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The J & K Kissinger Award was established in 1987 by then District 6540 Governor Bill Heinhuis to honor Jack and Kay Kissinger for their many years of dedicated service to Rotary at the local, national, and international levels. Jack was the second Governor of District 6540 and was responsible for establishing a number of Rotary activities in Indiana and at the International level, including:
  • First Paul Harris Fellow in Indiana
  • Supported the founding of several Rotary Clubs in Arizona
  • Founded the Fellowship of Roaming Rotarians at Rotary International
  • Served the International at several R.I. Conventions
  • Visited over 2000 Rotary Clubs throughout the world


Kay was Jack's lifelong partner and companion who participated in all these activities. She devoted time and talent to assure the successful accomplishment of Jack's vision for Rotary and Rotarians.

Governor Heinhuis thought that an award in the Kissinger's name recognizing an outstanding District 6540 Rotarian would be the proper way to remember Jack and Kay's contributions. When founding the award, he decided to bestow it on a different District Rotarian each year based on his or her service to Rotary in three areas:

  • Dedicated service to Rotary at District or International
  • Dedicated civic or community service
  • Dedicated service to his or her Rotary Club


Annually, a deserving Rotarian from District 6540 is selected for the award using the following process, facilitated by the J & K Kissinger Award Committee. 

  • Jan-March: Letters requesting nominations are emailed to all District Presidents. Nomination forms are included with this letter and can also be found at (2022 Nomination Form can be found here)
  • April: (Deadline found on Nomination form) Nomination forms are received by the Elkhart Rotary Club for consideration.
  • April: Nominees submitted to Selection Committee for review and selection. The selection committee shall be comprised of following members: 
    • J & K Kissinger Award Committee Chair
    • Elkhart Rotary Club Board Member
    • A Kissinger Family Member
    • District Governor 
    • District Governor Elect
  • May-June: Award presented at the District Conference by Elkhart Rotary Club President or his Designee