The Eau Gallie Rotary Club is a club rich in history. During the early ’60s, the City of Melbourne had the only Rotary club in South Brevard. The Melbourne Club accomplished much during the mid-’60s. Their most notable accomplishment was the introduction of high school students to Rotary through a locally organized effort of leadership and service that resulted in the birth of Interact. Interact has grown internationally to over 200,000 high school students throughout the world.


Another significant accomplishment of the Melbourne Rotary Club came through the challenge of Fred DeHorn, then District Governor of District 699 (1964-1965), which resulted in its first offspring, the Eau Gallie Rotary Club. This monumental milestone was accomplished by a dedicated club, a district governor with foresight, and a young, energetic Melbourne Rotarian, George Alto, who was elected to investigate the possibility of an Eau Gallie Club. George worked diligently during 1964, talking Rotary and interviewing individuals he felt worthy of the task. With great fortune, George came upon two gracious gentlemen, one named Bill Altman, who served and moved on, and the other, Bill Langsworth, who lived and breathed Eau Gallie Rotary until his death an Eau Gallie Rotarian.

During 1964-1965, George, Bill & Bill laid the groundwork for forming the new club. These men, working together with the incoming District Governor Natie Taylor (1965-1966) and with the dynamic leadership of his group representative Woody Bowden, assembled 28 prospective members. Finally, in November 1965, an application was submitted to Rotary International as a formal request for a charter.

We began as a provisional club the first week of 1966 and received our charter in March that same year. Since then, we’ve grown in size, fundraising, and outreach. Please travel through the past decades with us to relive some of our memories. Each section below can be expanded.


In the early years, fundraising was a real challenge to meet our growing budget of commitments to the many community affairs in which we were involved. Thus, the famous Eau Gallie Rotary Fish Fry was born, which netted us a whopping $280. During this era, our Club embarked on the following projects to help meet the needs of our community: Beautification of the Causeway; help for the newly organized volunteer ambulance service; commencement of our annual Salvation Army Christmas bell ringing; and organization of our first Interact Club at Eau Gallie High School.

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This period have we also started the “musical chair” saga of where is the meeting place this week? We changed our meeting place four times. We started at The Pines in January, then moved to the Red Rooster, which closed three months later. We then moved to the Host of America until November, after which we moved back to the Pines; yes, all in one year!


In the 1970s, our Club grew in both size and stature. Then, in 1978-1979, our very own Jack Burklew was elected District Governor of District 699.

 It was during this period that a new and inspiring fundraiser called “Octoberfest” was created by our Club. It started as a simple beer concession on the grounds that F.I.T. Octoberfest became our primary source of revenue. It was so successful that we exited the fish, flea, and junk business. The increased receipts from our new, successful fundraiser enabled the Club to emphasize Rotary service and principles further. As Octoberfest generated increasing profits, we became a significant financial contributor to many civic projects.


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We experienced considerable growth in the ’80s. Our peak membership of 73 was reached in 1984. In addition, we sponsored two new Rotary Clubs, one in Palm Bay and the other in Suntree. Our budget in the 1980s averaged $18,000 per year. This represented a significant increase from our annual average budget of $1,500 in the ’60s.


We became a significant contributor to the Rotary Foundation in these years. We actively supported Foundation Student awards, Group Study Exchange, and the Homestay Program became very significant to our Club. In addition, the club pledged $9,000 toward the Foundation’s new initiative, Polio Plus.


A significant milestone during this time was the first female member accepted into the Eau Gallie Rotary Club. Kate Maxner officially became a member of our club in May 1989. It must be said that Kate proved to be a great Rotarian.


In the early 90s, the Club continued to display confidence in its ability to commit support and funds to worthy causes throughout the community. The most notable is a three-year commitment to the Space Coast Early Intervention Center for $12,000. The Club also showed considerable interest in the Space Coast Marine Institute (now known as AMI Kids Space Coast), both as a Club and as members individually. As a result, many members donate time and money to these causes.


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 Our affiliation with Habitat for Humanity blossomed as we became the top monetary contributor and participant in constructing a house in conjunction with other Rotary clubs.


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The mid-90s included a younger group of Rotarians, club presidents, and other vital roles. Ken Schaeffer served as District 6930’s Governor in 1993-1994. Scooter Webster’s Presidential term (1996-1997) marked the first Eau Gallie Rotarian’s son to become President 28 years after his father Oscar served as our third President after Charter. These young Presidents brought about new ideas. We sold Octoberfest, picked up new fundraisers like onion, art auctions, and fruit tree sales, and rejuvenated the flea market.


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During these years, the Club embarked on some exciting international projects. Five kidney dialysis machines were donated to a hospital in India. The Haiti Water Project was also born.

THE 2000S

The new millennium saw the need to establish a new signature fundraiser. So the Club established the Space Coast LightFest at Wickham Park, a 40-night holiday light display. LightFest was an instant success. It served our club well in many aspects. LightFest was a family-friendly event the community could enjoy, and the money raised helped fund our charitable giving.


 After a few years, we again added the LightFest 5K run, an instant success. As a result, the club’s annual giving budget reached all-time highs. LightFest was so profitable (and laborious) that we decided to get out of the onion, tree, auction, and junk businesses (again).


Milestones of this decade include our sponsorship of the Orchid Island Rotary Club in Vero Beach, the election of our first female Club President, Phyl Strawbridge (2004-2005), and Eau Gallie Rotarian Jim Sisserson serving as District Governor in 2001-2002.

 International projects included Ak’ Tenamit (The Guatemalan Tomorrow Fund), the Indian Braille Book Project, and a schoolroom for an African village.

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In 2012, we handed off LightFest to the Boy Scouts, and 2014 will mark the inauguration of our new signature event, the Rocky Water Brew Fest.



Current international projects include Solar Light for Africa and the Mexican Cistern project.







1960's 1970's 1980's
George Alto (1966-1967) Jack Clark (1970-1971) Grant Hussel (1980-1981)
Joel Satterfield (1967-1968) Jack Burklew (1971-1972) Lyle Henry (1981-1982)
Jack Finger (1969-1970) Jim Whitley (1972-1973) Gene Wilhelm (1982-1983)
  Bill McAllister (1973-1974) Pat Ponder (1983-1984)
  John Cates (1974-1975) Earle Seaverns (1984-1985)
  Dom Montalto (1975-1976) Bob Wasson (1985-1986)
  Mike Gatto (1976-1977) Ray Singletary (1986-1987)
  Ed Zorn (1977-1978) Tim Netzley (1987-1988)
  Dan Richards (1978-1979) Luke Miorelli (1988-1989)
  Dennis Sheppard (1979-1980) Don Anthony (1989-1990)
1990 2000 2010
Doug Van Der Post (1990-1991) Joe Langlois (2000-2001) Samantha Hill (2010-2011)
Bryan Fisher (1991-1992) Walt Robinson (2001-2002) Rick Roach (2011-2012)
Henry Phelps (1992-1993) Bill Anderson (2002-2003) Mary Bonhomme (2012-2013)
Jim Sisserson (1993-1994) Bob Michaud (2003-2004) Eric Turner (2013-2014)
Jay Sutherland (1994-1995) Phyl Strawbridge (2004-2005) Dave Spector (2014-2015)
Mike Renfro (1995-1996) Paul Durney (2005-2006) Rich Sutter (2015-2016)
Scooter Webster (1996-1997) Brian Laughlin (2006-2007)  Nick Geinosky (2016-2017)
Bill Van Zante (1997-1998) Buz Anderson (2007-2008) Tom Richards (2017-2018)
John Rourk (1998-1999) Chad Dohtre (2008-2009) Al Nuttall (2018-2019)
Kurt Weiss (1999-2000) Roy Alterman (2009-2010) Bruce Waters (2019-2020)
Bill Pospisil (2020-2021)    
Brian Laughlin (2021-2022)    
Charles R. Berry, II (2022-2023)     
Steven Fordice (2023-2024)    
David Spector (2024-2025)    



Club Leaders