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Duck Race Money At Work
by M.C. Kauffman


March 29, 2004

Ketchikan, Alaska - Have you ever wondered how the money raised by First City Rotary's annual Fourth of July Duck Race benefits the community? Susan Bethel, President of the First City Rotary, said this past year their organization selected three projects in the community to complete using money raised from the annual duck race.

First City Rotary's public picnic shelter project at Totem Bight...
photo by Dick Kauffman

Currently, First City Rotary is working on a public picnic shelter at Totem Bight. Bethel said, "We have had a lot of help with the project. Delmar, Dave and Rusty Shull donated the rockwork and backhoe." She said the Welding and Construction class from the University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan Campus and public works from the US Coast Guard Base have also been involved in the project. Alaska Marine Lines donated the freight and Rotary 2000 donated two handicap accessible picnic tables for the project. Bethel said, "The brackets for the structure were constructed by the welding class and then sent to Seattle to be galvanized. The Construction Class at the UAS provided their expertise and labor helping to get the structure built. Of course, we have had Rotarians on the site working each weekend."

The First City Rotary's project at Totem Bight isn't yet completed and work will continue on the project week after next. The organization has been working on the Totem Bight project for several weekends. Working on the project Saturday were Bruce King the head foreman on the project, Bob St. Clair, Glen Thompson, David Owings, Jim Schumaker, Jack Shay, Susan Bethel, Scott Brandt-Erichsen, Billiye Sewell, Reggie Reinhardt, Mary Kowalczyk and Scott Westerlund.

The picnic shelter is not located in the Park, but outside the park near a parking area. Totem Bight is located eight miles north of the Alaska Ferry Terminal and displays fifteen Haida and Tlingit Totem Poles, plus a replica of a clan house. The totems in the park, carved from 1938 to 1941, are replicas of original totems. The park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Bethel said the project is the First City Rotary's Centennial Project and "we hope to have it completed before the summer."

Two projects have already been completed by the First City Rotary. One is a handicap accessible trail at Settlers Cove. Bethel said, "There was a set of stairs available to the beach but there was no access for someone using a wheelchair and it was a challenge for someone that had trouble using stairs." Ketchikan's Settlers Cove campground is located eighteen miles north of town at the end of the road. Wildlife can be viewed throughout the park and salmon leap out of the water, just out of arms reach, as they make their migration up the rocky confluence of Lunch Creek.

In describing the second project already completed Bethel said, "First City Rotary was instrumental in providing funding and one of our members provided labor to purchase and install a handicap accessible 'button' for Community Connections." She said this group recently moved into a new building that did not have the handicap door mechanism. Community Connections is a private, nonprofit organization that provides support to over 200 individuals in Ketchikan, Petersburg, Metlakatla and Prince of Wales Island. The populations served by the agency include children and adults with developmental disabilities, children with emotional disabilities, older Alaskans with Alzheimers and related disorders and adults with physical disabilities.


Photo Gallery - Totem Bight Project
photos by Dick Kauffman


Rotarians Scott Westerlund and Susan Bethel


Rotarian Billiye Sewell, with the United States Coast Guard,
hard at work on the picnic shelter Saturday...


Rotarian Bruce King has everything under control...


Tool Time Man & Rotarian Bob St. Clair does his part...


Ketchikan Park Ranger and Rotarian Mary Kowalczyk...



Rotary 2000 donated two handicap accessible picnic tables...



Picnic shelter project...


Rotarians At Work...


Rotarians At Work...


Careful with those drills fellows!


Last but not least, Sadie - the Mascot - of the Westerlund family...




Rotary International was formed by Paul Harris in Chicago in 1905.


photos by Dick Kauffman ©2004

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