President-Elect Jim Schmidt opened the meeting by asking Greg Okonowski to offer the invocation and Bob Zarling to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.  He noted that Steve Ross had served as greeter making everyone feel warmly welcomed.
Special Guest Introduced
Wendell Jones introduced Kenny Johnson, a Past President of Mesa Baseline and Commissioner of the Boy Scouts.  This year, this very special guest contributed $7,500 to the Mesa West Foundation during our recent sponsorship campaign.
President-Elect Jim reminded members that they need to register if they plan to attend the District Conference which will be held June 21-22 at the Hilton Paradise Valley Scottsdale.  Those who have not done so yet, can CLICK HERE to register.  He noted that Friday evening, the beach party featuring the Southwest Surfers (a Beach Boys Tribute Band) is open to Rotarians and their families without registering for the entire conference.
Melodie Jackson was the winner of the attendance drawing.  Warren Williamson won the weekly raffle, but did not draw the joker or the ace of clubs, so the accumulating ace of clubs winning will continue to grow.
Happy Bucks
Dr. Ron served as Sgt. at Arms collecting Happy Bucks.  Don Boucher was happy to be at the meeting and for the opportunity to do a little story telling today.  He also noted how thankful he is for his "better half" noting that she is the more accomplished public speaker in their family.  Ted Williams was very happy that his grandson was voted the most valuable offensive volleyball player in the state championships.  He scored 80% of the points scored by the Casteel High School team.  The team came in second in the state.  Ted was also happy about a recent Williams family gathering at his place in Show Low.  All eight of his children and 46 grandchildren participated in a softball tournament.  Team Williams won after playing five straight games.  John Pennypacker wondered if any of the members noted the irony in the banner display on the east wall of the room.  Pam Cohen was not allowed to answer because she had noted it right away.  For those who still haven't figured it out - the irony was "the rose between two thorns."  Lola McClane enjoyed a recent trip to the Midwest to spend time with her sister even though they had to spend one night in the basement because of tornado warnings.  Andrea Murphy was able to attend our meeting because school is out at Westwood High School.  Pam Cohen gave a shout out for Andrea and the wonderful work she does with the youth in Interact and her students at Westwood.  Chuck Flint said the Westwood Interact Club is the greatest Interact Club anywhere.  Chuck thanked members for the donations sent with him on his recent trip to Puerto Lobos, Mexico.  Greg Okonowski donated $50 for his Paul Harris.  John Benedict explained his recent absence.  He had watched his niece graduate with honors from West Point.  Her brother is also a West Point graduate - he graduated two years ahead of her.  Daryl Bethea was happy to have former Mesa Baseline member Kenny back.  Warren Williamson contributed sad dollars because he failed to recognize Kenny.  Wendell Jones contributed because his friend Ray Smith was absent.  President-Elect Jim shared some sobering news.  He noted that Jack Rosenberg and Cindy had left early.  Jack has recently been diagnosed with cancer in his kidney and will be facing surgery in the near future.  Jack is pretty private when it comes to emotionally charged happenings in his life.  He didn't want to be present when the announcement was made, but he did want his Mesa West family to be aware so we can keep him in our thoughts and prayers.
Before moving on to the program, Jim shared a quote from the Phoenix Suns:  You can make excuses or make progress, but you can't do both.
Daryl Bethea introduced Mesa West Member Don Boucher as the speaker.  Copies of Don's bio were available on the tables.  CLICK HERE to view the bio.  The oldest of six children, Don was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and grew up in a single-parent household, living on public assistance in Woonsocket, RI.  At age 20, Don relocated to Southern California to pursue a career in law enforcement.  At age 22, he was hired as a Deputy Sheriff with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.  In 1996, he was medically retired from the department, a result of on-duty cervical and lumbar injuries.
Don began by saying he was a little nervous.  He said that police work has changed a great deal since he left.  He had to learn to manage his emotions under very challenging circumstances.  Originally, Don had planned to share three stories, but decided to skip the elderly couple story until a later time.  
One of the skills he developed was to develop informants to solve crimes.  Good informants were categorized as Confidential Informants ( CI) or Confidential Reliable Informants (CRI).  Motivating the informants was their seeking to gain favorable credit because they had cases pending.  The law enforcement officer needed to develop the relationship to the point that the informant liked the officer and believed the officer liked them - that they were best buds.
Don developed a relationship with a young African American in his 20's.  He had a girlfriend and a baby.  Don's partner was trying to run a case but could not find proof about Hispanics selling large quantities of cocaine.  Don's CRI had information about a deal that was supposed to happen.  This was during a time that Don was working as a plainclothes detective.  Mesa West members would probably not recognize Don in photos taken during that period.  He wore jeans and t-shirts to work and had longer hair and a scruffy beard.  This was also back before cell phones were streamlined as they are today.  He carried a pager and stopped at pay phones to call in to see what was happening when he was paged.  
Don and his partner carpooled to work.  They received word from the CRI that the transaction was going down.  There was a 2-man black and white unit stationed in the distance to come in to help if needed.  Don and his partner were in a van for around two hours.  Finally, a couple of cars passed in tandem, did a U-Turn and parked in back of the building they were watching.  There were two guys in each car.  the CRI came out and after verifying there was 2 kilos of cocaine, he gave the bust sign.  The CRI left to "go get his buyers."  
For the next 15 minutes, Don relayed the details of what transpired after they burst into the building immediately after serving a "knock notice" that they had a search warrant.  Once inside, they cautiously proceeded toward the farthest point from the entrance to search for the cocaine.  During what only lasted 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, numerous shots were fired by Don and other officers and suspects in the building.  At one point, his partner was in the kitchen with the suspects, and Don believed his partner had been shot.  He was going in to rescue Craig.  A woman was under the kitchen table holding a large knife.  She was shot three times and did not die.  Not all the details Don conveyed are included in this story, but a few others were shot.  Don clearly remembers shooting one suspect three times - in the chest, mouth and nose.  He remembered thinking, "They don't pay us enough to do this.  I hope the Department sees this the same way we did."  At one point, an officer named Steve was shooting over Don's shoulder, and lost his pinkie finger from returned fire.  Don believes Steve saved him from being shot in the face or head.  The total rounds fired during that long minute and a half were determined to be ninety-seven. 
At the time, Don said "it was just another day.  He was not bothered.  He was glad to be alive.  Three years later, the officers involved received medals of valor.  The process to be honored was delayed because of the trials related to the case. 
During his tenure with the department, the LA County Sheriff's department had over ten thousand employees working in twenty-six substations and they also manned the jail facilities.  
Don told one more quick, heart-warming story.  Occasionally officers would meet a young person they recognized as being special.  One such young person was an Afro-American/Japanese boy being raised by a single mother.  When Don would spot him, he often picked him up and took him home.  Years later, Don was in Costco.  The young man recognized Don and spoke to him.  He was the Manager of that store, was happily married and had a child of his own.  He thanked Don for all the times Don had taken him home.