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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Thank you Ketchikan

By Michelle O’Brien


April 26, 2023

Letter to the Editor:

On behalf of First City Rotary, I would like to humbly thank our community for your overwhelming welcome of First City Rotary’s Polish Open World Delegation. This is the second time that Ketchikan was tapped as an Open World Program location, with a group of Russians visiting Ketchikan approximately seven years ago. From what I understand, it’s somewhat rare to be selected twice as a host community. Our Russian group had an environmental focus, and this year’s Polish group concentration was Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

For background, here’s a bit of history about the Open World Program:

Having begun as a pilot program in 1999 and established as a permanent agency in late 2000, Open World conducts the first and only international exchange agency in the U.S. Legislative Branch. Since its 1999 inception, Open World has awarded grants to 61 organizations headquartered in 25 different states and the District of Columbia.

For every participant, except the team lead and translator, this was their first ever visit to the United States!

First City Rotary would like to thank our community and the many organizations that so graciously rolled out the red carpet for our Polish guests. While their focus was on Domestic Violence, our group was treated to an amazing array of food, cultural experiences, and, of course, rain. But the rain did not damper the spirits of this group, and they have said they had an extraordinary experience in Ketchikan. Our new Polish friends specifically noted the friendliness of our town, and how so many people went out of their way to make their group feel welcome.

First City Rotary would like to thank the following groups and individuals for hosting our guests: Christa Bruce, Mary Beth and Jerry Patterson, Gillian Moon, Susan Doherty, Diane Gubatayao, The Inn at Creek Street, and The Cape Fox Lodge.

We would also like to thank our community members who provided their time; Ketchikan Museums, Ray Troll, Kasia Polanska, Alaska Fish House, SSRAA, First City Homeless Services, PATH, The Ketchikan Radio Center, Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council, The Division of Juvenile Justice, The Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District, Just Dandy Apothecary, The City of Ketchikan and Mayor Dave Kiffer, The Ketchikan Police Department, Ketchikan Youth Court, Ketchikan Wellness Coalition, Fat Stans, First City Players/Creek Street Cabaret, Mayor Rodney Dial and the Ketchikan Gateway Borough, Regional Youth Care, Pilot House Coffee, Alaskan and Proud, Women in Safe Homes, The Asylum, Meng and Gings, Paul Robbins from the

US Forest Service, The Ketchikan Fire Department, Pioneer Cafe, 55 North Coffee, 108 Tap House, the Ketchikan Correctional Facility, Ketchikan Public Library, Yellow Cab, The Ketchikan Indian Community, The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, Bawden Street Brewing, The Distillery, and Jim Kristovich.

As you can see, so many were involved in making this an extraordinary experience. First City Rotary thanks our community for making this visit a huge success. Sincerely,

Michelle O’Brien
Past President, First City Rotary
Past District Governor, Rotary Alaska & Yukon Territory
Ketchikan, Alaska




Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.

Opinions expressed are solely those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Sitnews.

Received April 17, 2023- Published April 26, 2023

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