Chamber Award for Community Service: Ken DeRoller

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 September 2014 at 12:00 am

Kendall resident has been involved in numerous community causes

Photos by Tom Rivers – Ken DeRoller is pictured outside his Kendall home where he lives with his wife of 46 years, Susan.

KENDALL – A Kendall resident has decades of giving back to the community, through the Fire Department, leading the local Planning Board, and serving in the Lions Club and other public offices.

Ken DeRoller, 68, is being recognized by the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce with a community service award. He will be honored on Sept. 20.

“Community service is my passion,” DeRoller said at his home on Kendall Road. “I appreciate our environment and our community.”

DeRoller grew up in Spencerport, but visited Kendall often as a kid. His parents had a cottage on Norway Heights. Just before his sophomore year in high school, the family moved to the cottage year-round. He married a Kendall native, the former Susan Preston. They raised two children in Kendall, Marc and Kelly. The DeRollers have three granddaughters.

Mr. DeRoller worked 38 years at Kodak, retiring 12 years ago in the information technology department as a business analyst. He also worked with materials handling and logistics for the company.

He joined the Fire Department and was an active firefighter for 18 years. He continues as a social member.

He served 25 years on the Town Planning Board, including 15 years as its chairman. DeRoller was particularly interested in the lakefront and making better use of the 7 miles of lakefront in Kendall.

He helped write the comprehensive plan that made it possible to turn a former Salvation Army Camp into the Cottages of Troutburg. The first cottages are being built and the infrastructure is going in for the Cottages at Troutburg, a project that could add 400 cottages to the Kendall tax rolls, adding tax base and residents to shop at local businesses, DeRoller said.

County Clerk Karen Lake-Maynard, right, administers the oath of office on Jan. 2 to the following legislators, from left: David Callard of Medina, Lynne Johnson of Lyndonville, Ken DeRoller of Kendall and Fred Miller of Albion.

DeRoller also led the Kendall-Yates-Carlton Waterfront Plan, which took nearly two decades to develop and secure approvals from state and federal officials. The plan promotes recreational opportunities along the 24 miles of shoreline in the three towns. The plan was instrumental in helping the county secure grants for the Marine Park and also for the dredging of the Oak Orchard Harbor.

DeRoller enjoys digging into the details of plans and budgets. He worked as town assessor for four years, and also has been a member of the Orleans Economic Development Agency for the past 12 years.

“He has a passion for Orleans County, for economic development and for everything he does,” said Jim Whipple, Orleans EDA director. “I couldn’t ask for a better board member or a better person.”

DeRoller gives each role in the community his full attention, Whipple said.

“He’s a real asset for Orleans County,” Whipple said.

DeRoller also has been a member of the Lions Club for 30 years and in June was named a Melvin Jones Fellow, the Lions’ top award for humanitarian service. He works with the Leos, the youth component of Lions which includes about 70 students at Kendall.

He urges the students to come back to Kendall as adults and give back to the community.

“He has been instrumental with the Leo’s Club, doing community service projects with the students,” said Terry Bliss, a past president of the Kendall Lions Club and former district governor.

He said DeRoller acts a mentor to many in the community. He also helps line up speakers for the club, bringing in local and state community leaders to address the Lions.

DeRoller joined the Orleans County Legislature in January. He is the Public Safety Committee chairman. He also has pushed the local village and town boards to press the state for more infrastructure funding. He secured formal resolutions from each village and town board about the issue.

Well-maintained roads and bridges are critical for the county’s economic development and quality of life, DeRoller said. He also helped rally residents to submit 70 letters asking the state to better maintain the Lake Ontario State Parkway.

DeRoller said he’s thankful for the Kendall community and the many ways he’s been able to contribute.

“You try to make a difference,” he said.