Rochester-Sunrisers
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Our History

The Rochester Sunrisers Kiwanis Club was chartered on December 3, 1970 with 30 members.

Charter Night. Our charter night banquet was held on January 21, 1971 and was held at the Sheraton Hotel which is now the Rochester Holiday Inn Downtown Hotel with 72 people in attendance.

We selected January 21 as the day for receiving our Kiwanis International Charter because January 21, 1915 was the date that the first Kiwanis Club, Detroit #1 Michigan, received their Charter.

The officers and board were installed by Lieutenant Governor Norman Holst from Lake City, MN. David W. Davis President, IBM Engineer; Lyle Solem 1st Vice President, IBM Engineer; Robert Funk 2nd Vice President, Principle Rochester Public School; Daryl Nolte Secretary, Education Specialist Rochester Public Schools and Jon Adams Treasurer, Marquette Bank. The board of directors were Donald Dolden, Pharmacist Weber and Judd; William Eaton, Manager Northwestern Bell; John Hoisington, Independent Business man; Duane Madson, Standard Oil Station Owner; Edward Moline, City Finance Director; Dennis Safe, Insurance and Larry Tarnow, IBM Engineer.

Our sponsoring club was the Rochester West Kiwanis Club and their President Dick Christiansen presented the Sunrisers Kiwanis Club with our first banner, bell and gong.

The entertainment for the evening was provided by the Rochester Lourdes High School singing group "Hi-Lighters Directed by Gene Eiden."

Fund Raising. Our first community fund raising project was selling roses by the dozen. We did this project in conjunction with our sponsoring club, Rochester West Kiwanis. This was their major fund raising project. For two years we sold Roses until we started to cut into their proceeds and at this time they recommended that we take on a program/project of our own.

Down through the years our fund raising projects have consisted of selling Popcorn, holding Garage Sales, Pancake Breakfasts, Sponsored a Circus, standing on the corner selling Peanuts, Served food and pop at the Rochester Balloon Races, Wish-N-Spin, Ice Cream cones at the Olmsted County Fair, Hockey Festival proceeds, Candle sales and our major fundraising project for over 20 years has been selling a De- Icer compound for removing ice during the winter time. The proceeds from this project have ranged from $3,000 to $5,000 per year.

Meeting Location. Weekly breakfast meetings have been held at 7:00 A.M. every Thursday since we have been organized. Our first meeting location was in the lower level of Wade's Broiler. Wade's Broiler is no longer in business and was located on 2nd street SW just west of Highway 52. Wade's Broiler has now been replaced by the new road.

Our second meeting location was Embers which was on the East side of Highway 52 and that has also been removed because of the new road construction.

Our third meeting location was the Hoffman House Restaurant which is now the Wildwoods Sports Bar located in the Best Western Apache.

For many years following the Hoffman House we met at the Clarion Inn on South Broadway (originally named the Holiday Inn South). 

At the end of April 2016 the Clarion Hotel closed and the location was sold to developer so we were forced to move again.  After a temporary period at Madonna Towers we have now settled at the Centerstone Plaza Hotel on 6th Street SW.

Community Service Projects. We are proud of what we have been able to do for our community. Some of our projects have been Boy Scout Troop 127 for handicap youth at the former Rochester State Hospital, Maple Manor visits, Bell Ringing for the Salvation Army, Girl Scout Camp Edith Mayo yearly clean up project, Walk America March of Dimes, Battered Women's Home work projects and Christmas Gifts to the residents, Northland Home Landscaping Project, Tree planting project at Good Samaritan Nursing Home, replaced the roof and painted a house and garage for an elderly gentleman, helped staff special Olympics track meet, Book donation of over $15,000 worth of books to local non-profits, Highway and City Park Clean up projects, Terrific Kids projects at Jefferson and Churchill Elementary School's, Good Friday Nursing Home visits, Vocational Student of the Month award, Century High School Student of the Month award, Scholarship for a student at Century High School, Child Care and Resource Referral and many more projects. Financially we have given over $40,000 to the Kiwanis International Project IDD, each year we also donate back to our community over three to four thousand dollars to various projects. The Sunrisers members have taken a very active role in the Rochester Kiwanis/Wells Fargo Hockey Festival that is supported by all Kiwanis Clubs in Rochester. This Festival has returned to our community over $650,000 in the nineteen years the festival has existed.

Sponsorship. Over the past years we have been real active in sponsoring Kiwanis family organizations. In the early 1970's we sponsored a Circle K Club at the Rochester Bible College, this club is no longer in existence. In 1983 we sponsored the Rochester Golden K Kiwanis Club, In 1994 we co-sponsored the Rochester Day Makers Kiwanis Club we then co-sponsored the Key Club at Rochester Century High School with the Day Makers. In 2004 we sponsored an Aktion Club at the Rochester Ability Building Center. In 2012 we began sponsoring a Builder's Club at Golden Hill/Alternative Learning Center and a Terrific Kids awards program at the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester.  In 2013 we took over sponsorship of the John Marshall High School Key Club.

District and International Officers. The Rochester Sunrisers Kiwanis Club has had four members serve as Lieutenant Governors and one Governor of our Minnesota/Dakotas District.

  • 1986-1987 Dave Davis      Division 1 Lieutenant Governor
  • 1993-1994 Lyle Solem       Division 1 Lieutenant Governor
  • 1996-1997 Lyle Solem       Governor of the Minnesota/Dakotas District
  • 2007-2008 Paul Michels      Region 7 Lieutenant Governor
  • 2016-2017 Randy Schmidt Region 7 Lieutenant Governor