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Opening and Welcome to Meeting - President Colleen Coons
President Colleen thanked:
  • Steve Ross for serving as greeter.
  • Dick Myren for offering the invocation
  • Jack Rosenberg for leading the Pledge of Allegiance
  • Jeanie Morgan for handling check-in
  • John Pennypacker for handling room setup and filling in as Sgt at Arms
  • Ed Koeneman for serving as Chief of Technology
Introduction of Guests
  • Bert Millett introduced Carlotta, an inbound Rotary Youth Exchange student from Spain.  Bert has been her host dad in recent months.  Prior to that, she stayed with Ed and Deb Koeneman.  Members were reminded that they were invited to a farewell gathering to say goodbye to the youth exchange students before they depart on their YE Train Tour of the USA.
  • Bob Purinton from Four Peaks Rotary Club in the Fountain Hills area was introduced.  He invited Mesa West members, friends and family to participate in the Octoberfest their club will be hosting.  It will be held at the Pavilion of the Convention Center in Fountain Hills September 22-23. He said there would be lots of great German food including brats, apple strudel and Black Forest cake.  He also brought greetings from incoming District Governor Michelle Holcomb and our new AG, Bob Harris.
  • Harry Short was introduced as a seasonal visitor to our club.  He will be heading back to Seattle soon.
  • Julio Espinoza, with the Grand Canyon Council, Boy Scouts of America was introduced as someone who would like to join Mesa West Rotary.
  • President-Elect Nominee Kayla Mudge was applauded.  She will be leading an Interact Ambassador team on the Crutches for Africa mission.  In order for the team to go, they needed to raise $65,000 in less than six months.  Kayla was congratulated by President Colleen for making that happen.  
  • Attending via Zoom were Deb Koeneman, Bob Jensen, Shane White and Marilyn Klingler.
Ace of Clubs Raffle - Dick Myren
Dick explained that the proceeds of raffle ticket sales are divided three ways.  A third goes to the club operating account.  Another third goes to the weekly winner, and the final third is added to the accumulating "big pot".  He said the weekly winner would win $25, and if they were lucky enough to draw the Ace of Clubs from the cards left in the deck, they would win the big pot which was up to $626.  He asked Amy Sailors with Mesa Police Department to pick the winning ticket which was held by Brian Harvey.  Brian elected to have Carlotta be the weekly winner as well as try to draw the Ace of Clubs.  Sadly - for Carlotta - the card she drew was the King of Clubs.
Happy Bucks - John Pennypacker - Sgt at Arms For the Day
John announced that the funds raised during Happy Bucks would be divided between the Youth Exchange students our club has "adopted" this year who are going on the train trip.
  • Ted Williams contributed.  He was happy one of his granddaughters was returning from Barcelona.  Another granddaughter was leaving for Greece.
  • Visitor Bob Purinton contributed.  He said John Pennypacker had recently driven Olivia to visit his club - which meets very early in the morning in Fountain Hills.  With John interviewing her, Olivia shared information about her year as a Youth Exchange student.  Bob said they were a tremendous hit.
  • Jay Paulus contributed - bragging about Liz Paulus being honored by ABC TV and Sanderson Ford.  CLICK HERE to see the video they ran about Liz.
  • John contributed mentioning how inspired he was by the Aspire Academy.
  • Wayne General contributed sharing some police humor.
  • Frank Rosenberg contributed.  He was very happy that Sam Rosenberg would be returning from her outbound Youth Exchange trip to Denmark - arriving around midnight.
  • Kayla contributed.  She thanked the members who had supported her fundraising effort.
  • Harry Grossman contributed.  He announced he was starting a new tradition.  Each week he would be wearing a different hat - each featuring a local business.  This week, the business is Chompie's
  • Warren Williamson contributed.  He told about little Johnie who had learned about Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden and told his mother that was were we all came from.  When he told his father the same lesson learned, his father said that people actually came from ape-like creatures.  Johnie asked his mother which was right.  His mother explained that Johnie's father was talking about his side of the family.
  • Dick Myren made his traditional contribution - thankful that he and honorary member Rod Daniels are associated with the Ace of Clubs.
  • Ed Koeneman was happy to see Carlotta.  She had spent the fall in their home.  He congratulated Kayla on raising the funds necessary to fund the trip to Africa.  He was also very happy that Deb would be returning.  Apparently, their dishwasher doesn't work when Deb is out of town.  
  • Deb Koeneman was very happy to be in Georgia welcoming their son back from Poland.  She said "It's been wonderful - James' smile is real!"
  • Don Boucher contributed sad bucks.  A couple who are very dear friends had travelled to Prescott where they were hit by a cement truck.  She did not survive.
  • John Pennypacker contributed.  He was happy his grandson, Ty enjoyed the opportunity to have dinner with Allan and Polly Cady, Olivia and Braly while he was in the San Diego area recently.  
  • Colleen contributed.  She was very thankful for Ranger Ben who came to their rescue when a hiking trip at Picacho Peak with the exchange student from the Ukraine.  Dan got lost.   The youth exchange student ran out of water.  She was very thankful for cell service and the help of Ranger Ben.
Sponsor Program Update - Steve Ross
Steve said we are now a little over $52,000 and reminded members that "many of us have way to many ties."  He suggested members ask their kids to donate to the sponsor program rather than purchase a Father's Day gift for them.
We just have a few weeks left before this year's campaign ends.  Let's try to reach our amended goal of $60,000.
Auction Item - Wayne General
Wayne had a bag of items purchased during the trip he and Lucinda made to Curacao, an island in the Caribbean, in April.  He said the bag contained ten items, nine of which were edible, and the tenth was alcohol.  He said the proceeds of the auction would go to the sponsor program to benefit the Ed Koeneman team.  After several bids, the final, top bid, was from Bob Purinton, our visitor from Four Peaks Rotary Club.
  • Jay Paulus encouraged members to attend the Chamber's Mesa Has Heart event Friday evening June 14.  He said Dan and Colleen would be there.
  • Members were urged to sign up to participate in the conversational English practice sessions for ESL students which Polo Santiago has opened up for us on June 26 and July 11.
Opening and Welcome to Meeting - President Colleen Coons
President Colleen thanked the following individuals:
  • Eric Silverberg for serving as greeter
  • Jim Erickson for leading the Pledge of Allegiance
  • John Pennypacker for providing the Thought for the Day.  John shared two things:
    • RI President Gordon McInally's Call to action on page 1 of the July 2023 issue of the Rotary Magazine.  During his year, he wanted to prioritize projects to support mental health - a topic which is deeply personal to him.  In his article, he shared an inspiration from Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns, who in the 18th century spoke of all the world becoming kin, promoting "sense and worth, over all the earth."  RIP McInally encouraged readers to build peace within and spread it freely.  "Let us create belonging and imagine the future of Rotary afresh.  Let us work together joyously and Create Hope in the World."
    • John also shared a challenge from Harry Higgs, PGA Tour professional golfer during his remarks following his victory in the Knoxville Korn Ferry Tournament:
      • "It is OK to not be OK - to reach out," he said. "The world is tough.  Social media is awesome but also a pain in the you-know-what.  People can be mean.  I'm mean sometimes, too.  I'm certainly not perfect, but I'm going to certainly try to live what I said."
      • "That will be part of my routine, part of the things that I can control outside the golf course and hopefully bring light to somebody that may be having a hard time.  Hopefully, make a difference in a few people's lives."
      • "I would challenge everybody her, and I'm going to do this myself as well each day; say something nice to someone you love and also make a point to say something nice to someone you do not even know," Higgs said.
      • "Brighten up somebody's day - it could mean the world.  Everyone here could be a difference.  The difference."
  • She thanked Jeanie Morgan for handling check-in.
  • Ed Koeneman for being Chief of Technology
  • John Pennypacker for managing room setup.
  • Ron Thompson for serving as Sgt at Arms
  • Dick Myren for handling the Ace of Clubs Raffle.
Introduction of Guests
  • Don LaBarge introduced his daughter, Tammi Allen.
  • The incoming District Governor for the Interact District Council, Anise Carroll Covarrubias, is a member of the Westwood High School Interact Club.  She will also be an ambassador on one of the Interact C4A adventures this summer.  She was introduced and given the opportunity to speak briefly.  
  • Mary Horstmann was introduced as a friend of Colleen's from her Yoga class.  Mary has recently retired and is considering becoming a member of our club.
  • Polly Cady introduced Braly Morales, a McKinney Vento student.  She also introduced Margaux, an exchange student from Belgium.  Two of Olivia's host mothers were introduced - Carla Rowe-Malcolm from the Gilbert Rotary Club and Kelly Lewis, who is the current host mom. Polly also introduced RaeAnne Pedregon from Homeless Youth Connection and Yuledi Carbajal, a recent graduate from Westwood High School.
  • Ariana Lujan, was introduced as another recent McKinney Vento graduate.  She was accompanied by Isaiah Navarro.
  • Morgan Hill was introduced as a friend of Olivia.
  • Ty Pennypacker was introduced as Olivia's golf coach.
  • Olivia's parents - Camilla and Jan Lundqvist - were introduced.  They were attending via Zoom.  Pai Bethea was also attending via Zoom.
Ace of Clubs Raffle - Dick Myren
Dick explained that the weekly pot was $40, and the big pot was up to $611.  He asked Tammi Allen to draw the winning ticket, which was held by Warren Williamson.  Warren automatically won the weekly pot of $40.  He also won the opportunity to try to draw the Ace of Clubs from the cards remining in the deck.  After carefully shuffling the cards, the card he selected was the Five of Clubs.
Happy Bucks - Sgt at Arms - Ron Thompson
  • Allan Cady contributed to test John Pennypacker's knowledge of military aircraft.  He wanted to know what John could tell us about the B-22 Osprey.  We learned that is is a "stealth aircraft."
  • Warren Williamson contributed for the opportunity to share a story about an elderly man who was admitting he was having trouble hearing and told the audiologist he didn't want anything bulky and was hoping for something barely noticeable in the way of a hearing device.  They were able to fit him with hearing aids that fit his specifications and he was told to come back in two weeks to see if they needed any adjustments.  When he returned in two weeks, he was very excited.  He could hear very well.  He hadn't told his family that he had them, and he had changed his will three times.
  • Harry Grossman contributed.  His grandson in Southern California had graduated and been promoted to the grown-up table at family events.
  • Jim Schmidt pledged $10 to the sponsor program.  He said he thoroughly enjoyed the Rotary International Convention in Singapore.  He enjoyed spending time with Ed and Deb Koeneman while there as well as Incoming DG Michelle and her husband, Gary Holcomb.
  • Pam Cohen said she was Olivia's 4th host mom.  They have been busy crossing things off Olivia's bucket list.  One of the things they did was visit Tortilla Flats near Canyon Lake.  Coincidentally, while they were there, they ran into Don LaBarge, with his daughter, Tammi.  Pam was very happy that Ed was back managing the technical equipment.
  • Polly Cady was happy that Braly had a full-ride scholarship to attend Benedictine University.  She was also happy to see Olivia's parents attending on Zoom.  She informed them that she would love to adopt their daughter.
  • Jay Paulus was happy to have Margaux back in their home, but sad because she would soon be leaving again, going back to the Koenemans.
  • Liz Paulus was happy to promote College Bound at the Salute to Vets.
  • Chuck Flint was happy to be able to be at the meeting.
  • Don LaBarge was happy to have Tammi with him.  He shared a little about his recent Viet Nam reunion in Nashville where he said it rained every day they were there.
  • Tammi Allen was very happy to be visiting her dad.  She said it had been five years - much too long!
  • Dick Myren was happy to see so many young people at our meeting.
  • Ed Koeneman was also happy to see so many youth at the meeting.  He said the RI Convention was fabulous, Singapore was fabulous.  He was also very happy to announce that the release date for the next Star Wars movie has been moved up to May 22, 2026 - only 715 days away.
  • Colleen Coons was happy she would only be President for three more meetings.  She was also very proud of her father who was awarded two Purple Hearts for his service during World War II.
Sponsor Program Update - Steve Ross
Steve reported that recent activity has been slow, but we were near $52,000.  He's been informed more donations can be expected.
Auctions to Raise Funds for Sponsor Campaign
The first two items auctioned were fused glass plates crafted by Jack Rosenberg.  The first plate auctioned was purchased by Jim Erickson with his bid of $35.  The second plate had brought a high bid of $50, but Pam Cohen had a commitment from Past President Chris Krueger, who now lives in Nebraska, to bid $5 more on that plate.  If the top bidder matched her bid of $55, it would go to them, but they did not raise their bid, so Chris will be the new proud owner.  The third item auctioned was a bag of goodies Ed and Deb Koeneman brought back from Singapore.
Ray Smith's bid of $40 made him the proud owner and happy consumer (candy was involved.)
Rotary Builds Bridges
Braly was briefly acknowledged, but Ariana and Yuleidi were invited to the front to share how the Rotary Builds Bridges (McKinney Vento) program had made a difference in their lives. 
Ariana said the program helped by providing the motivation she needed to raise her grades.  She said the supplies provided were very much appreciated.  She plans to study cosmetology at EVIT.
Yuleidi said the program helped her stay motivated and on track.  She also needed the clothes and supplies.  It was nice to know someone was checking on her.  Her next step will be joining the US Army.  She wants to focus on psychiatry.  She has learned the importance and value of good mental health.
Pam Cohen presented medals to both girls as well as the Dr. Seuss Book, "Oh, the Places You'll go."  It may appear to be a children's book, but it has some very deep content.  Each of the girls also received a Rotary Coin with the Four-Way-Test.  They were encouraged to keep the coin handy and use it to make decisions about all the things they think, say, and do.
Each received a graduation stipend of $100.

Mesa West Rotary lives our motto: Transforming communities, creating opportunities and impacting youth!!!
Mesa West Rotary is one of 15 selected grantees for the Meta Data Center Community Action Grants.  Mesa West Rotary will put the power of technology to use for community benefit, connect people online or off, improve local science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education for all. Access to all with your Mesa Library Card.
Our project will provide VR/AR Oculus headsets to public libraries in Mesa, Arizona to develop programs for the entire community to participate in multi-sensory experiences to “imagine the possibilities of a career in STEM”. Additionally, the community will be able to experience Rotary: A giant artificial reef in the shape of a Rotary wheel restores marine life and protects the livelihood of several villages in the Philippines.
Mesa West Rotary Club's volunteer service vests were very visible the evening of November 8 after the Gift of Hearing 2023 volunteers arrived at their destination and were enjoying an evening meal.
After returning to Arizona Sunday, Erica Williams expressed appreciation for all the volunteer hours invested in this year's mission.  She reported 232 patients were served, again making an impact for the hearing health of the Guaymas community.  True to the Rotary Service above Self motto, Rodolfo will continue to travel back a few times during the year for mini clinics to help meet needs until next November.  She said they have been training the Mexican doctors on some of the more advanced testing needs as well to bring back to their community.  
Erica said they are targeting the same week/weekend for 2024, with more information to follow in the future.  CLICK HERE for a link to an article Bob Jensen came across to reflect about why the team does what they do.
If you haven't already seen the reel about the project that was posted on our club's Facebook page, CLICK HERE or on the image  to view it.  
As most of you know, Arizona has a very unique state tax credit program.  If you pay taxes to the state of Arizona, you can specify where your tax dollars go (state taxes only).  These instructions are for your reference only.  Please consult a tax prep professional with any specific questions about state tax credits.

There are many different nonprofit organizations that AZ recognizes as authorized recipients of these tax funds.  Mesa West sponsors the Interact Club at Westwood High School, and they are a qualified recipient of these tax credit funds in the Extra Curricular Activities (ECA) category.  Here's how you can donate up to $200 as an individual or $400 as a couple filing jointly and deduct that amount from your state tax burden.

Go to https://westwood.mpsaz.org/page/eca/ and click on the link to pay on the district's website. 
Or go straight to https://mpsaz.sites.thrillshare.com/o/mpsaz/page/pay-donate  in lower right, click on Pay Online

If you have children currently enrolled in Mesa Public Schools, you can use your existing login information.  Otherwise, it's easy to setup a guest account.

Once you are logged in, select 'Items At All Schools' under the 'Shop/Donate' list on the Home page.

On the next page select 'High Schools', then select 'Westwood High'

Select the link for 'ECA Tax Credit', and then 'Programs G-K' on the following page.

Interact - ECA is under code 8646.  Enter a dollar amount in the box, and click the Add button.  That dollar amount should then appear in your cart (highlighted in green at the top of the page).

You can then proceed to the Checkout process and pay with a credit card.  You will receive a receipt that you can print out and save for when you do your taxes.

Thank you for supporting Westwood Interact and all of our youth programs.
As Rotarians, we are regularly exposed to opportunities to support various causes with our time, talent and treasure.  Sometimes it is hard to sift through all the information and decide where we are going to use our available financial resources. 
It would be wonderful if every Arizona Rotarian would make the following BIG FOUR their Rotary charities of choice and support every one of them every year, we could make a bigger difference than we are making today.
  1. The Rotary Foundation (TRF) Annual Fund - The Rotary Foundation transforms your gifts into service projects that change lives both close to home and around the world."  Giving a small amount each month adds up.  CLICK HERE to download a form you can use to sign up for Rotary Direct, electing "Annual Fund - Share" for your recurring donation.  
  2. The Rotary Foundation (TRF) Polio Plus - Rotary's commitment to eradicate polio is so well known and respected that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation matches donations $2 for $1.  To take advantage of this opportunity to multiply the effect of your giving, CLICK HERE and download a second Rotary Direct form, this time electing electing "Polio Eradication" for your recurring donations.  Those who donate $100 or more annually to Polio Plus qualify in District 5495 as Polio Plus Society Members.  If you would like to make that commitment, CLICK HERE to download the commitment form.
  3. The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona (TRVFA) provides vocational education grants to Arizona Residents who meet specific low-income guidelines.   The grants enable the recipients to lift themselves out of poverty, benefitting themselves, their families and the economy of our state.  TRVFA is a 501(c)(3) charity.  They also are a Qualifying Charitable Organization for Arizona Tax Credit Donations.  Their QCO Code is 20698.  Many Arizona Rotarians say giving to TRVFA is a "no brainer."  If you can help someone lift themselves out of poverty and it won't end up costing you anything why would you not do it?  Mesa West Rotary has the highest number of members who have signed up for automated monthly recurring donations by electing that option on the "Donate Now" button on the TRVFA website.  Click the image to learn more or CLICK HERE to DONATE NOW.  
  4. Mesa West Rotary Foundation, Inc. is the funding and fundraising arm of our own Mesa West Rotary Club.  It is a 501(c)(3) charity.  We have had successful sponsorship campaigns the last few years enabling us to spend our energy on service rather than on holding fundraising events.  Charitable grants that we get involved with are funded through our charitable foundation, Our signature Gift of Hearing Project in Guaymas Mexico is funded through this foundation.  Scholarships are awarded annually to Westwood High School Students (the high school where Mesa West Rotary sponsors an Interact Club).  Funds are used to support a variety of activities in four of the Rotary Avenues of Service:
    1. Community Service
    2. International Service 
    3. Vocational Service
    4. Youth Service
The process isn't quite automated at this point in time, but we hope it soon will be.  For now, you can email our executive secretary who can help you work out a recurring donation plan should you wish to make that arrangement to support our own club's charitable activity.
Club Information
Welcome to our Rotary Club of Mesa West!
Mesa West

Transforming Communities, Creating Opportunities, Impacting Youth

We meet In Person & Online
Thursdays at 12:00 p.m.
Via Zoom or in-person
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
President Nominee
Director '24
Director '24
Director '25
Director '25
Director '25
Mesa West Foundation President
Club Service Chair
Fundraising Chair
Membership Chair
Public Image Chair
Rotary Foundation Chair for Mesa West
Vocational Service Chair
Youth Services Chair
Executive Secretary
Jun 27, 2024
Celebration of Past Year
New Members Introductions
Jul 11, 2024
Welcome To Mesa West Rotary
Jay Paulus, Mesa West Club President
Jul 25, 2024
The Year Ahead
Colleen Coons
Aug 01, 2024
Mc Kinney Vento
Jenn Duff
Aug 22, 2024
Mesa Councilmember
Upcoming Events
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