Quincyan receives National Exchange Club highest honor

By  Herald-Whig

Posted: Oct. 21, 2017 10:35 pm Updated: Oct. 21, 2017 11:20 pm

QUINCY — Quincy Exchange Club member Dennis Koch has been inducted into the National Exchange Club Court of Honor.

Koch is the first Quincyan and one of only a handful of Illinoisans to receive the honor — the highest recognition an Exchange Club member may achieve. Koch and fellow inductee, Joe Nickels, were the 108th and 109th members to enter the Court of Honor in the Exchange Club’s 106-year history.

“I’ve been attending these ceremonies for a while,” Koch said, “but I never thought my name would be up there.”

Koch’s sons, Jason and Joel, spent almost a year compiling an extensive nomination for their father. Having nominated others in the past, Koch was “blown away” to be included in the “exclusive club.”

Koch has been an Exchange Club member for 25 years, first joining in 1980 when he was 21. After briefly stepping away from the club, he returned and has been a member for the past 21 years. He has held positions at the local, district and national levels. Koch has served for the last five years on the National Foundation Board and is currently the Region 3 vice president, serving Exchange Clubs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota. He has served once as vice president and twice as president of the Exchange Club National Foundation Board.

Koch’s name was inscribed on one of the seven granite monuments in the Exchange Club’s Court of Honor courtyard in Toledo, Ohio, where the induction ceremony was held Oct. 14. Among the other names on the stone is Charles Berkey, Exchange Club founder.

“You look at the list of people on there,” Koch said, “and I’m still not sure I deserve to be up there with them.”

Koch credits his mother and father, who were both active in civic groups and service clubs, with fueling his interest in community service. Early on, an Exchange Club speaker changed the way he looked at life. By defining the difference between being innocent and not guilty, the speaker encouraged listeners to take an active approach to life.

“Instead of looking at what I can do to get by, look at what I can do to help,” Koch said. “It’s made me a better person.”