President-Elect Pam Cohen opened the meeting introducing herself and explaining that President Dan Coons and our First Lady Colleen Coons were enjoying a well-deserved vacation.  She recited the 2021-22 Rotary International Theme - Serve to Change Lives, followed by 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
Wendell Jones was asked to offer the invocation.  Shelly Romine led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Introduction of Guests
  • Wendell Jones, who was attending his first meeting following a 3 1/2 week honeymoon introduced his bride, Sandra Jones, adding that Sandra has already participated in one Mesa West Rotary service project.
  • Chris Krueger introduced Dayna Gustke, a visiting Rotarian from Tempe Downtown Rotary Club.  Chris couldn't resist the chance to celebrate the Phoenix Suns' win on July 6 in their first game of the NBA finals against the Milwaukee Bucks.
  • Guests attending via Zoom were Penny May and Dr. Jim Blessman, one of our speakers.
Ace of Clubs Raffle - Chuck Flint
The holder of the ticket drawn would be slated to win $45, and a chance to draw the Ace of Clubs from the few cards left in the deck.  Dayne Gustke was asked to draw the winning ticket, which was held by Pam Cohen.  Pam's luck held out as she shuffled and decided which card to draw, which turned out to be the Ace of Clubs, making her the surprised and proud winner of  $1,837 which had accumulated in the big pot.  It was the first time since May 9, 2019 that the big pot had been won.  Next week, Chuck - and raffle participants - will be playing with a full deck.  
Pam asked Don LaBarge to tell about the time he won the big pot when he was just a prospective member.  At that time, the goal was to draw the Queen of Hearts.  When he did, he found out that he would become a Paul Harris Fellow, but had no idea what that was.  He felt somewhat pressured to become a member after being the big winner...
Pam explained that the reason there were chocolates on the table was that July 8 was National Chocolate and Almond day.
Jeane Crouse - Word Power
  • Five-second way to remember the names of the Great Lakes.  Along the shores of the Great Lakes, are beautiful homes:
    • H - Huron
    • O - Ontario
    • M - Michigan
    • E - Erie
    • S - Superior
  • She asked if anyone knew what "scud" meant.  John Pennypacker said that was what pilots call clouds.  Dave Brauchler said it was a Russian-made missile.  Meaning - anything that moves fast in a straight line.
  • July 8 is National Scud Day - Savor the Comic Unplug the Drama Day:  Annually on July 8, people across the country celebrate National Savor the Comic, Unplug the Drama Day, also known as National SCUD Day.  This day was created as a day to put aside any and all of the drama in your life and learning more about working and living with humor and laughter and living in drama-free zones.  On July 8, step back and enjoy relaxation and humor and then watch the physical and mental benefits that you will receive from it.
Special Recognition - John Pennypacker
  • Wendell Jones was recognized for the fine job he did managing the Program Committee in 2020-21.  Wendell was presented his Paul Harris Plus Three pin.
  • Lola McClane served on the Program Committee in addition to her Club Secretary duties.  John said that the programs Lola personally brought to the club were some of the finest he had seen in Rotary - they were "fabulous."  Lola received her first Paul Harris recognition in style with a traditional certificate and medallion in addition to her pin.
  • District Celebration July 10 at the Wigwam Resort - Luncheon, awards, installation of 2021-22 District Governor Bret McKeand.  Celebrate the accomplishments of , now PDG, Elizabeth Mahoney.
  • Community Service Project - July 17 at the YMCA - paint a room used by their youth program.
Happy Bucks - Bert Millett
  • Lola McClane asked to be billed $75 for her birthday.  When she was out on a lake on July 3, she thought all the fireworks were for her birthday!
  • John Pennypacker contributed saying he had learned why the staff at Ron Thompson's dental office was always so happy.  John had arrived early for his appointment which was first thing in the morning and he heard someone say that everyone was in a cuddle in the back office.
  • Chris Krueger contributed - happy to have travelled to Nebraska for the 4th of July and very much enjoyed time with her children and grandbabies.  She suggested that John might need a hearing professional in addition to a dentist.  She believed the word John heard as "cuddle" was more likely "huddle."
  • Ron Thompson contributed.  He and Toni had travelled to Nebraska with the Kruegers and had a lot of fun with them and their family while there.  There was also some attempt to make light of the cuddle vs. huddle terminology confusion relating to the morning meetings he has with his staff.
  • Dick Myren contributed $10, saying he had been negligent.  Seeing honorary member Rod Daniels at the July 1 celebration reminded him that he had vowed to contribute $1 every week on Rod's behalf because they both think Mesa West is the best Rotary Club in the world.
  • Shelly Romine contributed $100 to the Mesa West Rotary Foundation as an unrestricted donation to show her appreciation of being recognized by President Dan as Rotarian of the Year in 2020-21.
  • Jim Erickson contributed $50, voicing his appreciation of the home club banner honoring him.  The primary reason for the $50 amount was that he and Maryann would be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary over the weekend.
  • Ed Koeneman contributed - he was happy we are now under 900 days until the next Star Wars movie will be released.
  • Bob Zarling contributed.  He was wearing his new Rotary Shirt.  He had debated whether to wear it or his Milwaukee Bucks shirt.  Several thought he should be fined for owning a the Milwaukee Bucks shirt.
  • Don LaBarge reported he has recently hired Rod Daniels to help his company get caught up.  He also complained about how some prices have gone up ridiculous amounts.  He was given a quote of $6,000 to haul a piece of equipment from South Dakota to Arizona, when he was expecting a quote closer to $3,000.  He said the equipment isn't even worth that much.  Don was going to drive to South Dakota and pick it up himself.
  • Jim Schmidt contributed saying he and Rosalyn had recently enjoyed a wonderful vacation with their 36 kids and grandkids celebrating their 44th wedding anniversary.
  • Pam Cohen contributed $10 for her trip to Nebraska over the July 4 holiday weekend.  She also celebrated her raffle win by pledging $1,000 to support the Aqua Africa project.
Program - Introduced by Bob Zarling
Bob began by saying he would be introducing two doctors:
Lee Holmes - Lee originated from Griswold Iowa.  He was a 1975 graduate of the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.  He and 17 other veterinarians owned and operated three veterinary hospitals in the greater Des Moines area.  He founded the Iowa Veterinary Medical Emergency and Referral Center of Central Iowa, where he served as CEO.  Lee joined the Rotary Club of Waukee in 1999, where he served in many club positions.  He is now retired and enjoys having more time for golf, hiking, exploring the Superstition Mountains and traveling with his wife, Roberta.  Lee enjoys doing anything related to Rotary.  He served as an Assistant Governor in District 6000 in Iowa and is currently serving in that capacity for District 5495.  Lee now serves on the Board of Directors for Blessman International and has led numerous Rotary-based groups to South Africa.  His gnext group will be going in October, 2021, if COVID-19 is under control.
Dr. Jim Blessman, MD - Dr. Blessman received his Medical Degree from the University of Iowa in 1972.  He is board certified in Family Practice and Pain Management.  He practiced medicine in Iowa for 28 years.  He founded the first hospital based pain center in Iowa in 1977.  He founded Free Clinics of Iowa.  25 free clinics have been operating throughout central Iowa for the past thirty years.  Dr. Blessman has travelled the world to over seventy countries doing short-term medical mission trips.  He became a full-time medical missionary in 2001.  He established Blessman International in 2001, and established the Blessman International base in South Africa in 2004.  He and his wife have a personal home in South Africa and reside there seven out of twelve months. 
  • Their nutritional program is feeding 60,000 children in South Africa five days each and every week. 
  • Their water and sanitation projects have drilled 31 wells and constructed 220 new toilets to replace dangerous pit toilets in South Africa.
  • A project partnering with Rotary is one where they own and operate a 150-acre training and research farm that supplements their nutritional program and operates a training program to train Africans to farm with excellence.  
  • Blessman International, in partnership with four local African Rotary Clubs have written and received 4 successful global grants averaging $150,000 each.
  • Blessman International hosts an annual Rotary service team to South Africa with the next trip to depart October 7 of this year.  This will be their 4th Rotary team.
  • Blessman International has 40 employees in South Africa and 8 employees in Iowa.
  • In a typical non-COVID year, Blessman International hosts 11-12 short-term service/mission trips each year with over 1100 people having experienced these service trips over the past eight years.
Bob Zarling travelled to South Africa on the last trip Lee organized.  Ron Thompson and Toni may be going on the next one.  When Lee was first asked to go on one of the trips, he asked, "Why me?"  He was still a Rotarian in Iowa, a founding member of a club he helped found.  When Dr. Blessman offered the trip to South Africa, lee decided to go.  On that trip, there were three Past District Governors, one District Governor and one District Governor Elect.  Lee was an AG at the time.  As a vet, his primary attraction was to see the animals.  He said it was an incredible experience.  By 2015, they had drilled 31 wells and all were running well.  The entire area where they are is extremely poor.  They have a 72% unemployment rate.  For many of the children they feed, both parents are gone to try to find work.  The children are being raised by grannies.  Blessman International helps every way possible.
A huge problem is that toilets there are terrible.  Many have broken seats.  There is a terrible stench, and spiders and other insects are to be expected. Girls frequently drop out of school because of the privacy and safety issues of the toilets that need to be replaced. 
Blessman International has built over 250 toilets to replace the dangerous old ones.  They are good at it, and construction of the new toilets provides jobs in the local area.  To meet the need they build environmentally friendly, waterless, safe toilets known as Enviro-Loos.  The toilets operate without water.  The mechanical parts of the toilets and lights, etc. are operated by solar energy.  They have a guaranteed life of at least 50 years to not leak or polute the ground water.  The sun cooks the material, and the fans move the air and withdraw the odor.  They are clean, There are no insects.  The materials removed from the toilets are able to safely be used for compost. 
Blessman International is currently in the process of looking for a Rotary Club in the United States to be the international partner in a Global Grant project to build more Enviro-Loos.  A club in South Africa has already started the documentation for the grant application.  They are trying to find a club in the US which is not only a willing partner, but is in a district which provides the best fund-matching opportunity to make donated dollars go as far as possible.  The club they choose may not have a big financial obligation to get involved, as Blessman International will direct donors to donate through the club so their donations can be matched in the Global Grant process.
The Mesa West Rotary Board was introduced to the concept at a recent board meeting.  The board did not want to make a decision without the club having heard about the project.
After hearing the presentation, Pam Cohen committed another $500 of her raffle winnings specifically for the Enviro-Loo project.