President Dan Coons introduced himself and recited the Rotary Vision Statement and reminded members that Rotary Opens Opportunities - the theme for this Rotary year.  He asked Ray Smith to offer the invocation.
Rotary Minute - Jeanie Morgan
Jeanie shared a bit of her Rotary adventure relaying a few of the opportunities Rotary has opened for her.  When she moved to Lake Havasu City in 1994, the bank manager she was replacing was retiring and was a member of the London Bridge Rotary Club.  He told her that she had to join that club because it was the best service organization in town and the bank would want her to be a part of it.  He sponsored her into the club.  Being new to town the opportunities to serve also provided opportunities to form friendships with her fellow Rotarians.  A year or so later, she became Treasurer.  She learned of an opportunity to help with RYLA, and in less than a year was treasurer and registrar for RYLA Pinerock.  In 1999-2000 she served as Club President.  in 2007, PDG Bill Snedecor called her and indicated that the District 5490 Nominating committee was disappointed that they were not getting candidates to run for District Governor for 2009-10.  Jeanie had not had any aspirations to go to that level of leadership, but her husband, Al encouraged her to apply because he thought it would be fun traveling the district with her.  She tried to prepare him for disappointment because she did not see any way that she would be the person selected on her first try.  By the time she interviewed there were other candidates.  Much to her surprise, she was selected.  Going through the training process over the next few years, was an amazing ride.  The finale was when all of the district governors-elect were in San Francisco for the International Assembly in January 2009.  She looked around the room and realized that every ethnicity and faith was represented by members of her class and there was no tension between any of them.  Everyone there was united by a common purpose of doing good in the world.  It was there that she understood that Rotary provides the model for our world community to one day live on a peaceful planet.
Happy Bucks - Greg Okonowski
Jeanie Morgan had received self-imposed fines/pledges from two Rotarians:
  • John Pennypacker fined himself $10 because instead of being at the meeting, "I will be zooming through the beautiful fall countryside of Virginia and will miss our meeting.  I have an opportunity to visit my grandsons' school and they are excited to show me around.  This is not your ordinary school.  So to make up for all of this fun, I will fine myself $10.  See everyone next week."
  • Ed Koeneman "I've had recent encounters with two Rotarians in our club that exemplify Service Above Self.  As a thank you to Dan Coons for helping one of my students, and Jack Rosenberg for using his unique talents to repair a piece of glass artwork, I'k like to donate $100 to the Mesa West Foundation.  I'm sorry that I can't be there to announce this myself, but I look forward to keeping in touch with everyone online."
Back to fines/pledges from members attending the Zoom meeting:
  • Allan Cady pledged $5 sad dollars.  He and Polly had recently returned from a wonderful family vacation in Charlotte.  He has two very tall sons 6'6" and 6'3".  Allan was sad to learn on the trip that he is no longer 6'1½".
  • Polly Cady pledged $5.  She enjoyed their fabulous trip.  She was able to spend her birthday there taking in - in person - a Cardinals game and the Cardinals won!.  The Blue Ridge Mountains were beautiful.  She had another $5 for a miracle.  On the trip, she learned to bake bread.  She knows exactly how to do it, and it is possibly that some Mesa West Rotarians will enjoy some home made bread as gifts in the future.
  • Chris Krueger pledged $5 for a wonderful getaway with Mike to Alpine, Arizona where the daytime high temperatures were in the 70's, the scent of the Pines was very fragrant, and they saw lots of wild life - sheep, deer (Mike had deer actually eating out of his hand).  It was wonderful!
  • Warren Williamson - pledged $100 to Polio Plus to celebrate his birthday.  He shared a story about his sister and her husband who own a farm in Illinois.  His brother-in-law had gone out the pond near their hog lot, and surprised some neighbor girls who were skinny dipping in the pond.  They begged him to stay away.  He assured them he wouldn't go near them, he said he planned to leave just as soon as he fed their alligator.
  • Pam Cohen - pledged $5 for enjoying Wendell's alligator story, but was pretty sure there were no alligators on farms in Illinois.
  • Jim Schmidt - announced he will be celebrating a birthday on the 15th, and is trying to ignore the reality of that coming event.
  • Ray Smith pledged $10 - part of it had something to do with Wendell's computer, and the rest was his hope that Jeanie would catch up with her mind which she seemed to have temporarily lost but was pretty sure she would find it somewhere running around the house.  He also told of grandsons who had a close encounter with a skunk while the family was enjoying some time in Alpine.  All ended well.
  • Lola McClane - was celebrating an Octoberfest mood with the shirt she was wearing.  A screen shot showing the shirt was not available and she was kind enough to provide a photo of her shirt. 
Auction Item - Allan and Polly Cady
After explaining that the bag contained a piece of art and some edibles from Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina, the bidding opened at $20.  The bidding was brisk, but Colleen Coons was the first to bid $40 when Allan announced that amount would be the limit.  In the bag was candy from the Candy Barrell, Appalachian honey and a maple leaf night light.
  • October 29 is a 5th Thursday - We will not have a zoom meeting at noon on that date.  There will be a social at Pam Cohen's home.  The weather should be cool enough to enjoy social distancing while having hors d'oeuvres and beverages.  The event will start at 5:30 and members are welcome to attend and enjoy socializing with fellow members for as long as they are comfortable doing so.  There will not be a big meal served.
  • Dan Coons reminded members that we need to be identifying an outbound exchange student.
  • Virtual RYLA was planned for October 9-10.
  • The October 15 Program will be presented by Janea Green with C-Span
  • Shelly Romine had sent word that the food packed by Rotarians in August at the Feed My Starving Children food packing event had been shipped to the Phillipines, and that all fifteen volunteer slots for the October 15 United Food Bank emergency food packing event are full.  
  • Polly Cady announced that the next Rotary Leadership Institute will be held November 14 from nine to noon.  It will again be virtual, so there will be no cost.  Two Mesa West Rotarians are facilitators for RLI.  There are three different tracks which will be run concurrently.  Whether ready for Sessions two or three or just starting with Session one, Members who are not RLI graduates were urged to plan to attend.  Members can send Polly Cady an email to register.  
  • Steve Ross applauded the great women in Mesa West Rotary.
  • Lee Holmes reminded everyone that October 24 is World Polio Day.  He hopes that many members will celebrate the recent announcement that the continent of Africa has been declared polio free by sending a gift to The Rotary Foundation to support Polio eradication.
The program - The Borgen Project - was presented by an impressive young man, Siddhant Urunkar, who is a high school student at the Basis High School in Peoria, Arizona.  Pam Cohen was able to provide some information about the Basis schools.  Her daughter, Alex teaches at a Basis school in Flagstaff.  She said the Basis Schools are internationally known for their students' high scores and abilities.  They are public charter schools but create an atmosphere for students who wish to excel.  
Sudhant is also an intern with The Borgen Project which was founded in 2003 by Clint Borgen.  It is a bipartisan national campaign to get Congress to pass poverty reduction legislation.  
Those who are active in the project maintain communication with their congressional leaders and meet with congressional officers to advocate for global poverty combating legislation.
Siddhant told of the summer of his 8th grade year visiting India with his parents who were originally from India.  He clearly remembered seeing, on a brief drive to the airport, the extreme poverty that huge numbers of people lived with every day.  He was stunned by the reality that was before his eyes. Wanting to do something about it has become a strong influence in the man he is becoming.
One of the requirements of being a Borgen Project intern is to raise $500 to support the project.  Another requirement is to work to mobillize his own community to contact congressional leaders.
Siddhant spoke of the myth that "The US already does too much for other countries."  He stated that less than 1% of the federal budget goes toward foreign aid.  It is the belief of the Borgen Project that wealthy countries should provide 0.7% of their GNP in foreign aid while the US currently only provides 0.2%.  He did say that foreign aid accountability by the US is high and uses various channels as necessary.
The presentation included some statistical projections of what the future will be like if action isn't taken to alleviate poverty.   Addressing global poverty could reduce the social and economic strife that can precipitate threats to peace.  Higher living standards can help mitigate the spread of infectious diseases from reaching the United States.  
Suddhant encouraged members to visit the Borgen Project website to learn more, and if moved by what they learn, establish and maintain contact with congressional leaders to let them know that the wish for action to be taken to alleviate poverty in the world is an important priority for voters in their state and nation.   
CLICK HERE if you would like to review the slides Suddhant shared during his presentation.  Members who were moved by his passion and want to support his fundraising effort can use this link:  He did ask that if making a donation, his name, "Suddhant Urunkar," be entered in the "on behalf of" field.
When asked about his future plans, Suddhant answered that in college he plans to major in political science and also focus his studies on public policy and finance.