President Chris Krueger opened the meeting with Lucinda General offering the invocation and Jack Rosenberg leading the Pledge of Allegiance.  Ray Smith led Rotarians and guests in singing what he deemed the "Salvation Army theme song" - Silver Bells.
 
Guests
Frank Rosenberg introduced his wife, Amanda.  Lolita Weisner, a regular seasonal visiting Rotarian returned for her first meeting of the 2018-19 season and introduced her husband, Hans.  Carole Kralicek returned after being away for the summer and introduced her partner, Karl.  Don LaBarge introduced his wife, Chris stating she was a Lions Club member.  Bert Millett introduced James Christensen.  Bob Jensen introduced Dr. Mai Ly Duong.  Robert Smethurst, was a repeat Rotarian visitor from Bellingham, Washington.  Erwin and Joan Reimman, Rotarians repeat visitors from South Dakota, were introduced by Wendell Jones who highlighted that they had brought their grandson Tony who is training for the Triathlon in the Olympics with them to our meeting. 
 
Drawings
The numbered chips were missing, so no attendance drawing was held.  Chuck Flint announced that the weekly raffle winner would receive $33 and have a chance to draw the Ace of Clubs and win the accumulating pot, which was up to $274.00.  Erwin Reimman drew ticket number 444, which was held by Don LaBarge, who said he was on a lucky streak and had done fairly well on a recent casino trip.  He did draw a club, but it was only the six.  Don LaBarge was asked to introduce his guest, who had been overlooked earlier.  Don introduced Tom Bradford, a prospective member who is in the insurance business and a former member of the Kyrene Rotary Club.  Chuck Flint then explained our Buck Board, which raises money for The Rotary Foundation and gives Rotarians and guests who choose to purchase squares on the board a chance to win Paul Harris recognition for a $1,000 donation given to The Rotary Foundation in their name.
 
Happy Bucks
Ted Williams contributed.  He was happy to have been inducted into Rotary 45 years ago on December 13, 1973.  In January, he will turn 73.  The coincidence of the number 73 in his life this year was clearly noted.  He was very sentimental as he shared highlights of his Rotary experience, which has clearly enriched his quality of life.  Darl Andersen contributed recognizing the philanthropic spirit of Chuck Flint who was leaving the next day for his annual trip to Mexico to deliver personal and household items which are badly needed and much appreciated in the area he visits.  Jeanie Morgan paid happy dollars in appreciation for the appeal letter for donations to The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona which went out via snail mail and e-mail to all Rotarians in the state.  She was also happy to report that Warren Williamson of Mesa West Rotary was the first Rotarian in the state to donate on line after the electronic version of the letter went out at 7:00 AM on Wednesday, December 12.  Dick Myren was happy to report that a package left by he and his wife at the self checkout station in Walmart was found by a store employee and turned in to the customer service station in the store.  Everything they were missing was still in the bag.  Pam Cohen contributed for a very enjoyable time of Hanukkah celebration with her daughter, granddaughter and step granddaughter in Flagstaff.  Lucinda was happy to explain that the old Rotary photos in the December 12 Messenger were taken of her and Pam in 2002 when Greg Podd was preparing to serve as District Governor.  Carole Kralicek was happy to be back, but announced that she has moved to Apache Junction and would be transferring to the Superstition Mountain Rotary Club.  Allan and Polly Cady were happy to be in town and able to attend the meeting.  Don LaBarge was happy to report that Chris is not a Lion.  He also announced that he had several bell ringing shifts still needing to be filled and would be passing the list around at the meeting hoping members would sign up to fill some of those vacancies.  Warren Williamson explained that he had not purchased a raffle ticket since the meeting was on the 13th.  He explained that in Asia, the number 4 is like 13 is to the superstitious in the US.  He said that if he had gone home with winnings from a raffle ticket numbered 444 drawn on the 13th, that his wife, Son Hee, would not have let him in the door.   PDG Terry Cowan, a member of The E-Club, was happy to be at our meeting.

New Member Induction
Dr. Mai Ly Duong, a professor of Special Needs Dentistry at A.T.Still University was introduced by her sponsor, Jeanie Morgan, with Bob Jensen who has already gotten acquainted with and explored ideas with about expanding the Gift of Hearing project to possibly include oral health.  Jeanie has known Mai Ly for many years.  They met at RYLA, Camp Pinerock when Mai Ly was a delegate, and Jeanie was registrar and treasurer for the camp.  Mai Ly returned as a Junior Counsellor, then returned as part of the RYLA volunteer camp staff - which she continues to be a part of to this day.  Mai Ly is transferring to Mesa West Rotary from the Glendale West Rotary Club.  She is working on building interest in and will be soon starting a Rotaract club at A.T.Still, which Mesa West is committed to sponsor.  After letting Mai Ly take the podium for a short self-introduction where she shared the impact her Rotary connection has made in her life, a club member was overheard remarking, somewhat awestruck, about her obvious enthusiasm.
 
Sponsorship Program Kickoff
Allan Cady reminded members that in 2017-18, an idea of Past President John Eagleston was implemented to raise funds for our projects by soliciting sponsors rather than having a fundraising event.  The goal had been to raise $30,000.  A successful first year netted $40,000.  It is now time to kick off the 2nd annual sponsorship program.  $14,500 has all ready been raised with three pledges.  The solicitation brochure has been updated to include the Aqua Africa event to the international projects option in the brochure.  The event will awareness of the need as well as raise funds install clean water systems in communities in South Sudan, Africa where women now have to walk for miles daily to find water for their families.  Materials will also be provided to help Rotarians go back to donors they had successfully solicited gifts from last year and ask them to renew their support.
 
Announcement
Dick Myron had received an e-mail from Fred Scott, a Canadian Rotarian who frequently visited Mesa West when he came south for the winter.  Dick shared the e-mail, but Messenger readers will have to CLICK HERE to read it.
 
Surprise TRF Recognition
Greg Podd was invited to the podium to make a special presentation.  He invited Don and Chris LaBarge to join him and announced that, thanks to an anonymous donor, they qualify to be recognized as Major Donors to The Rotary Foundation.  To qualify for Paul Harris recognition, points can be transferred until a Rotarian has accumulated $1,000 in cash donations and/or transferred recognition points.  To qualify as a Major Donor, a total of $10,000 in cash donations has to accumulate.  When a married Rotarian reaches that status, their spouse is also included in the recognition since that much dedication and commitment occurs with the help and support of their life partner.  To have an anonymous donor help Don and Chris bridge that final gap to this prestigious recognition says a great deal about the respect Don and Chris have from those who are aware of the contributions they have both made to the success of club and district projects.  Congratulations to our newest Major TRF Donors, Don and Chris LaBarge!  For a brief period of time, Don LaBarge was speechless.
 
 
 
 
Program
Don LaBarge was invited to introduce his long-time friend in Rotary, Greg Podd, as the speaker.  Don noted that there was a printed resume about Greg on each of the tables (CLICK HERE to read it) but that was an abbreviated version.  Don let a computer print-out drop to the floor with the full introduction, which he was prepared to share.  Instead he just went over highlights - Greg is a past president of Phoenix Camelback Rotary.  In 2003-04, he served as District 5510 District Governor.  He has served on the RI Finance Committee and on the Investment Finance Committee.  He has been an RI Major Gifts Advisor.  Greg and his wife Pam are members of the Arch Klumpf Society (donors who have given $250,000 or more to The Rotary Foundation).  He has served as Zone Director, serving as such on the RI Board of Directors.  He was Vice President of RI in 2016.  He has been involved in training Rotary Leaders at Zone Institutes and the International Assembly. But Greg was not at the meeting to talk about Rotary.  He was there to tell about his climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
 
Greg began his presentation with "So hard to do, easy to say, sometimes just walk away.  Just to get there, he had to ride 29 hours traveling over 10,000 miles.  He showed a photo of airport security at the final destination.  What was clear in the photo was that there was no security.
 
The organizer of the trip was Simon Mtuy.  He holds the world record of 9 hours and 20 minutes to the top.  He ran up and down.  He is a Rotarian and is president of his club this year.  During the trip, Simon ran home to have dinner with his wife and kids.
 
The team that supported the 12 climbers consisted of 49 sherpas who earned $5/day and carried 65 pounds on their head and back - and being a sherpa is one of the best jobs there.
 
On January 28, 2017, they started at 5,600' elevation and would eventually reach 19,240'  In six days, they would travel 43.2 miles and go up 13,740 feet from their starting elevation.  When a human reaches 10,000' elevation, their body starts to adapt.  At over 15,000' the changes are dramatic.  At 19,340', only 50% of human oxygen needs are being met.  Only 46% of those who try actually make it.  On summit day, they would climb 4,000' in elevation in one day.  Six days to go up, two days to go down.
 
Their home for eight days was a small tent at night.  Each morning, they had to stick their fingers out of their tent to be checked for their oxygen levels.  Anyone who did not pass had to go back.  They did not have showers.  They did have small wash basins to use for their personal hygiene.  Greg's tent-mate was Curt Harris.  It was Curt's 4th time to make the trek.
 
The weather changed constantly.  The trail was rough.  It would have been impossible without guides.  The temperatures ranged from 18° at night to close to 100° in the daytime.  The beauty was amazing and the dangers were real.  They drank the local stream water after it had been boiled.
 
All the sherpas speak English.  They become friends with the climbers.  They sang all the way up the mountain. 
 
On summit day, the climbers were awakened at midnight.  it was 18° with a slight wind.  They needed to get to the top by 8:00 AM  They had 15 minutes to stay, then would HAVE to go down.  It is not safe to stay longer.  At the top - Stella Point, there is no plant life.  There is trash, ashes, and flags.
 
Greg says he may not do it again.  His wife retired his boots.  He prepared by hiking in Arizona and in Colorado.  He has done a lot of 14,000 peaks.  He thinks Yoga helped him learn how to breathe and thinks that was a big factor in his ability to make it.  They were told they had to drink 2 liters of water each day.  Greg drank five liters each day.  He believes that was another thing that enabled his success.  
 
Greg's son went in June, 2017.  The youngest to ever make it was eight years old.  Last year, an 87-year-old couple made it.  When asked Greg said the cost is about $3,000 plus the cost of the flight.
 
He said it is associated with a Rotary event - Africa Aid - where they educate 4,000 girls each year.  They take the top six girls to the top.