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President Dan Coons opened the meeting by introducing himself and reciting the 2020-21 Rotary International theme - Rotary Opens Opportunities
He then recited the Rotary Vision Statement:
Together we see a world where people unite and 
take action to create lasting change - 
across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves
Dave Brauchler offered the invocation, and Warren Williamson led the pledge of allegiance.
Rotary Minute - Greg Okonowski
Greg talked about his Rotary experience.  He was one of several who joined Mesa West the year Pam Cohen was President in 1997-98.  He said he was right out of college, and Rotary has been his family - not only in Mesa West - but Rotarians he's met from all over the world have treated him like family because of all we have in common.  He was kind of intimidated when he heard about the expectation of Every Rotarian Every Year (EREY) giving $100 to The Rotary Foundation.  He didn't have a spare $100.  Keith Deering encouraged him to give $2 each week to the Treasurer so he could accumulate his $100 for the year and it worked.  One of the things that he loves about Rotary is that if you dream it, you can make it happen.  Someone dreamed of the need for a fight to end polio and look where we are today.  (only two cases of wild polio virus have been reported in 2021 - one in Afghanistan and one in Pakistan).  When you dream something and can help make it happen it creates a contagious passion.  He thought he was joining to get business leads and network.  A former member, Mike Whalen, who was in the club at the time took Greg to every networking event possible.  Greg is proud that our club does things close to home that help the community.  Accepting officer positions taught him how to delegate.  He encouraged our newer members to "Get involved - it will change your life!"
Introduction of Guests
  • Tom Yuzer - attending via Zoom
  • Assistant Governor, Lee Holmes - attending via Zoom
Ace of Clubs Raffle - Chuck Flint
Chuck explained that the holder of the ticket drawn would win $65 and the opportunity to try to draw the ace of clubs from the ten remaining cards in the deck. Should they draw the ace of clubs, they would win the big pot of $1,722.  Don Boucher was asked to draw the winning ticket.  The ticket he drew belonged to Frank Rosenberg.  After Frank shuffled the cards, he drew the nine of spades, which was destroyed.  Next week the odds and the potential winnings will both improve.
Happy Bucks - Greg Okonowski
  • Frank Rosenberg contributed.  He was happy to have finished his first two weeks of the Nurse Practitioner program he will be participating in at NAU for the next three years.  He was also happy he would be heading to Flagstaff for the weekend.
  • Don LaBarge added to Greg's Rotary minute by adding that when Greg was Club President in 2008-09, Rotary International President D. K. Lee came to Arizona to see the District Governors.  Greg had the opportunity to attend a private dinner party with the RI President while he was in town.
  • Pam Cohen contributed because she loved Greg's Rotary Minute.
  • Wendell Jones contributed.  He would be marrying his sweetheart, Sandra, Friday, June 11.
  • Jeane Crouse made a $10 pledge to Guaymas, paying for the right to share a story about her family.  On Sunday evenings her family including grandchildren and great grandchildren get together and one of their fun traditions is to learn more about or more about how to correctly use a word.  Recently they talked about the difference between lie and lay.  Only an inanimate object can lay.  She asked Wendell Jones if he could point out an inanimate object.  Wendell pointed to Ray Smith, then the two of them sang Pistol Packin' Mama to illustrate the proper use of the word as in "lay that pistol down..."
  • Ed Koeneman contributed because he is really glad to be able to meet and have lunch with his Rotary friends, and share that "there are only 923 days left until the next Star Wars movie comes out."
  • Darl Andersen contributed.  He had traveled to Peru recently where he ate nothing but beans and rice, and he was really looking forward to his Rotary lunch and felt like he had returned to Peru when he saw what was on the menu for the meeting.
  • Wayne General contributed - he was happy to be at the meeting and see everyone.
  • Wendell Jones contributed in order to inform everyone that the most used phrase in 2020 was "You're on mute."
  • Shelly Romine explained why she had attended via Zoom rather than in person the prior week.  She had to go to the airport to pick up three high school friends who came to Arizona to see her for the weekend and they enjoyed a ton of fun!  She contributed for the fun, but also for the members who had contributed to our food drive to benefit Paz de Cristo.
  • Dick Myren was happy about the Phoenix Suns' playoff performance.
  • Ron Thompson contributed and tried to give Greg a bad time about the Rotary Minute.  He was concerned that all the praise Greg was receiving would go to his head. 
  • Jay Stuckey contributed - he was happy that Melissa's membership application had been approved by the board.
  • Dave Brauchler asked for the significance of "Guaymas" to Mesa West.  Ray Smith briefly explained our (before COVID) annual Gift of Hearing mission to provide hearing aids and treatment mostly for kids, but for some adults each year as well.  It is a project started by Bob Jensen, who is an audiologist, thirty years ago.  When it is possible to do the project, a team of medical professionals and logistical volunteers travel by bus to Guaymas for a long weekend of service.  Bob's project eventually became a project of Mesa Baseline Rotary Club.  When the Mesa Baseline club merged into Mesa West, they brought the project and their foundation funds to support the project with them,since the merger of the two clubs, the Guaymas Gift of Hearing project is a signature international service project of Mesa West Rotary.  In 2020, Bob Jensen received Rotary's coveted "Service Above Self" award for his service and commitment to this ongoing project.
  • Chuck Flint had received some photos to share when he received a letter of appreciation for the Mesa West Rotary Foundation donation sent to Sleep in Heavenly Peace - a project which provides beds and bedding for children who do not have their own bed.  He passed them around the room so all would have a chance to see them.
  • Pam Cohen was really happy to have Ed Koeneman's technical assistance.
  • Bob Zarling from Zoom pledged $8 for the Milwaukee Bucks playoff performance.
  • Lee Holmes pledged $10 - he's missed attending meetings recently due to stuff going on with his family, but wanted to pitch the big year-end District 5495 celebration coming up on July 10 at the Wigwam.  All Rotarians are invited and encouraged to attend.  See separate article in this newsletter.
  • Chris Krueger was sorry to have to attend via Zoom.  Sometimes "stupid work" interferes.  She was excited to hear John Pennypacker's program.
  • Juli Kelly- pledged $5.  She was sorry to have missed some recent meetings.
  • Save the date - July 1 Installation Event
  • June Service Projects
    • Food drive at all in-person June meetings - food collected to be donated to Paz de Cristo.
    • United School for Autism hands on project moving classroom and library to new locations on their site.
  • Special request from Jack Rosenberg who would like to attend our in-person meetings, but would appreciate being able to sit at a table reserved for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID.  It was announced that the table nearest the door would be designated as such going forward.
President Dan Coons opened the meeting by reciting the 2020-21 International President's theme - Rotary Opens Opportunities.  He then recited the Rotary Vision Statement:
Together we see a world where people unite and 
take action to create lasting change - 
across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves
Invocation/Thought for the Day - John Pennypacker
John bowed his head and began, "Lord, I hate lard," then followed with "Lord, I ain't too crazy about plain flour. But after you mix 'em all together and bake 'em in a hot oven, I just love biscuits."  He continued saying, "Lord help us to realize when life gets hard, when things come up that we don't like, whenever we don't understand what You are doing, that we need to wait and see what You are making. After you get through mixing and baking, it'll probably be something even better than biscuits. Amen.
In a more somber tone, John remarked that we have all gone through a lot of things we never dreamed we'd experience and some of it has been very difficult.  If we wait and see, there may be some good emerge out of these difficult times.
Ed Koeneman led the Pledge of Allegiance.  Dan Lamborn was thanked for serving as greeter.
Introduction of Guests
  • District Governor Elect, Bret McKeand  was introduced,
  • Jay Stuckey introduced his guest - his wife, Melissa Stuckey, and announced she would be turning in a membership application.
  • Donna Goetzenberger introduced her daughter, Paige Goetzenberger, and reminded members that Paige had been sponsored by Mesa West Rotary as an outbound Rotary Youth Exchange Student.  She was in Austria for the 2019-20 school year.  This is the first meeting Paige has been able to attend since her year abroad.
  • Dave Brauchler was introduced as a guest with a membership application being processed.
  • It was noted that Lola McClane, Jack Rosenberg and Bob Zarling were all attending via Zoom.
Ace of Clubs Raffle - Chuck Flint
Before explaining the raffle, Chuck noted that someone observing the way Greg Okonowski loads his plate at our weekly meetings might be a situation that would require a building permit.  Looking at the plate Greg loaded at this meeting, Chuck thought Greg might additionally need a variance. Chuck explained that each week tickets are sold at $5 each.  The amount collected is divided in thirds with 1/3 going to the club operating account, 1/3 being added to the "big pot," and the other 1/3 going to the holder of the lucky ticket drawn.  The lucky winner would then have an opportunity to draw a card from the eleven remaining cards in the deck.  If they draw the ace of clubs, they will win the "big pot" which is up to $1,592.  DGE Bret McKeand  drew Jeanie Morgan's ticket.  Her luck did not hold out - the card she drew was the seven of clubs, which was immediately destroyed.  Next week the "big pot" will be bigger and the odds of drawing the elusive ace of clubs will be better.
Happy Bucks - Greg Okonowski
  • Jim LeCheminant was happy to be at the meeting
  • Ted William contributed $10.  All but three of hi grandchildren were with him on a recent trip to their place in the high country.
  • Dick Myren contributed saying the club was blessed to have Jeanie doing all the things she does for the club.
  • Donna Goetzenberger was happy to have 3/4 of her family at the meeting.  Emilee was in Costa Rica with friends.  She put in a plug for Rotary Youth Exchange (Donna is District 5495 Youth Exchange Chairperson), saying they are taking applications for outbound students for the 2022-23 school year.  The age qualifications are no younger than 15 - generally the outbounds go during their sophomore through "gap" year.  Gap year is the year following high school graduation but before starting college.  They need to finish their exchange before they turn nineteen.
  • Colleen Coons contributed because she was so happy to have Dan reach his new member goal, she contributed $100 to our club foundation to be used for Youth Exchange.
  • Warren Williamson contributed, buying permission to tell an Irish joke.  An Irishman who was new in town started frequenting the local pub.  Each evening he would order three pints of beer.  The barkeep noticed this habit and suggested that it would be more affordable if he would order a mug and a pitcher.  The customer explained that he was one of three brothers.  One brother was on the high seas, and the other was working on an oil rig, but he liked to think of himself drinking with and enjoying his brothers each evening as he drank the pints he ordered.  A short time later, the same customer's habits changed.  He consistently ordered only two pints.  Not only the barkeep, but many of the regulars were concerned that something might have happened to one of the brothers.  The barkeep finally asked if one of the brothers was no longer with us.  The custoemr replied, No, me brothers are well, but I've stopped drinkin'."
  • Jim Erickson contributed.  He has a grand-nephew who recently had a motorbike accident.  He broke his arm, but it doesn't seem to have slowed him down much - in fact the stories about how it happened keep getting better.
  • Pam Cohen contributed $50 making good on her pledge if Kayla followed through and joined the club.  She reminded Greg Okonowski he had made a pledge as well.
  • Greg Okonowski said he was going to contribute $500 to The Rotary Foundation and take Chuck Flint up on his offer to match donated dollars two for one with recognition points transferred ad the donor designated.  Greg said to transfer the points to the member Pam was reminding him about -  Kayla Mudge.
  • Jim Schmidt shared a couple of heartwarming stories about individuals to whom he had given one each of the helping hands kits we had packed in April.
  • Ron Thompson was $25 worth of happy to be at the meeting.
  • Lu General had to brag about Mesa West Rotary a bit.  She is active at the Zone level and has been on some virtual meetings where she has heard a lot of bad news about how clubs are struggling.  She is very happy and proud that Mesa West has the Nike "Just Do It" spirit.   
New Member Induction - DGE Bret McKeand
New members and their sponsors were called to the front of the room.  Jeane Crouse was accompanied by her sponsor, Daryl Bethea and Ray Smith, who has been reminding her regularly that she needed to get back into Rotary.  Kayla Mudge was accompanied by her sponsor, Polly Cady.  Jeanie Morgan was the sponsor for both Jay Stuckey and Logan Harper.
John Pennypacker was the sponsor for Jim Erickson.
DGE Bret McKeand welcomed the new members not only into Mesa West Rotary, but reminded them they are now part of a worldwide association and by virtue of their membership in our club whey will be welcomed into the fellowship of any Rotary club in the world.  
He also reminded them there are duties and obligations - they are now trustees of Rotary's ideals.  Being known to be a Rotarian, others will judge Rotary by each Rotarian's conduct.  Bret said Rotary is more than a club - it is a way of life, and Mesa West Members because Mesa West Members believed each new member would be a good fit for that way of life.
The new members received membership packets and Rotary pins.  Members stood and gave them a standing ovation to welcome them into the club.
Recognition for Support of The Rotary Foundation
DGE Bret McKeand and Chuck Flint worked together to get the abundant awards distributed to those who had earned them.  It had been quite some time since the club had had the opportunity to meet in person and see their fellow members receive their earned recognition materials.  
The generosity of Mesa West members continued during the many months we were isolated from seeing each other due to COVID-19 precautions.  There will be at least one more event after some of our members return from their summer travels when a higher than usual number of recognitions will be acknowledged.
Receiving their first Paul Harris Fellow
Donna Goetzenberger and Colleen Coons each were given their first Paul Harris Fellow recognition.  Each received a lapel pin and a certificate.
To receive this recognition, either up to $1,000 in dollars actually donated or a combination of dollars donated and/or recognition points were transferred to honor them.
Paul Harris Fellow Plus 1
Daryl Bethea was happy to receive recognition of his second $1,000 in recognition points or dollars actually donated.
Bob Jensen designated Ray Smith to accept his recognition in his absence.
Paul Harris Fellow Plus 3
Wayne General designated Lucinda General to accept his recognition in his absence.  She actually accepted three pins on his behalf, PHF+1, PHF+2, and PHF+3.
Frank Rosenberg accepted his own Paul Harris Fellow level 3 recognition.  He also accepted for Jack Rosenberg who was attending via Zoom
Christine Krueger was presented with her Paul Harris plus four, which means she has accumulated a total of $5,000, which can be in dollars or transferred recognition points or a combination of the two totaling $5,000.
Chris has been championing a Global Grant from TRF to partner with Aqua Africa to provide clean drinking water for a community in South Sudan.  
This recognition has a lot to do with her support of the way dollars given can be increased through the global grant process and much of the work and materials are at greatly reduced costs, making every dollar go farther in changing lives than most of us can imagine.
Paul Harris Fellow Plus 5
President Dan Coons has many things to be proud of during his year of service.  Achieving this level of 
recognition for his support of The Rotary Foundation is a significant addition to that growing list of accomplishments.
Paul Harris Fellow Plus Six
Polly Cady and Warren Williamson were each recognized for reaching the the threshold of a total of $7,000 in either dollars given or recognition points transferred or any combination of the two.  
Paul Harris Fellow Plus Eight
This is the last level of recognition that can be achieved using recognition points.  The next level after this is Major Donor, which requires a total of $10,000 in monetary donations be received in the donor's name.
Allan Cady and Greg Okonowski were both recognized for reaching this level.  
Allan and Polly Cady as a married couple have already reached major donor status.  That is one advantage of being married to a Rotarian.
Major Donor
Pam Cohen and Jeanie Morgan were both very happy and to have reached this milestone in giving.  The traditional crystal they each received is beautiful and personalized with engraving in the outside circumference.
At the close of the recognition presentations, DGE Bret presented a 2021-22 Rotary International theme banner to President Dan.  It is shown at the top of this article, and the theme will be "Serve to Change Lives."
Volunteers Tim Troy, Juli Kelly, Pam Cohen, Chuck Flint, Shelly & Scott Romine and Carla Krcmarik painted a home on the House of Refuge campus.  This home will be rented to a family for $350 per month to help them save until they can get into sustainable housing.  The program for transitional housing is up to twelve months where families stay at a reduced rent but also go through a program that helps them budget, find jobs, and access other services that help them transition from homelessness to a situation where they are able to find housing on their own that they can stay in.
This has been a challenging year for all humanitarian hearing missions throughout the world.  Like many other programs, our club decided that it would be too risky for our volunteers, patients and others in Guaymas if we conducted what would have been our 28th Annual program.
After consulting with health professionals and officials here and in Guaymas, it was decided that we would wait and see what would develop in terms of access to patients, availability of a proven vaccine, and feasibility of conducting a reduced program sometime in 2021.  In talking to other audiologists who conduct programs in Nicaragua and Belize, this seemed to be the common opinion.
In the meantime, I continue to have dialogues with our friends in Guaymas and Alamos regarding the prevalence of COVID-19 cases in their areas and what they see as a plan of action for the future.  Rudolfo Fernandez, our audiology technician in Alamos, is in constant contact with the school in Guaymas where we conduct the clinic and doctors in Guaymas to see what he can do to start up a testing and training program which will be fundamental to achieving a sustainable on-going program in Guaymas.  This would allow patients to be seen on a quarterly basis, reduce the number of patients seen during our two-day clinic and, consequently, reduce the need for a very large team to travel once a year to Guaymas.  It might take some monetary support from our club but would lower the overall cost of the mission if we support him in his efforts.  The cost savings to our club could be as much as $10,000 to $15,000 a year.
We know that the need for our services is great in Guaymas but we must approach the solution to the need in a safe and prudent manner.  I will keep the club updated and hope to meet with the Mission Committee in the early part of 2021 to form a plan of action to help our friends in Guaymas.
Thanks to the club members for your continued support of the mission
Bob Jensen
CLICK HERE or on the "Donate Now" button to go to the on-line donation page for The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona.  Your donation will help fund vocational education grants to Arizona residents who meet specific low-income guidelines.  You will literally help someone lift themselves out of poverty.  Several Mesa West Rotarians have chosen the option near the bottom of the page to have their donations recur monthly to ensure they remember painlessly to make their tax-credit donation each year.
If you prefer to mail your donation, CLICK HERE to download a mail-in donation form.
TRVFA is a 501(c)(3) public charity.  They are also a Qualifying Charitable Organization with the State of Arizona allowing them to receive tax credit donations.  Their QCO number is 20698.
Club Information
Welcome to our Rotary Club of Mesa West!
Mesa West


We meet In Person & Online
Thursdays at 12:00 PM
Via Zoom or in-person with reservation
Doubletree, 1011 W Holmes
Mesa, AZ 85210
United States of America
Our hybrid meetings are held weekly on the 1st thru 4th Thursdays of each month. The meetings are broadcast via Zoom to include all, whether attending virtually or in person.
Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
Foundation Director
Public Image Director
Club Service Director
Service Projects Director
Executive Secretary
Mike Burnett
Jun 24, 2021
Law Enforcement and Special Olympics Program and Support
No Noon Meeting
Jul 01, 2021
Club will hold Changing of Guard and Sponsorship Program Celebration in Evening at Doubletree
Monique Hammond
Jul 15, 2021
Hearing Loss - The Silent Epidemic
Erica Anderson
Aug 26, 2021
The Power of Hope
Upcoming Events
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