John Ryan is named Kent Rotarian of the Year

By David E. Dix | Publisher Published:

John Ryan, community president for Huntington Bank, is "Kent Rotarian of the Year."

Ryan, a member of the Kent Rotary Club since 1990, was given the honor at Kent Rotary's annual Christmas party at the Rusty Nail Banquet Hall in Twin Lakes.

He has served on the Kent Rotary Foundation Board for many years, including the position of president, overseeing Foundation investments and helping evaluate donation requests from area organizations and causes.

He has also been a regular in club efforts to maintain the downtown gazebo, a gift from the club to the city of Kent. The gazebo sits just north of the Pufferbelly Restaurant and serves as a focal point for the historic downtown.

Kent Rotary President Dan Smith made the announcement, calling Ryan "an avid and tireless volunteer" for efforts that benefit the community.

Besides Rotary, Ryan has been a longtime member of the Kent Free Library Board of Trustees.

He has served as president and campaign chair of the Portage County United Way and serves on the Portage County Development Board. He is also a member of the Kent State University Foundation Board and has been active in the Great Trails Council of Boy Scouts of America.

In addition to honoring Ryan, club members also honored Thomas Hatch, last year's club president, a Paul Harris Fellow. Hatch served as president during the 2011-12 calendar year.

Recognizing outgoing Kent Rotary presidents this way has become a tradition. It entails having the club donate $1,000 to the Rotary International Foundation, which each year sponsors international study, here and abroad, with scholarships that are some of the most coveted throughout the world.

Chaired by Rebekah Wright Kulis, the annual Christmas banquet is a longtime club tradition, and it usually features musical entertainment. About 115 Rotarians and guests were serenaded with Christmas carols and songs that were performed by vocalist Melody Smith and guitarist Paul Olson, both Field High School seniors.

Rotarians dined on grilled salmon and pork tenderloin dinners at tables with centerpieces of hurricane glass globes surrounded by red poinsettias, created by Kulis and her, mother, Mary Wright. The plants served as favors for the guests.

In addition, luminaries were placed outside to greet Rotarians and guests and guide them to the banquet room.

Rotarian Wendy Fiebig, owner of the Rusty Nail, decorated the outside of the banquet hall with seasonal icicle lighting and provided special touches to enhance the holiday atmosphere.

More information about Kent Rotary is available on Facebook and the club's website, www.kent rotary.org.

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