennial Nature Center site for a groundbreaking ceremony.
The clubs raised $ 90.00 for the renovation of the building and enlisted other chapters and supporters to raise money for the exhibits.
The inauguration took place on May 10, 2007.