Rotary presents check for memorial bench

Rotary Club of Homer-Kachemak Bay President Kim Zook presented a check for $2,000 on Aug. 9 to Sara Murnane Berg and Ed Berg for the Loved & Lost Memorial Bench fund managed by Homer United Methodist Church. This donation was made possible by a matching grant from the Rotary International Foundation.

“Moved to act by the abduction of Anesha ‘Duffy’ Murnane in 2019, the Loved & Lost Memorial Bench project brings attention to two of Rotary International’s key initiatives: the promotion of women’s health and safety, and the prevention of human trafficking,” Zook said. “This memorial at the Homer Public Library reminds us that violence against women and human trafficking impacts every community. Anyone can be a victim. And it does happen in our own backyard.”

Murnane Berg spoke of the significance of Rotary’s work.

“Back in about 1999, Duffy and I were at a language school in Copan Ruines in Honduras, when we came upon a group of Rotatarians making small smokeless stoves for people to use in their houses for cooking and heat. It was a clever design that they were instructing the locals how to make,” she said. “Later, we went to a demonstration picnic with the local folks to see them in action. Such a clever project to get the smoke out of the houses. It made a lasting impression on us about the good selfless work of the Rotary.”

Homer artist Brad Hughes designed and directed construction of the Loved & Lost Memorial Bench. It honors Duffy Murnane and other people who have been lost or are missing. Murnane went missing on Oct. 17, 2019, and a Homer man was charged in May for her murder and kidnapping. The bench was dedicated last June in a public ceremony.