As has become customary, President Dan Coons opened the Zoom platform at 11:15 so members and guests could enjoy casual conversation prior to the formal start of the meeting at Noon.
 
Steve Ross was happy to report that he was recovering well from the hand and wrist surgery he had recently experienced.  He said he had asked the doctor to put something in there that would give him a couple extra yards on his golf drives, but he won't be testing that for a while.
 
Chris Krueger had missed our meeting the prior week.  She wanted to spend as much time as possible with her son, his wife and two children and her daughter-in-law's brother, his wife, and their two children while they were vacationing in Arizona.  Pam Cohen was happy that she and her daughter, son-in-law and Wilder were able to spend time with Chris and Mike and their visitors.
 
It was apparent there were lots of people on the call who were originally or at one time were mid-westerners.
 
Jack Rosenberg was happy to announce his long-awaited kiln had arrived.  He has fifteen new pieces of jewelry ready to fire.  In telling about the delivery, it became clear that he was likely going to need to pay someone to do some heavy lifting to get the kiln installed.  Rotarians to the rescue.  Robin Harris, Erwin Reimann, volunteered, and Chris said Mike would likely be willing to help as well.  Numbers were being exchanged to coordinate the time and date of the final installation.
 
The back story about the kiln was that Cindy had ordered it for Jack on December 2.  Several times, calls were made to try to discover where it was and it would be found sitting in the middle of a warehouse somehow not getting into the trucks that would bring it to Arizona.  It finally arrived March 24.
 
Jack had recently discovered he had been the victim of fraud and reminded everyone to carefully check their statements.
 
Call Meeting to Order - President Dan Coons
President Dan 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
 
Thought for the Day - Carla Krcmarik
From Life's Little Instruction Book by H. Jackson Brown, Jr., "Pray not for things, but for wisdom and courage."  The rest of what Carla had intended to say (had she not been having audio difficulties) was, "The members of the Rotary are so amazing, thoughtful and giving that I am reminded when I am in their presence that 'Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.'"
 
Erwin Reimann - Rotary Minute
Erwin shared some information about the early beginnings of Rotary.  Most Rotarians know that the original founder of Rotary is Paul Harris.  Paul grew up in the country, raised by his grandparents.  After he was trained as an attorney, he spent five years traveling around the United States and Europe doing odd jobs to support himself.  In 1895, he started his legal career in Chicago.   After dinner on day, he and a friend walked around visiting different businesses and their owners.  Paul enjoyed it enough he thought he would enjoy making that sort of interaction a regular thing.  By the 3rd year, it was operating pretty smoothly.  They rotated meeting locations, officer positions, and - originally - membership was intended to rotate - too with every member having to earn their renewal each year.
 
Three years later, when Paul Harris was President, he thought it would be a good idea to expand Rotary to other cities and add a goal of fellowship and a goal of doing good - doing projects.  They first expanded to San Francisco.  A fellow in San Francisco was instrumental in getting it going in California.  Homer Wood also helped get Rotary started in Oakland, Seattle and Los Angeles.  By 1910 quite a few clubs were interested in making it a national organization.  There were a total of fourteen clubs when they united.  One of the attendees at their first National Convention of the Rotary Clubs of America was Daniel Cady.  Erwin wondered if Daniel Cady and our own Mesa West member, Allan Cady, had any common ancestry.  The first club outside the United States began in Winnipeg, Canada in 1910.  It became affiliated with the National Association of Rotary Clubs and in 1912, a charter was signed and Rotary International was formed. 
 
Erwin said he had learned all this on the internet.  On the RI website, he learned that Paul Harris wrote three books.  Two are available on the internet.  He downloaded one and read it, and found it very enjoyable reading.  CLICK HERE to read the rest of what Erwin downloaded to prepare for his Rotary Minute presentation.
 
Happy Bucks - Greg Okonowski
  • Jack Rosenberg pledged $10 because he was happy to finally receive the new kiln Cindy had ordered for him in December.  In their home, they name significant belongings and the kiln's name is Mordecai.
  • Lola McClane pledged $10 - she enjoyed painting at the 7th Street Food Pantry.
  • Colleen Coons fined herself $20 for causing Dan to rush home from the Pantry to "save her."  Colleen had been on a ladder cleaning windows and fell face first into their travertine floor, giving herself a black eye suffering significant embarrassment for failing to show up for the service project at the 7th Street Food Pantry.  Dan did a good job of caring for her.
  • Lucinda General pledged $20 happy bucks on behalf of Wayne General.  $10 because his Alma Mater, Loyola, was a contender at March Madness for the 2nd time in ten years.  The other $10 was because their unofficial mascot who led them into the arena was 101-year-old Sister Jean.
  • Erwin Reimann fined himself $5 for forgetting a significant point of his presentation:  A member of the original club, Harry Ruggles was a very moral man.  He detested off-color language, malicious innuendo and classless humor.  At an evening meeting a little more after Rotary had been formed, the guest speaker began a story.  Having heard it before, Harry also had heard the off-color ending, and felt it was inappropriate for the club, so he jumped up in the middle of the joke and yelled, "Come on boys, let's sing!"  He then led the club in the singing of "Let Me Call You Sweetheart."
  • John Pennypacker pledged $50 to honor his son's 50th birthday.  He pointed out that his Zoom background was his collection of 16 Rotary ties.  Four were from Rotary International presidents.
  • Robin Harris pledged $10 to celebrate his and Debbie's 48th wedding anniversary.
  • Pam Cohen pledged $5.  She was happy she was able to work at the Pantry.  When she looked at the Saturday schedule - everyone was either a new or prospective member.  She decided to sign up so she could get acquainted with them.  
  • Shelly Romine pledged $10 for all the fine support for the project at the Pantry and had a big shout-out for Carla Krcmarik for her second day of volunteering.
  • Dan Coons pledged $20.  He was glad Colleen is okay.  He was very impressed with the super hero work skills demonstrated by Jim Schmidt as he was removing tile from the old floor at the Pantry.  Dan thanked everyone who showed up to help.
  • Colleen Coons pledged another $5.  She's been watching the Marvel series, and said that from what Dan told her about Jim Schmidt, he is our Captain America.
  • Jim Schmidt pledged $10 for the compliments.
  • Greg Okonowski thanked the club for the blessing of the project.  
  • Chris Krueger adores the 7th Street Food Pantry.  Hearing about the project made her heart full.  She has helped there from her work.  She hoped Greg would tell Ginger she was sorry she was unable to attend.  She simply couldn't leave her dad.  As District Membership Chair, hearing issues other clubs are having with membership, with meetings, etc., she clearly knows what a blessing Mesa West Rotary club is.  She adores all of her fellow members for their engagement and willingness.  She feels honored to be a part of this club.
  • Jeanie Morgan pledged $10 to thank Greg Okonowski for the investment he made when he pledged $50 if Juli Kelly would submit a membership application.  He'll see that charge on his next dues invoice since Juli is now a member.
  • Carla Krcmarik pledged $10.  She was happy to have participated in the painting project - Greg added Carla even painting ceilings.
  • Ray Smith pledged $10 for our two new members $5 for the one who improved the good looks of the club and the other $5 for putting Robin down.
  • Pam Cohen noted that when she was President, Ron Thompson and Greg Okonowski and eleven others joined Mesa West in one big batch.  She is happy for the two wonderful, dedicated members who stuck around.  She also noted that within the past few months we have added our shortest (Carla Krcmarik) and tallest (Dan Lamborn) members to our roster.
  • Melodie Jackson pledged $5 because she was sad that the farmers market where she has been spending her Saturdays has closed for the summer, but added $5 happy dollars for the fact that she would not have to be there anymore.
Announcements
  • Shelly Romine announced that plans are progressing for our club's involvement in the statewide Rotary Week of Service. Mesa West will be partnering with the Gilbert Rotary Club to raise funds to put together shower kits to be used at Paz de Cristo to help our homeless.  The Mesa Rotary Club may also join in the effort.  Mesa west has paid $2,000 to purchase items for the kits.  Details of when and where kits will be assembled are being worked out.  It might also be possible to have supplies available so members can assemble kits at home.  
  • Shelly also reminded members of the opportunity to tour the newly Mesa-West renewed 7th Street Food Pantry at Noon Friday, March 26.  She also wanted to applaud Don LaBarge who organized the project, was there every day and worked as hard or harder than anybody.
  • Hybrid meetings will start Thursday, April 1.  Safety precautions will need to be followed while at the meeting.  Every effort will be made to involve those who elect to attend the meeting via Zoom.
  • Dan Coons reminded members that there is more in the Messenger than a rehash of the meeting and encouraged them to scan through and discover any news they might not be aware of.
  • Pam Cohen explained that the meal at the Doubletree would be plated and the hotel would need an accurate meal count.   It will be essential that those who plan to attend in person make reservations by Monday of each week.  CLICK HERE to send Pam an e-mail if you plan to attend April 8.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Program - Panel Discussion by Past District Governors Moderated by President Dan Coons
 
Dan began by saying that when he first joined Rotary, a Distirct Governor came to his club for their official visit.  The governor met with their board the night before.  When introduced at the club meeting, the DG was given a standing ovation and got a free meal.  To him it looked like a pretty good gig.  He later learned it was an 80-hour-a-week job with zero compensation.
 
Participating in the panel were Tom Yuzer, who led District 5960 in 1996-97, Lucinda General led District 5510 in 2005-06, Jeanie Morgan led District 5490 in 2009-10, and John Pennypacker led District 5510 in 2014-15.
 
The first question posed to the Panel was why - what led them to serve as District Governor.
  • Lucinda said she was the only District Governor where the members in the district had to learn her name twice.  She went through a divorce that year.  She said that next to the merger of Districts 5510 and 5490, it was the most significant thing she has accomplished in her life.  It was an opportunity to better the state of Rotary in our district.  She said the clubs are awesome.  It's the people that make it work.  It works best when the focus stays on service and fellowship.
  • Tom said he put his hat in the ring because after ten years of service to the district he was told it was his turn to encourage other people to enjoy Rotary.  He had only been in Rotary two years when he went to India as a GSE team leader.  He felt he had a lot to pay back.  District 5960 covers eastern Minnesota and Western Wisconsin.  His goal was to help Rotarians understand why the need to support The Rotary Foundation.
  • John said Greg Podd was the first person to ask him to consider being a candidate following Greg's district conference.  The second person was Allan Haver who asked John to go to a Zone Institute at Palm Springs as a Special Invited Guest.   John said he drank enough of the Kool-Aid at the Institute that he decided to do it.  He said the clubs in the district ranged from four members to 150, and was amazed at what small clubs can do.  He said he never worked less than sixty hours, and still does Rotary at all hours of the day and night.  He said it is important to answer e-mails within 24 hours.  The Rotary Foundation is what got him more than anything.  After he lost his wife, he had a lot more time on his hands.  Rotary filled that time with fellowship and he is thankful for that.  It made him want to just keep going.
  • Jeanie said she had never aspired to be District Governor.  She one day had a call from a PDG who was on the District Nominating Committee and he was concerned about the lack of quality applicants for the position.  She was told that she was known and respected by many in the district for the role she had played as Registrar and Treasurer for RYLA Pinerock.  She asked her husband what he thought and Al thought it would be fun to travel the district with her and encouraged her to apply.  Much to her surprise, she was selected.  Unfortunately, Al had several surgeries the year she served as District Governor and only traveled with her to her district conference which was held at the Grand Canyon.
  • Lucinda added that her Rotary friends helped her through the emotional stuff she went through during her year plus they ate her asparagus (which she hates).  Pam Cohen was her Plus 1 at the Governors Ball.
What was your biggest challenge?
  • John said it was abundantly clear that membership was a huge problem - not only in District 5510 but also in 5490 and 5500.  He felt like his district 5510 took the brunt of the hit on that.  Clubs were bringing in new members, but retention was a problem.  Constantly, weekly, or more frequently he was bombarded with pressure on membership.
  • Tom could not remember anything significant other than just trying to stay ahead of all the activity.  The chartered six or seven new clubs during his year. He was working full time.  Fortunately his district had an executive secretary that handled a lot of the time-consuming paperwork.
  • Jon remembered a memorable moment.  At the joint district conference with District 5490 the incident involved  Cathy Rahl a Rotarian dignitary from Melbourne Australia.  A young man who had been the recipient of a grant from The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona (TRVFA) was about to speak and tell his story.  At the moment he was to start his presentation, he froze.  He couldn't breath.  Cathy got up on stage and said, "Now, where were we here?  He gave a great presentation.  That kind of person is what makes the effort worth while.
  • Jeanie said her biggest challenge was managing her club visitations, DG responsibilities around her schedule at work and to be home with Al to be present for his surgeries and during his initial days of recovery.  Fortunately, his surgeries all went well even though he did not receive the full attention most men would have felt they deserved.  He was presented a certificate at her district conference for being "/The loneliest man in District 5490."
What training was there to prepare you for the position of District Governor?
  • Lucinda said that a relatively new opportunity is Governor Nominee Training Seminar which has been added a year prior to the Governor Elect Training Seminar.  Both are now held during the Zone Institute with their classmates from the same geographic region. in the fall before the next class of governors take office.  The final really big training happens at the International Assembly where all 530 DGE's from the entire world gather for training and inspiration.   In 2020-21, the Zone Institute and the International Assembly were all held virtually.
  • Tom said that even with all the training, you are encouraged to do it your way.  He enjoyed lots of mentoring from past district governors.  He met with them every quarter.  Continuity is important.
  • John said that his class from 2014-15 continues to have virtual meetings monthly and those meetings include the Zone Director who led them during their year.  John also mentioned that you build a relationship with the District Governor you follow.  He followed Sherry Mischel.  John said there are times as DG that you need to vent, and you need to vent to a person you really trust.
  • Jeanie thanked Lucinda for being there for her when she needed a perspective that was not biased.
Is a a memory of a particular highlight during your year?
  • Tom shared a special project their district did during his year.  The Red River of the North often floods in spring.  The year efore he was Governor there was a very bad flood.  Most people in that part of the country have homes with basements.  Most families have boxes of holiday decorations in their basements.  They did a project where they made up boxes of holiday decorations to give to families who lost their in the flood.  Each box contained one special ornament and a note from the person who gave it.  He said they received some very touching thank-you letters.
  • John's initiation into his DG duties was to be a pooper scooper in the Springerville Arizona 4th of July Parade.  John enjoyed introducing Barry Goldwater, Jr. at his district conference.  Both generations had attended the same military prep school that John had attended.  The school was not supposed to be political or religious, but when John learned Barry, Jr. had dated girls from Stewart Hall while at the academy, John knew he was an Episcopal because Stewart Hall was a hall for the Episcopal girls school across from the academy.
  • Lucinda said that following the RI Convention held in Chicago in June, 2005, Gary Whiting, who preceded her as DG, had said he was done.  A plane crash in Long Island Sound took out to key Rotarians from our District.  Katrina happened during her year.  The district paid for the hauling of animals isolated by the storm.  Later they gave that truck driver a Paul Harris Fellow.  She said a lesson learned was that disputes can occur, and when egos are involved, sometimes you have to take action make adjustments within your team so the district doesn't have to live with the unpleasant fallout.
  • Jeanie said her highlight was her district conference at the Grand Canyon.  PRIP Frank Devlin was there.  They had very good presentations about some really good projects accomplished by clubs in the district.  Attendees were treated to tours of lookout points on the canyon rim.  A Friday night opening event featured a traditional Mexican dance group from Phoenix, and she was told the chandeliers were shaking in the dining room under the second-floor ballroom.  The best moment was when Willie Wheeler, spouse of PDG George Wheeler made it a point to tell Jeanie that she had never been at a Rotary event, including all the RI zone and international events she had attended over the years, where she witnessed such passion for Rotary. 
Pam Cohen said that being reminded of Hurricane Katrina made her think of Frank Rosenberg who went to the scene to volunteer as a nurse on the front lines, and suggested that might made for a great program in the future.
 
President Dan noted that Don LaBarge and Ted Williams are also past district governors, but are not Zoom fans, and there might be another similar panel discussion for a future meeting where they can present in-person.  Someone suggested that we might want to wait until PDG Jim Erickson makes good on his spoken intention to one day transfer his membership to Mesa West.
 
Jim Schmidt has had some recent contact with the current DG line, and is very impressed with how connected they are.   He said kudos are deserved by those who have paved the way in the past and he has great hopes for the future.  
 
Tom congratulated Mesa West on being a great Club
 
President Dan closed saying it is easy to be President with so much support all around him.