Denny “Rehnbow” Rehn is a 40-year member of the Kirkland Lions Club, trustee of the local fire department and owner of a farmers museum.
He also donates a lot of pork chop sandwiches.
The Greater Kirkland Area Chamber of Commerce honored Rehn as the 2013 Citizen of the Year on June 6. He also received the Fred Mannie Award for Outstanding Lion. Rehn recently talked about his past achievements with reporter Andrea Azzo.
Azzo: How much did it mean for you to be recognized as Citizen of the Year?
Rehn: It meant an awful lot. The fact that people recognize what you’re doing is very nice, but that’s not why you want to do the things you do. I guess that’s why I got the award. I would say I don’t do that all by myself. There are a lot of people that help me. So, I never want this to seem like this is a “me” thing. A lot of people are involved.
Azzo: Why did you become involved with the Lions Club?
Rehn: My dad and I always farmed together, ever since I was a little guy. We were just really close and professionally really close. When I first got married, I went to the family Lions Club dinner. One of the guys there asked me, “Do you want to be a member?” I said, “Yeah, I’d like to be.” He said, “How come your dad hasn’t asked you?” My dad would always tell me, “If you’re good enough to be a member, somebody else will ask you. That’s not my job.” It’s a real source of pride for me.
Azzo: What do you do with the pork chops?
Rehn: We make sandwiches and spice them up. On the Fourth of July this year, we served 2,500 pork chop sandwiches. For years, I raised hogs. I still farm, but it’s a way to promote pork and get people to enjoy it.
Azzo: What is your biggest motivation?
Rehn: It’s something that’s inside of you. It’s not anything I check off on a list in the morning. When somebody asks, usually I don’t know how to say no … not that I’d want to. We just figure out a way to get it done. I don’t know that I have any great motivation. I have a feeling of sense of community. I always wanted to help.
Azzo: Where does the nickname “Rehnbow” come from?
Rehn: It goes all the way from when I was in college. It’s something the guys came up with one night. It just happened, and it stuck. It’s kind of what we do. We have to have fun. I would not do it if they’re not having fun. You have to tell stories that make light of yourself many times, and you just have to enjoy it.
Azzo: What’s something you’ve had the most fun doing?
Rehn: Having friends around me that make fun of me. I want to make sure the people with me want to have fun, and if I have to take a trip under the bus, that’s fine.