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The Rotary Club of Kona was chartered as West Hawaii's first Rotary Club on February 7, 1948, through the sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Hilo. The Rotary Club of Kona was the eighth club to be formed within District 5000 (then District 500) in the State of Hawaii.

When first chartered, the Club's territorial boundaries extended 50 miles in three directions from Kailua-Kona, and bordered the Pacific Ocean on its West side. Subsequently, with the addition of two more Rotary clubs in West Hawaii, the Kona Club's area now is limited to North Kona and the northern part of South Kona.

In the Kona Club's early days its 30-35 members were largely ranchers and agri-­businessmen, reflecting the predominately agricultural/ranching economy of West Hawaiiat that time. Meetings were on Thursday evenings. As the membership prospered and became more diversified the weekly Club meetings were moved to a luncheon format and we have grown to 50+ members. We presently meet at the King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel.

CLUB PROJECTS                                      

Throughout its 54-year history, the Rotary Club ofKona has been active in community, international and youth activities. Here is a brief historical list of the many programs the Club has sponsored or is currently sponsoring: An Explorer Scout Post in Holualoa for over 20 years (during which it produced 24 Eagle Scouts, including U.S. Astronaut Ellison Onizuka). The Kai Opua Canoe Club with over 200 youth and adult paddlers in the '70's and '80s. The KonawaenaSea Cadet Program in the '80s. A community-wide campaign to fund equipment for KonaHospital's new Chemotherapy Room in 1987. Numerous student scholarships. A Small Fry Fishing Derby. The combined Rotary Club of Mauka Kona and Kona Konawaena High School Interact Club (twice named the State's Interact Club of. the Year). An original "Career Net" student service. An annual Christmas Party for needy youngsters of our community. Adopting GingongCity elementary school in the Philippines (including funding for an electric sewing. machine and PA system, which led to electrifying the remote 10,000 person village. Establishing several "sister" Rotary Clubs. Our Club also co-sponsors Kona's Annual Independence Day Parade and Community Christmas Parade.

The Club regularly assists with such annual activities as: The International Billfish Tournament, the Ironman Triathlon, Keauhou-Kona Marathon, SuperKids Tournament, Kona Family Day, Community A-Fair, Meet 'N Eat Feeding Program, Konawaena Career Day, Community clean-up days, The Salvation Army's Christmas Bell-Ringing, Rotary District Youth Conferences/Seminars, and Rotary Group Study Exchange programs; and is the lead volunteer group for Kona's Annual MasterCard Championship Golf Tournament. Further , it has provided financial assistance to such local organizations as Boy Scouts, Big Brothers/Sisters, Girl Scouts, Hospice of Kona, Kona Adult Day Care Center, Kona Family YMCA, Kona Library, Kona Literacy Council, Kona Outdoor Circle, Sea Scouts, Little League, public schools, The Salvation Army's Kona Corps, University of the Nations, West Hawaii Crime Stoppers, West Hawaii Youth Soccer, and other local, State and international human service groups.  Since 2009, the Kona Rotary Club has sponsored and organized, in cooperation with Denny's Restaurant, Project Compassion, which provides a much appreciated fundraising opportunity to community non-profit organizations.


1982: Received District's Vocational Service Award

1983: Received District's Chu Baldwin Award

1984: Initiated Youth Exchange Program with Japan District 275

1987: Named Rotary Club with Best Bulletin in neighbor islands 

1988: Initiated a "Career Net" intermediate-high school student orientation in career opportunities/requirements

1989: Established club's own Foundation for student financial assistance and other local services

1991: Received District's awards for best Duplicated Bulletin and for Highest percent increase in Membership; Club's Phil Bickel became District 5000 Governor for1991-2

1992: Initiated a unique Annual Exemplary Service Award for non-Rotarian-related local businesses/professional offices best demonstrating Rotary's 4-Way test

1993-4: Selected State's Best Rotary Club. in its size category; Received District's Award for Best Attendance Improvement

1996-97: Named Lead volunteer group for annual Master Card Championship Golf Tournament at Hualalalai Golf Course in Kona; this effort continues today.

1997-98: InstaIled Club's first female President; began sponsorship of a second Interact Club at new KeaIakehe H.S.. Reinstated the Rotary Student Exchange Program. Funded Kona's first Police Bicycle Safety Program. Celebrated the club's 50th Anniversary. 

1998-99: Named District 5000 Club of the Year for International Service. 

2001-2:  Largest net membership gain in D5000, Best Community Service in D5000, Became 100% Paul Harris Club, Kealakehe Interact named best in State, International Service projects:  completed water wells in Bangladesh & began assistance to a Nursing School in India.

2002-3: Initiated Makaeo Wallking/Jogging Path renovation as Rotary Centennial three-year Project.  First time sponsorship of two International Exchange students for school year.  Completed international water well projects. Kealakehe Interact Club named best in the State, again. 

2007  From D5000  won best membership program, and best new generations.  We were runner up in D5000 membership increase and finalist for International Services.   The interact club was best in D5000 again. 

2008  Kealakehe interact club was best in D5000 for 7th consecutive year. 


Dick Fraser        1948-49*
GarnettWatson          1949-50*
Robert:Greenwell      1950-51*
Homer-Hayes        1951-52
Linzy Child         1952-53*
Sherwood Greenwell     1953-54*
Anthony Cambra        1954-55
Charlie Machado        1955-56*
Henry Greenwell        1956-57*
Bill Buttles        1957-58*
Chistato Hayashi    1958-59*  
Jock Ackerman         1959-60*
Henry Chee        1960-61*
Roy Wall        1961-62*
Harold Red Hunt        1962-63*
Les Yamanaka        1963-64
Max Cory        1964-65
Walter Perreira        1965-66*
Dick Denison        1966-67
Phil Brink        1967-68
Jon Lounsbury        1969-70
Jaek Harlan        1970-71
Ned Carmichael        1971-72
John DeGuair        1972-73*
Eugene Red Craig    1973-74
Wally Ichishita     1974-75
Steve Metzner        1975-76
Dick Taba        1976-77
Jack Fischer        1978-79*
George Glenn        1978-79*
Gordon Carkhuff     1979-80
Dick Hancock        1980-81
Ralph Rehberg         1981-82*
David Rees-Thomas    1982-83
Paul Johnston        1983-84
Mark Rife        1984-85*
Chuck Gibb        1985-86
Bill Brye        1986-87
Greg Ogin        1987-88
Rick Merschdorf        1988-89
Rick Asbach        1989-90
Ron Luizzi        1990-91
Terry Johnson        1991-92
Rad Welles        1992-93
Ken Clewett        1993-94*
Bruce Petrovic        1994-95
Dennis Krueger        1995-96
Jim Lightner        1996-97
Tina Clothier        1997-98
Mike Zola        1998-99
Gerry Brewster        1999-00
Ken Kjer         2000-01
Tom Daniel        2001-02
Barbara Bush        2002-03
Bev Frazer        2003-04
Alan Clark         2004-05
Dick Hershberger    2005-06
Bill Cliff        2006-07
Diane Ilstrup        2007-08
Dave Buehler        2008-09
Dave DeYoung        2009-10
Cheryl Holdcroft        2010-11