President Dan Coons called the meeting together and welcomed everyone attending both in person and via Zoom.  He then recited the 2021-22 Rotary International theme - Serve to Change Lives.  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.
The invocation was offered by Ray Smith, and was followed by Jack Rosenberg leading the Pledge of Allegiance.
Rotary Minute - Dave Brauchler
When inviting someone to attend and/or be a part of our club, it's always good to share what might be in it for them, but it's also impactful to talk about how being a Rotarian has impacted your own life.  
Dave shared a couple of personal stories about how he personally benefited from being a Rotarian.  In 1997, Dave found himself newly divorced and unemployed.  At a Rotary meeting, someone learned of his circumstance and invited Dave to join a new mortgage company that individual was in the process of starting.  He offered to train Dave in the skills and knowledge he would need to get started.  Dave accepted the offer.
Two years later, at another Rotary meeting, someone at another Rotary meeting asked Dave if he could help find financing for a manufacturing project they were working on.  Sox months later, Dave had 108 mortgages on manufactured housing close on the same day.  One that one day, he earned $200,000. 
Dave still specializes in manufactured home financing.
Two meetings impacted his life.  It wasn't why he joined Rotary.  It was because of the connections he made through Rotary.  Connections matter and Rotary is a good place to make connections with others who share your values.
When telling others about Rotary, tell about your "why," and help them find theirs.
Recognition of Greeter - Carla Krzmarik
Introduction of Guests
  • Logan Harper introduced Bob Selinger, a visiting Rotarian of 50 years who is currently a member of the Mesa Rotary Club.  During ten of Bob's 50 years in Rotary, he spent 10 years in Africa building factories.
Ace of Clubs Raffle - Chuck Flint
After briefly explaining how the raffle worked, Chuck and remembering Bob Selinger from Rotary Youth Exchange involvement, Chuck asked Bob to draw the winning raffle ticket.  The ticket drawn was the number held by President Dan Coons, who won $45 and the opportunity to try to draw the Ace of Clubs for a win of $173 or the joker to win an additional $20.  After shuffling the remaining cards in the deck, he drew the three of diamonds which was immediately destroyed.  
Auction Item - Chris Krueger
Chris brought a bag of goodies to be auctioned from her recent trip to St. Kitt, an island in the British West Indies.  One of the items was described as an adult beverage that is only available there.  Pam Cohen started the bidding at $45.  Ron Thompson's bid of $100 was the final and winning bid.  The bag contained a bottle of Shipwreck coconut rum, a shot glass and a cap.
Happy Bucks - Bert Millett
  • Bert's first order of business was to fine himself $100 for The Rotary Foundation.
  • Dick Myren contributed $1 for himself and $1 for Rod Daniels because they are both happy to be connected through the "best Rotary Club in the world."
  • Jack Rosenberg contributed.  He was happy to have gotten his Pfizer booster for their COVID-19 vaccination on August 18.
  • Chris Krueger held up a beautiful glass plate in shades of purple which had been crafted by Jack Rosenberg.  She pledged $100 to the foundation as a way of thanking Jack for the gift.
  • Dave Brauchler contributed celebrating his wife's new job.
  • Warren Williamson contributed, buying the right to tell a story about Pam Cohen.  Pam was waiting at a gate in an airport.  A male passenger waiting at the same gate decided to try to get acquainted with the cute blond.  He sat down next to Pam and asked if she would like to play a game while they waited.  He first told her that if she asked him a question to which he did not know the answer, he would give her $5.  Then he would ask Pam a question and if she didn't know the answer, she would have to pay him $5.  Pam wasn't interested.  The male passenger upped the ante.  If he couldn't answer Pam's question, he would pay her $100, but if she couldn't answer his question, she would still only have to pay $5.  Pam asked what went up the hill on three legs and came down on four.  The male passenger thought for quite a while, and even Googled riddles, but finally had to pay Pam $100 admitting he did not know the answer.  He then asked Pam the same question she had asked him and she immediately gave him $5.
  • Jeanie Morgan pledged $10 to tell about a recent TRVFA grant recipient.  The individual had worked for 28 years in a government job, which she lost because of excessive absenteeism.  Over a period of three years, while she suffered from intestinal issues, she missed an average of fifteen weeks each year.  Eventually, her stomach and some of her intestine were removed.  Her health is restored.  She moved to Arizona to be close to her parents and lost them to COVID within three week of each other.  Her grant will enable her to be certified to be a CNA enabling her to help others as she was helped.
  • John Pennypacker pledged $20 sad dollars.  He was saddened by the loss of Joe Galloway on August 18.  Galloway had been awarded the Bronze Star for valor for his efforts as a correspondent during the war in Viet Nam.
  • Ed Koeneman contributed.  At the Westwood High School Interact meeting August 18, there were 30 present.  A year ago, they only had 7.  He was also happy that their little Susie is settled in her college apartment, though Ed was sad that she is a Wildcat instead of a Sun Devil.
  • Dan Coons had some sad dollars.  Their dishwasher had leaked under their kitchen island resulting in some extensive repairs, so their kitchen was in disarray.  Colleen had ben t-boned by someone on a scooter.  He was happy with Mesa West Rotary and pledged $100 to The Rotary Foundation.
  • Jeane Crouse contributed.  She was sad because a 50 year old elm had been lost to recent storm damage.  She was happy because the tree, which was over 25' tall fell toward the street than into the room of Ray Smith's house.
  • Past President Jim Schmidt, announced that at the District Celebration on July 10, Club President Championship Rings were awarded to Club Presidents who had met certain criteria during their 2020-21 year of service.   President Dan Coons was not in attendance at the event to receive his, so Jim had picked it up on his behalf.  He was glad to be able to present it to Dan so the members could see him receive it.
  • September 23 is the date DG Bret McKeand will make his official visit to Mesa West Rotary.  He wants to meet with members who are new (within the last year) for 30 minutes prior to the meeting, and with the current board of directors immediately following the meeting.
  • Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) originally planned to be held in October at camp Ponderosa has been rescheduled until April due to the recent surge of the Delta variant of COVID-19.
  • There will be a 5th Thursday social event on September 30.  It will be held in the evening at Allan and Polly Cady's new home. It will be a musical evening with eight vocalists performing accompanied by the sister of Ray Smith.  Mesa West is always dark on the 5th Thursday any month when that occurs.  
  • On September 3, Alice Cooper will perform at a grand opening of a new teen center in Mesa - see details in another article in this newsletter.  The event will be free to all who attend.
Program - Eric Sheldahl, Director Midwest Food Bank
Eric Sheldahl grew up on a farm just north of Des Moines, Iowa.  He had a successful career as a real estate developer.  He and his wife Mary came to Phoenix planning to stay for six months to flip houses never knowing they would fall in love with Arizona.
They learned about an organization called Midwest Food Bank that was ranked in the top 10 of 7,000 nonprofits.  They had to learn more.  In 2017, they opened the Arizona Midwest Food Bank in Gilbert.  They began by delivering food at absolutely no cost to thirty agencies, from food pantries to homeless ministries, rehab centers, schools and churches.  In four years, they have grown ten-fold, serving 320 agencies with $64 million worth of food.
To learn more about Midwest Food Bank, go to
Eric knows another individual from Iowa who also has a connection to Mesa West Rotary.  He had hoped Dr. Blessman would be attending the meeting via Zoom.
When his phone says "potential spam" about an incoming call, he answers anywhay.  It may be someone with a rejected load of food that wants to donate it to Midwest Food Bank.  He indicated he has learned to get rid of the spam callers very quickly.
Eric loves the group which was started by three brothers who formerly farmed together.  They started a little food bank in a two-car garage.  When hurricane Katrina struck the gulf coast,  They drove semi trucks filled with food to help when one of the brothers learned the Salvation Army was calling for food, and were told they were praying for ten more loads to be taken to Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  Farmer friends called friends.  Over a year and a half, they delivered 167 loads.
Their efforts caught a lot of attention.  
Midwest Food Bank was noticed by Eric and Mary as being ranked highly with Charity Navigator with very low overhead of 2.25%.  He and Mary sent a small donation in January, 2016, and received a thank-you card.  
When directors of Midwest Food Bank travel on business, they pay their own travel expenses.  
Last year, shortly after everything changed because of the pandemic, they feared everything would dry up.  They received a call from a credit union wanting to contribute $50,000 and requesting wiring instructions.  Later in the program - when asked - Eric said it was a miracle.  The wire was sent the next day.  Food that had been intended for restaurants was donated to them.  
The Papago National Guard unit provided staff to help.
In 2020, they delivered $18.7 million worth of food.  Last year, that grew to $66.5 million with 60,000 volunteer hours.
Eric is President of the local Board of Directors and serves as a director on the national Board.
They have hauled food to serve victims of the California wildfires.
Among the many agencies they serve is 7th Street Food Pantry.
They have also provided more than food.  They have accepted and distributed other goods such as clothing and tablets.
Eric shared that the number of agencies they serve is down from 350 to 300 today.  He said many have closed.
When the City of Mesa shut down their Parks and Recreation activities as a precautionary measure related to the pandemic, they kept the employees on the payroll and redeployed them to help with the food distribution center that was set up at the Mesa Convention Center.  None of the employees were happy about their new assignment in the beginning, but they had tears when their assignment ended.  Some are still volunteers.