Avalon Rotary names Dan Huncke Citizen of the Year

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Avalon Community Services Director Dan Huncke (on the left) being praised by David Hart (right), Avalon’s Recreation director, who recounts how Huncke “changed his life.” Courtesy photo

Only two years after moving to Catalina Island from the city of Calabasas, Community Services Director Dan Huncke has been named Catalina’s Citizen of the Year by the Avalon Rotary Club.

“It was a complete surprise,” said Huncke, who was lured to the meeting by his wife Kevan, “who told me the Rotary club was trying to get her to become a member.”

“I truly enjoy serving this community the best I can, and it is an honor to be recognized for it,” said Huncke. “I was totally not expecting it.”

The Rotary Club of Avalon in recently held its annual transition dinner to bring in new President Connie Stewart.

Every year the club votes on a “Citizen of the Year,” a non-Rotarian community member that has gone above and beyond in community service, who is nominated and voted on by the entire club, and this year’s unanimous vote was for the city of Avalon’s Community Services Director Dan Huncke.

Dan was accompanied by niece Kara, as well as Recreation Coordinator Dave Hart and his new bride Devin. After the presentation of his award Dave gave a moving speech on how much Dan changed his life and the lives of everyone in Avalon.

Dan has only been a resident for a few years but has completely transformed the department and made a significant impact in positively influencing Avalon. From children’s activities to senior physical fitness Dan has been present and active in every facet of Avalon life. In his short tenure the department has doubled in size and accomplished feats that are monumental in Avalon: Three major park renovations, a giant floating park on South Beach, numerous community programs on top of a balanced budget and a motivated, efficient staff. He was instrumental in the Avalon Outrigger Canoe Club which is now almost 40 members strong and will compete in Hawaii during Labor Day Weekend. In addition to this myriad of public service he is also a devoted family man.

Over the past two years, with the financial assistance of Southern California Edison, Avalon Rotary has replanted nearly all the downtown planters, focusing on traits necessary to the island, such as drought tolerance and beauty. Dan was essential to the operation, coordinating and supporting throughout. When he was not busy strategizing he got his hands dirty and joined the volunteers to dig and plant.

Dan is a rare talent to come to our small island. He thinks in action and the word no is not in his vocabulary. He dedicates much of his life to improving the health and happiness of our community. Next time you see him, thank him for his service. More likely than not something he did improved the quality of your life. For a final time on behalf of the Rotary Club of Avalon we are indebted to his kindness.

Bryce Noll is immediate past president of Avalon Rotary.

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