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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 (2024 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
Past Winners include:
  • 1987 Jack & Kay Kissinger, Elkhart
  • 1988 Brazil O'Hagen, South Bend
  • 1989 Ken Ahler, Rensselaer
  • 1990 Bob Flury, Mishawaka
  • 1991 PDG Bill Heinhuis, Elkhart
  • 1992 PDG Phil Magner, Wabash
  • 1993 Bob Garvey, Roseland
  • 1994 John Meier, Columbia City
  • 1995 Robert Raisor, Michigan City
  • 1996 PDG Bill Baldwin, Gary
  • 1997 PDG Dick Kemper, Concord
  • 1998 Richard Conklin, Fort Wayne
  • 1999 Gordon Klockow, Rensselaer
  • 2000 PDG Dale Pense, Columbia City
  • 2001 PDG John Leal, Fort Wayne
  • 2002 PDG Terry McKay, Elkhart
  • 2003 PDG Art Malasto, Valparaiso
  • 2004 Cliff Wiotrowski, Roseland
  • 2005 Al Diefenbach, Fort Wayne
  • 2006 DG Roger Simms, Munster
  • 2007 PDG Peggy Soderberg, South Bend
  • 2008 PDG Fred Bettner, South Gateway
  • 2009 Myrl Nofziger, Elkhart
  • 2010 DGND Dan Ryan, DeMotte Kankakee
  • 2011 PDG Floyd Lancia, Anthony Wayne-Ft Wayne
  • 2012 Tim Gibson, Fort Wayne
  • 2013 Robert Annis, South Bend
  • 2014 Steve Ailes, Warsaw
  • 2015 Jim Brotherson, Elkhart
  • 2016 Doug Risser, Elkhart
  • 2017 PDG Mike Crabill, Elkhart Morning
  • 2018 —Not awarded in 2018—
  • 2019 PDG Ranjan Kini, Schererville
  • 2020 *PDG Roger Simms, Munster
  • 2021 Dr. Jamie Stickel, Goshen
  • 2022 PDG Steven Van Scoik, Concord
  • 2023 Martha Sandoval, Schererville
  • 2024 Terri Rickel, Elkhart 
*Awarded Posthumously