The Rotary Club of Alexandria formally installed Peter O. Knetemann as the 86th club president at the July 9 meeting at Belle Haven Country Club that also recognized the 2013-2014 slate of officers and board members.
“The Rotary Club of Alexandria is a very special club for a variety of reasons,” said Knetemann, who joined the club in 1994 after serving as a charter member of the now defunct Skyline club. “Rotary is a unique organization but Alexandria in particular seems to attract a neat kind of person — someone who is not here for their own benefit. Our members are looking beyond themselves and that's what sets us apart.”
Born and raised in the Netherlands, Knetemann immigrated to the U.S. in 1980 to work for an international real estate development company serving Washington, D.C. and Alexandria. He eventually left to become an independent mortgage broker, spending the last 20 years with PMC Mortgage Corp. headquartered in Charleston, S.C. with a regional operation in Fairfax.
“I'm not one to get easily recruited by something but it is amazing what this organization accomplishes all over the world,” Knetemann said of Rotary. “This last year I have really gotten involved in programs on the local, district and international level and gained an understanding of how Rotary is different from other service clubs.”
Knetemann noted that Rotary Clubs function with very little overhead so any resources collected go to serve the needs of the individual communities.
“Every year the Rotary Club of Alexandria raises $80,000-100,000,” Knetemann said. “And every dollar of that is given back to local charities.”
Founded in 1928, the Rotary Club of Alexandria has approximately 150 active members.
“It's not easy to summarize what this club does,” Knetemann said. “Through the tireless efforts of Joan Holden, we recognize young people with our Student of the Month awards and also raise funds for local charities with our annual Taste For Giving. But there are so many other things we do as well.”
Knetemann sees the Alexandria Rotary Club as a way for community leaders to get involved in Rotary's worldwide mission.
“Rotary international doesn't work along political lines,” Knetemann said. “Throughout the world, we all share the same ideals, the same outlook on life through our commitment to service above self.”
Knetemann did hesitate when asked about specific goals for the club.
“Every president has different goals but it's a huge question if you can get them implemented,” he said. “This is a volunteer organization. I cannot demand things, I can only hope to promote and inspire our members.”
A resident of the Mount Vernon area of Alexandria since 1980, Knetemann and his wife Joan have been married for 27 years and have three children, ages 20, 23 and 25.
“There are so many things we can and want to achieve,” Knetemann said. “I hope to continue to have a vibrant club where people are proud to be a member and want to get their friends involved. The fellowship that comes with being a Rotarian is important to me.”
For more information, visit www.rotaryclubofalexandria.net