Sunrise Rotary Club Fun Facts:
- Founded Oct. 5th, 1990 as a breakfast club
- 39 current members
- 19 of the original charter members still active
- 7 members are women
- The most sought after club for doing make-ups
- Over 3,500 lbs. of bacon consumed
- Over 7,000 pots of coffee brewed
- Over 42,000 eggs eaten
- Not one heart-attack during a meeting! (knock on wood)
- 2 primary fundraisers per year:
- Oysterfest (started in 1992)
- Make-A-Wish Foundation Wine Auction (started in 2000)
- Over $200,000 given away to various organizations
- Over 3,000 bottles of wine consumed
- Over 6,000 beers consumed
- Over 45,000 oysters eaten!!!
Sunrise Rotary Club Bellingham, Washington
Bellingham Sunrise Rotary Club was chartered October 5, 1990. Sunrise Rotary Club was sponsored by the Bellingham and Bellingham Bay Rotary Clubs and consisted of a splinter group of members from each club. Sunrise Rotary Club was created as a breakfast club; meeting Thursday's at 7:00am.
Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united, worldwide; who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. The founding members believed Rotary could be a fun and exciting way to serve and give back to their community.
The charter members of Sunrise Rotary were as follows:
Ron Browne, Orville W. Cooper, Robert Dale, Curtis Dalrymple, John Doerper, Rick Dutton, John L. Erickson, Dave Franklin, Bonnie Graham McDade, William P. Griggs, Craig Huartson, Paul Janke, Robert Janyk, Barry Lester, John D. Marvin, Lynne Masland, William Mersereau, Ronald Morgan, Frank Muljat, Jr., Charles Nau, Joe Orem, Richard Pedersen, George Pierce, Steve Reynolds, Michael E. Smith, Corky Smith, Jr., James Stevens, Steven Wight. New members included: Jim Hildt, Ed Hook, Tim Lukens and Ray Trzynka. Jim Hildt was out of town for the charter night, but donated wine, thus designated alcohol czar. These dedicated professionals developed Sunrise Rotary Club into one of the most fun Rotary Clubs in Whatcom County.
The first Sunrise Rotary Club President was Curt Dalrymple serving the 1990 — 1991 term. During Curt's reign it was established that all events include great food, great beverages and great fellowship! Sunrise Rotary Club's charter night was no exception — serving over 150 guests a gourmet meal at the Best Western Lakeway Inn. During Curt's term the first social was held on the lake at Joe & Margie Orem's house, followed by a Christmas party at Joe & Margie's Bell-ringing for the Salvation Army was established which raised quite a lot of money! In addition, the tradition was set for the club president and president-elect to visit the parched bell-ringers with something warm to keep them going throughout the day. The club's Changing of the Guard Dinner was established to celebrate the transition from one president to the next. This Dinner raised money to support the Rotary International Foundation with each member donating at least $100. This tradition has continued throughout the years.
Joe Orem served as the 2nd Club President during the 1991 — 1992 term. During Joe's reign the club took its first boat cruise. Furthermore, the infamous Oysterfest (first known as Oyster/Beer Feast) was created to raise money for various organizations. Actually, it was created as another excuse to get together in fellowship, raise money, drink beer and have an all-around good time in the name of Rotary. The club continues this tradition having just held the 14th Annual Oysterfest! The Sunrise Rotary Club Foundation was established to create a self-sustaining fundraiser for the club. Lynne Masland created the Eye Opener Newsletter at this time. The Changing of the Guard Dinner brought in the reign of John Erickson.
John Erickson served as the 3rd Club President during the 1992 — 1993 term. Along with the 2nd Annual Oysterfest, a new fundraiser was developed to benefit the Bellingham Festival of Music at the Lairmont Manor called "Une Soiree Musicale". Sunrise Rotary Club was instrumental (no pun intended) in supporting the Bellingham Festival of Music during its infancy. The Changing of the Guard Dinner brought in the reign of John Marvin.
John Marvin served as the 4th Club President during the 1993 — 1994 term. The club raised funds to put in a natural gas line into Lydia Place, hosted a Rotary Group Study Exchange Team from Brazil and sponsored a Rotary International Exchange Student, Claudina Pinto, from Brazil. The club continued its tradition of fun & fellowship with two boat trips. Bell ringing continued to be a success and the 2nd "Une Soiree Musical" was held at the Lairmont Manor to benefit the Bellingham Festival of Music along with the 3rd Annual Oysterfest. The Changing of the Guard Dinner brought in the reign of Steve Reynolds.
Steve Reynolds served as the 5th Club President during the 1994 — 1995 term. Steve's platform, as the illustrious 5th President of Sunrise Rotary Club, was "It's time to get off the John". The 4th Annual Oysterfest was held with monies supporting various children's programs throughout the county. The inaugural trip to Tijuana, Mexico was made by the club to set up a partnership with the Tijuana Rotary Club to raise funds for schools in Tijuana. Steve developed the term S.R.S. (Serious Rotary S—t) during his reign reminding us not to take life too serious. The Changing of the Guard Dinner brought in the reign of Rick Dutton.
Rick Dutton served as the 6th Club President during the 1995 — 1996 term. The Tijuana Rotary Club visited the club this year bringing "mas tequila" — as always fun was had by all. The 5th Annual Oysterfest was very successful raising money to support Hospice, Bellingham Mavericks Basketball Team, Tijuana Project and RYLA. The club started hosting its first annual golf tournament held before the Changing of the Guard Dinner. This event brought in the reign of Dick Pedersen.
Dick Pedersen served as the 7th Club President during the 1996 — 1997 term. The club held its 6th Annual Oysterfest, setting a record in raising funds for the club. The club continued its support of the Tijuana Rotary Club and also supported Visiting Nurse, Campfire Girls, Arthritis Foundation, Whatcom Crisis Center, Homeport Learning Center and the Boy Scouts. In addition, club gave scholarships to Bellingham Technical College, Prudential Youth Leadership, Western Foundation and RYLA. Overall the club gave out over $31,000 during Dick's term. The club also funded $8,000 into the Sunrise Rotary Club Foundation. All of this was done by the incredible membership that makes up Sunrise Rotary Club. The Changing of the Guard Golf Tournament and Dinner brought in the reign of Harold Scott.
Harold Scott served as the 8th Club President during the 1997 — 1998 term. The club held its 7th Annual Oysterfest continuing its fundraising efforts to support youth in our community. The funds raised went to the R.V. Snow Goose — a marine biology, educational, floating classroom serving school-aged youth in Whatcom County as well as Tijuana Schools Project supplying reading books, encyclopedias, dictionaries, maps, educational videos and teaching aids to over eight elementary school libraries. The Changing of the Guard Golf Tournament and Dinner brought in the reign of Steve Wight.
Steve Wight served as the 9th Club President during the 1998 — 1999 term. Steve continued the tradition of fellowship, fun, food and drink at all of the fundraising events during his term. The 8th Annual Oysterfest was a success benefiting Brigid Collins House and Tijuana Schools Project. The Changing of the Guard Golf Tournament and Dinner brought two firsts to Sunrise Rotary. First, Sunrise Rotary Club's first woman president, the reign of Kay Rich and second, Sunrise Rotary's first Rotary underwear model! Go ahead — let your mind wander.
Kay Rich served as the 10th Club President during the 1999 — 2000 term. Many accomplishments were made during Kay's reign. Continued international support was shown through the Tijuana Literacy Program along with the Guatemalan Highlands Water Project. The 9th Annual Oysterfest benefited the R.V. Snow Goose — a marine biology, educational, floating classroom serving school-aged youth in Whatcom County, Home Port Learning Center — a private non-profit alternative school serving court-involved youth in Whatcom County, Rotary International's Polio Plus Project, as well as the Tijuana Schools Project. The club continued its fellowship tradition hosting the Tijuana Rotarians, and partying at the Orem's and the Pedersen's. The Changing of the Guard Dinner brought in the reign of Ron Browne.
Ron Browne served as the 11th Club President during the 2000 — 2001 term. Ron continued the success of Sunrise Rotary's support of the community through fellowship, fun, food and drink! Sunrise Rotary Club celebrated its 10th Anniversary. Ron hosted a presidential party at his house, with many members attending by boat, and the guests were treated to a fabulous crab feast! The 10th Annual Oysterfest was held and record fundraising supported the Bellingham Mavericks — a Whatcom County high school aged basketball team for students who are unable to play for their high school teams, Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County — New Roosevelt Club, The Pacific Northwest Jazz Alliance and continuing support for the Tijuana Schools Project. The club also held its first annual Wine Auction to support Make-A-Wish Foundation continuing the idea that fellowship, fun, food and drink can accompany all fundraising efforts! The Changing of the Guard Golf Tournament and Dinner brought in the reign of Randy Carroll.
Randy Carroll served as the 12th Club President during the 2001 — 2002 term. Randy became our first vacant president. The club always had past presidents willing and ready to fill in when Randy's work called him out of town. Nonetheless, it was a very successful year continuing in Sunrise Rotary fashion. The club hosted its 2nd Annual Make-A-Wish Foundation Wine Auction and its 11th Annual Oysterfest benefiting the Whatcom County Commission Against Domestic Violence, Whatcom County Girl Scouts, Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center, and The Pacific Northwest Jazz Alliance. Both events were a huge success! The Changing of the Guard Golf Tournament and Dinner brought in the reign of Frank Muljat.
Frank Muljat served as the 13th Club President during the 2002 — 2003 term. The club hosted its 3rd Annual Make-A-Wish Foundation Wine Auction and hosted the 12th Annual Oysterfest benefiting the Whatcom County Commission Against Domestic Violence, Sean Humphrey House, and the Rotary Polio Eradication Project. Frank has the honor as the first club president to miss his own Changing of the Guard Golf Tournament and Dinner (but wait — maybe that was Randy). The Changing of the Guard Golf Tournament and Dinner brought in the reign of Jim Hildt.
Jim Hildt served as the 14th Club President during the 2003 — 2004 term. Needless to say, everyone was a little apprehensive at the start of Jim's reign. But it turned out to be a successful year for Sunrise Rotary. The club held the 4th Annual Make-A-Wish Foundation Wine Auction, and the 13th Annual Oysterfest. The Oysterfest benefited the Josh Vanderyacht Park — Water System, Power of Hope — Teen Leadership Scholarships, RYLA, Bellingham Vocational Technical Institute — Scholarships, NSEA (Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Assoc.) — Students for Salmon, the Bellingham Mavericks, and the Tijuana, Mexico Public Hospital — Neonatal Equipment. The club hosted the Tijuana Rotary Club to sights around the county and a party at Frank Muljat's house on the lake. Once again, Sunrise Rotary upheld its tradition of fellowship, fun, food and drink all in the name of Rotary. The Changing of the Guard Golf Tournament and Dinner brought in the reign of Jeff Fairchild.
Jeff Fairchild as the 15th Club President during the 2004 — 2005 term. The club has sponsored and hosted a foreign exchange student from Russia, continued the tradition of Bell Ringing for the Salvation Army (minus the round-one visitation to the parched bell ringers), hosted the 5th Annual Make-A-Wish Foundation Wine Auction, and the 14th Annual Oysterfest to much success! Jeff is continuing Sunrise Rotary's motto of fellowship, fun, food and drink in all things Rotary!
Barry Lester as the 16th Club President during the 2005 — 2006 term.
Lydia Bennett as the 17th Club President during the 2006 — 2007 term.
Michael Smith as the 18th Club President during the 2008 — 2009 term.
Scott Mihelich is currently serving as the 19th Club President during the 2009 — 2010 term.
Clyde Ford, Resident Author