At noon President Dan Coons introduced himself and welcomed all present at the Zoom meeting.  Having finished the first three months of his term, Dan said he is enjoying being the president of the Rotary Club of Mesa West more and more each day.  He reminded everyone of this year's theme - "Rotary Creates Opportunities."  He also recited the Rotary Vision Statement.  He then called on Geoff White to offer the invocation.
Before offering an invocation, Geoff White shared a thought for the day which he thought was even more important today than when it which was published by Reader's Digest in the 80's:
“A child should learn not merely to love, but to be a loving person-
to make love his stance in the world. 
‘Love’ may come and go,
but a loving person, like the sun itself,
never loses his or her sustaining warmth.”
Several Guests were present for the meeting.  They were introduced by Colleen Coons:  Crystal Blanton, Development Officer for Valley of the Sun United Way; Melissa Darlington, Loaned Executive from Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant; Sean Edmonds; Timna Guerchon; and Reid DeSpiegelaere with the Vello project.
Happy Bucks - Bert Millett
  • Ron Thompson pledged $5 - happy to finally be able to attend a meeting after missing several.
  • Lola McClane pledged $10 - happy to be home after two lovely weeks with her daughter in Fort Worth
  • Colleen Coons pledged $5 for each of her invited guests who were in attendance - a total of $25
  • Pam Coons pledged $5 - she was happy to see John Benedict and Ron Thompson were in attendance.
  • Wendell Jones pledged $50 - he voiced his appreciation for the basket Pam delivered from the club and all the many thoughtful messages, cards and flowers received from club members following the loss of his sweet Carolyn.
  • Geoff White pledged $50 - he was happy to be attending the meeting in the company of his good friends Wendell Jones and Ray Smith
  • Chris Krueger pledged $10 - she held up a beautiful glass tray crafted by Jack Rosenberg which she had recently picked up from him.
  • Dan Coons - announced he was happy to be a member of a new club - The Juice Club.  Two other members of Mesa West were also in the new club - Chuck Flint and Jeanie Morgan.  The three had been on the juice detail at the United Food Bank food distribution event Friday, September 25 at the Mesa Convention Center.
  • Shelly Romine pledged $5 (a total of $15) for each of the three  Mesa West volunteers at the September 25 United Food Bank service project, and reminded members to follow the link in the Messenger and sign up for the October service project.  It will take place in the evening.  She also commended members who are holding food drives in their residential communities - Jack Rosenberg and Bob Zarling.
  • Bob Zarling pledged $10 to plug the December 13 food drive he is hosting in his community in conjunction with having the Salvation Army brass band there to incent neighbors to show up and contribute to the drive.  He encouraged Mesa West Rotary members to attend as well.
  • Ray Smith - pledged $25 - he was happy to be at Wendell's although he'd hoped to enjoy more of the goodies from Wendell's basket, Ray said he and Geoff each only received one cookie.
  • Pam Cohen - mentioned that her company has a 5 for $500 offer where if one of their employees is involved in a community service event with five or more other volunteers, their company will donate $500 to the organization hosting the project.  Sign up for the October service project!  Help get a $500 donation.
  • John Pennypacker - who was attending from his daughter's home in Virginia and frequently seen during the meeting with one or two little boys in his lap or hanging around their grandpa - was called out for trying to misrepresent his appearance when a handsome young man appeared on his screen.  John said he could only afford $10 for his fine/happy bucks since he'd just spent $50 getting fresh haircuts with and for his grandsons.  One thing he mentioned he was very happy for was when he picked up his rental car and was finally able to remove his mask after wearing it for twelve hours.
  • Don Boucher pledged $5 - he was happy to be back in attendance.
  • AG Lee Holmes pledged $10 - he will be having cataract surgery with the first procedure next Monday.  He has worn glasses since second grade and looks forward to not needing them anymore.
  • Greg Okonowski - pledged $5 for the delicious salad his wife had prepared for his lunch
  • Jack Rosenberg is making gift baskets which will, among other things, contain some of his beautiful glass work.  Food donors at his event will be entered into a drawing for the baskets., when asked why he had such a big smile responded that he always does, but did explain that he is making gift baskets which will, among other things, contain some of his beautiful glass work to be raffled to food donors at his November 7 food drive in his community.
  • October 29 is a 5th Thursday.  The club will follow its relatively new tradition of being dark rather than have a regular meeting on that date.  Tentative plans are being made to have a club social that evening - possibly at the home of Pam Cohen.  It was pointed out that October 29 is Pam's birthday - a very special birthday - her Social Security birthday.
  • October 15 - the program will be presented by C-Span.
  • Members need to help find a worthy candidate to apply for the outbound Rotary Youth Exchange opportunity our club will sponsor during the 2021-22 Rotary Year.  It sounds like a long way off but interviews need to happen soon.  For more information, contact Donna Goetzenberger.
  • Virtual RYLA will be held October 9-10.  It is targeted for high school students and particularly for sophomores.  For information and to register interested students should go to Virtual RYLA.
  • John Pennypacker provided some information about the Rotary International Council on Resolutions and promised to send more information for the October 7 Messenger.
Colleen Coons was happy to announce 21 Rotarians have volunteered for Vello.  She also shared that before she married Dan and before she knew all her friends in Rotary she had a difficult past.  She was by herself raising children and had big worries never knowing from month-to-month if she could supply shelter  She painfully remembered having her water shut off.  United Way shined a light for people like herself and guided her to some valuable resources.
Colleen told of UPS having donated $1.6 million to United Way.  She is very glad that one of the benefits of working for United Parcel is their donation-matching program which allows employees to select a 501(c)(3) of their own choosing to donate to and UPS matches 15% of that gift with a donation to a United Way in that employee's community.  She and Dan will be donating $1,000 to the Mesa West Rotary Foundation and the Valley of the Sun United Way will receive $150.  It is a wonderful way for them to donate where they have a passion and help the broader community at the same time.
Melissa is enjoying serving as a loaned executive from APS Palo Verde plant.  She enjoys working with United Way, and feels like she has found her mission.  She was proud to share that 91 1/2 cents of every dollar goes out to be used in the community.  29% of children in our area come from families of working poor.  The saying "it takes a village to raise a child" has come to be very real for her.  $3,000,000 has been utilized to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.  
The early grade reading mentoring program is very important. It helps with improving overall education, but the connection of a children with caring adults makes an immeasurable positive difference in each child's life.   They have an efficient method of connecting children with volunteers.  Since the connections are virtual, it is a safe - from a COVID perspective - learning environment.  The books read are on-screen.  They are simple.  For thirty minutes a week, the adult listens, helps, and motivates the child to read.  The Vello connection is in a Title 1 School District and is targeting first through third grade students.
Mesa West has sixteen volunteers and Pebblecreek Rotary has five.  
As the meeting was being turned back to Dan, John Pennypacker shared that he served as a loaned executive a number of years ago.  He said it was an eye-opening experience.
CLICK HERE to see the some of the United Way information shared during the presentation.