Club Information
Welcome to our Rotary Club of Mesa West!
Mesa West
Transforming Communities, Creating Opportunities, Impacting Youth
Thursdays at 12:00 PM
Via Zoom or in-person
Doubletree, 1011 W Holmes
Mesa, AZ 85210
United States of America
Our hybrid meetings are held weekly on the 1st thru 4th Thursdays of each month. The meetings are broadcast via Zoom to include all, whether attending virtually or in person.
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No regular meeting February 29
Mesa West Rotary Club is dark (we do not meet in person at our regular meeting place) on the 5th Thursday of any month which has five Thursdays.
60th Anniversary Westwood HS Interact Club
Those who attended the 60th Anniversary Celebration of Westwood High School Interact Club Friday, February 23 heard welcoming remarks from Principal Chris Gilmore. 
PDG Art Harrington shared some historical information about Interact in the world and more in-depth information about Interact in Arizona.  The first Interact Club was formed in Melbourne, Florida in 1962, and Westwood Interact only two years later in 1964. 
Cassandra Massias who is the Club President and the Interact District Governor shared her story. 
DG Kevin Pitts and Mesa West Rotary President Colleen Coons presented a banner to Principal Gilmore.  
In the top photo, in the front row, l-r are Braly Morales, Cassandra Macias, Myla, and Shirley.   
In the back row l-r are Chris Gilmore, Daniel Becker, Kevin Pitts, Art Harrington and Ed Koeneman.
February 29 Field Trip - Tour Helen's Hope Chest
If you have not yet registered for participating in this field trip, members can CLICK HERE to access the sign-up link through the calendar on our website.  Non-members (seasonal visitors) may need to send Colleen an e-mail.  
Invitation from Mesa Sunrise Rotary Club
Spring Olympics - March 16, 2024
If you have not already don so, CLICK HERE or on either above image to e-mail Shelly Romine to register for this fun event.
District 5495 Friendship Trophy Handoff
Mesa West Rotary Club President Colleen Coons was up bright and early Friday February 23 so she could attend the Tempe South Rotary Club meeting where she handed off the Friendship Trophy she had received from Mesa Rotary Club on February 15.  As the trophy travels around the District, Club Presidents are getting better acquainted with their peers and seeing the unique cultures of the clubs they visit.
Highlights of February 22 Meeting
Opening and Welcome to Meeting - President Colleen Coons
  • Ray Smith offered the invocation
  • Jack Rosenberg led the Pledge of Allegiance
  • President Colleen thanked
    • Visiting Rotarian Penny May for serving as greeter
    • John Pennypacker for handling room setup
    • Jeanie Morgan for handling check-in
    • Ron Thompson for serving as Sgt. at Arms
    • Ed Koeneman for being Chief Technology Officer
Introduction of Guests
  • Lizzy Barron was welcomed as an "almost' member, as she has an application going through the approval process.
  • Joan Reimann is a member, but feeling "under the weather" has caused her to several meetings since she and Erwin returned from their northern summer adventures,  She was made to feel as welcome as though she were a treasured seasonal visitor.
  • Eric Silverberg and Andy Bradford were acknowledged as two of our newest members.
Ace of Hearts Raffle - Dick Myren
Dick asked Visiting Rotarian Harry Grossman to draw the winning raffle ticket which was held by his table-mate, Eric Silverberg.  Eric was given the daily winnings and a chance to try to draw the Ace of Clubs, which would have entitled him to the larger accumulating pot if he had been successful - which he was not.
Happy Bucks - Sgt at Arms RonThompson
  • Dick Myren was again bragging about Caitlyn Clark, the now famous women's basketball star from the Iowa Hawkeyes.  Caitlyn is now the highest scoring female basketball player in NCAA history.  At that time, Dick said she was only 99 points away from being the highest scoring NBAA player of either gender.
  • Penny May contributed $5.  Her 14-year-old grandson, Peter, would be heading to Barcelona March 6 for some international sports competition.
  • Warren Williamson contributed $100 toward the sponsorship program to support the Guaymas Hearing Mmission.  He wanted to make sure Team Pennypacker was credited with his donation.  He told a story about Mark Twain as a reporter.  His story is not being censored.  This writer's notes were too jumbled to make any sense of the story at all.
  • Erwin Reimann contributed.  He was happy to have spent five days with their grandson.  They were south of Tampa, Florida and had a great time.
  • Ed Koeneman was glad to have delivered James to his first duty assignment at Ft. Stewart near Savannah Georgia.  On the way they were slowed down by a fender-bender at Columbus, Georgia.  Ed reminded members of the 60th Anniversary Celebration of Westwood High School Interact Club which would take place at the high school cafeteria Friday, February 23 from 4-6 p.m.
  • Justin Failner contributed.  He was happy to report a partnership between his company, Clearent Intelligent Processing, and Anthony Robles' Non-Profit Foundation, Unstoppable Events, Inc., to give back to our youth.  Mesa area businesses who utilize Clearent's payment processing programs will have 20% of processing revenue contributed residually to Antony Roble's foundation each month.  This residual income will assist in facilitating local Preseason National Wrestling Tournament Who's Unstoppable in October 2024, and contribute directly to increased youth scholarships.  In 2023, Anthony's Preseason National Wrestling Tournament awarded $4,000 in youth scholarship funds. Justin said girls wrestling is the fastest growing sport.
  • John Pennypacker was happy to celebrate a planned May trip to play golf with his son and grandson at Pebble Beach.
  • Jim Schmidt pledged $100 to the sponsor campaign.  He was happy to report positively about the quality of Mesa West Leaders who were in attendance at PETS.  Logan was being trained as our 2024-25 President, but Colleen and others were involved because they serve at the District level.
  • Machel Considine was happy to have spent two weeks in Medford Oregon where she enjoyed the attentin of a 3-year-old grandson who will "change the world."  He gave her (and counted each one) 100 kisses every day they were together.
  • Colleen Coons was happy that the youth exchange student who is currently staying at their house loved the basketball Machel gave him.  He also prizes a gam-winning Chicago Bulls hat.  She said that at the 3rd Tuesday Board meeting in March, Allan Cady and John Pennypacker have committed to wear hats as her proxies.
  • Bob Jensen promised a $1 IOU to Ray Smith if he would cover his happy buck contribution.  At the Guaymas mission last November, there were 40 patients from Caborca - 258 miles northwest of Guaymas who they were unable to serve.  Rudolfo Fernandez was there last week seeing 20 of them.  He will go back in April or May to see the others.
Announcements - Colleen Coons
  • Warren Williamson and Jim Schmidt were thanked for tangibly kicking off the sponsor campaign.
  • Friday, February 23 Westwood High School Interact with celebrate their 60ty anniversary.
  • There will be no meeting at the Doubletree February 29.
  • There will be a tour of Helen's Hope Chest February 29.
    • As a partner with McKinney Vento they are making repurposed laptops available to our kids.
  • March 9 we are invited to event featuring Sylvia Whitlock - pioneer of Women in Rotary in the US
  • March 9 Celebration of Life for Randy Jackson
  • March 14 - No meeting at the hotel - Many members have tickets to joint event at Cubs game.
  • A March service project will involve five members cooking breakfast for girls attending Aspire Academy
  • Greg Bouslog has arranged for us to have a Rotary Week of Service project at the YMCA
    • Scrubbing Pool Deck
    • Repainting Pool Deck 
  • March 16 - Ed and Debbie Koeneman will be hosting Spring Olympics at their home.
Program - Cheryl Laflen - Mesa Sister Cities 
President Colleen introduced Cheryl Laflen who has been an Arizona resident for sixty-five years.  She has lived in Mesa for fifty years.  She retired after 25 years as a librarian in Mesa Public Schools.
Cheryl was widowed in 2017.  She has six children, twelve grandchildren and one great granddaughter.  She lives in Red Mountain Ranch.
Cheryl is a three-time cancer survivor.  She has been a volunteer at Ironwood cancer center for nearly seven years.
In 2022, Cheryl was named Mesa Woman of the Year.
She joined Mesa Sister Cities 24 years ago.  She has served three terms as President.  She has traveled to Mexico, Canada, Peru, New Zealand, Egypt, South Africa, several states and all over Arizona in support of the Mission of Sister Cities.  She has been on the Arizona Sister Cities Board for nine years.  In 2022, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Cheryl said that Sister Cities is an international organization.  It was started by a man who had been in war.  The goal is to work toward world peace through citizen diplomacy by reaching out across borders and building friendships.  It was officially founded September 11, 1956 which happens to be Cheryl's birthday.
There are 500 member cities in the United States, with 1800 relationships in 140 countries.  Though not tied to politics, the relationships are recognized by leadership in both communities.
In 2006, Cheryl had the opportunity to attend the 50th anniversary conference.  She said it was the most meaningful event she hadever experienced.  She saw mayors from Israel, Palestine, and Syria dining at the same table and having a good time with each other.
Mesa has five sister cities:
  • Burnaby Canada
  • Caraz Peru
  • Guaymas Mexico
  • Kaiping China
  • Upper Hutt New Zealand
The relationships work differently in each case.  In some cases, the visits to not happen as frequently.  In 1999 she went to Burnaby Canada.  They have much in common with Mesa.  She said they were treated like royalty when they were there.  They will be coming to Mesa in April to celebrate 25 years of that relationship.
They are working to start new relationships in South Korea and the United Kingdom.
They have a student exchange program, but their program is just three-week visits in each country.  The visits typically happen in the summer, which may need to be re-considered here in Arizona.  She was aware of one visitor who was disappointed because she had always wanted to ride a school bus, but that opportunity was not available.
Cheryl said they are always looking for people with open hearts and open minds.  Anyone who is interested in getting involved can go to their website where an application for membership is available.
She is aware of our club's Hearing Project in Guaymas.  One of her grandchildren wants to be an audiologist.  Her last husband was a Rotarian.
Bob Jensen provided a little background.  He said Sister Cities and Mesa Baseline Rotary were both involved in the medical mission that resulted in our hearing project.  
To answer a question, Cheryl said the China relationship is difficult.  It has been dormant for several years and is currently in emeritus status.
Mesa West Rotary Foundation - Annual Sponsor Drive
Mesa West Rotary Club operates two separate legal entities.  Our Rotary Club is a 501(c)(4), which is not a tax-deductible charitable organization, but is exempt from income tax.  Our club operations income from dues, most happy bucks (unless otherwise designated), raffle income, etc. is used to pay for the cost of operating the club - our meal expense, supplies, education of our officers, etc.
The charitable work and giving that we do is funded through Mesa West Rotary Foundation.  It is a 501(c)(3) public charity.  It is the fundraising and funding vehicle for our charitable endeavors:  Donations to MWRF are tax deductible.
For the past several years, rather than have major public events to raise funds, we have quietly gone to our friends, family, current and past business associates, etc. and simply asked for sponsorship donations.  We have averaged about $50,000 each year in revenue from our sponsorship drive.  So our members will be better acquainted with those who are involved with the MWRF Board of Trustees, each of the five Trustees will be team leaders this year.  CLICK HERE to down load a list showing who is on each Trustee's team.  Traditional fundraising events are very time and effort intensive and rarely yield the kind of results this effort has produced.  The Sponsor Drive has allowed Mesa West Rotary Club members to focus their Rotary effort on service projects.  The other advantage is that our donors can be assured that their donation will go entirely to charity as there are no cost-of-fundraising expenses.  
Sometimes donors hesitate to give to a fundraising dinner where names of sponsors are published because they don't want others knocking on their door asking for more money.  There are probably many people we know who admire what we do that would like to be a part of it, but cannot afford the time to be involved.  More people would admire what we do if we bragged about it outside of Rotary more often.  You might be surprised that someone would offer to donate if you bragged about the fact that we don't waste our time and resources putting on lavish events. Some of those donors  may have the opportunity to have their gift matched by their employer.  
Have fun telling why you are proud to be a Rotarian, and get your "ask" in gear.
Something to Ponder
Why do we have Leap years?
Most people know that a single day is about 24 hours long, and that there are 365 days in a year.
But it actually takes Earth 365.242190 days to orbit the sun, says Jackie Faherty, an astronomer at the American Museum of Natural History in New York,
"And that .242190 days to go around the sun is the entire reason why we have a leap year," she explained.
A Bit of Humor
Ham and Eggs
A days work for the chicken.
A lifetime commitment for the pig.
Support Westwood HS Interact with Tax Credit Donation
As most of you know, Arizona has a very unique state tax credit program.  If you pay taxes to the state of Arizona, you can specify where your tax dollars go (state taxes only).  These instructions are for your reference only.  Please consult a tax prep professional with any specific questions about state tax credits.

There are many different nonprofit organizations that AZ recognizes as authorized recipients of these tax funds.  Mesa West sponsors the Interact Club at Westwood High School, and they are a qualified recipient of these tax credit funds in the Extra Curricular Activities (ECA) category.  Here's how you can donate up to $200 as an individual or $400 as a couple filing jointly and deduct that amount from your state tax burden.

Go to and click on the link to pay on the district's website. 
Or go straight to  in lower right, click on Pay Online

If you have children currently enrolled in Mesa Public Schools, you can use your existing login information.  Otherwise, it's easy to setup a guest account.

Once you are logged in, select 'Items At All Schools' under the 'Shop/Donate' list on the Home page.

On the next page select 'High Schools', then select 'Westwood High'

Select the link for 'ECA Tax Credit', and then 'Programs G-K' on the following page.

Interact - ECA is under code 8646.  Enter a dollar amount in the box, and click the Add button.  That dollar amount should then appear in your cart (highlighted in green at the top of the page).

You can then proceed to the Checkout process and pay with a credit card.  You will receive a receipt that you can print out and save for when you do your taxes.

Thank you for supporting Westwood Interact and all of our youth programs.
The Big Four - Ways to Support Rotary in Mesa West
As Rotarians, we are regularly exposed to opportunities to support various causes with our time, talent and treasure.  Sometimes it is hard to sift through all the information and decide where we are going to use our available financial resources. 
It would be wonderful if every Arizona Rotarian would make the following BIG FOUR their Rotary charities of choice and support every one of them every year, we could make a bigger difference than we are making today.
  1. The Rotary Foundation (TRF) Annual Fund - The Rotary Foundation transforms your gifts into service projects that change lives both close to home and around the world."  Giving a small amount each month adds up.  CLICK HERE to download a form you can use to sign up for Rotary Direct, electing "Annual Fund - Share" for your recurring donation.  
  2. The Rotary Foundation (TRF) Polio Plus - Rotary's commitment to eradicate polio is so well known and respected that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation matches donations $2 for $1.  To take advantage of this opportunity to multiply the effect of your giving, CLICK HERE and download a second Rotary Direct form, this time electing electing "Polio Eradication" for your recurring donations.  Those who donate $100 or more annually to Polio Plus qualify in District 5495 as Polio Plus Society Members.  If you would like to make that commitment, CLICK HERE to download the commitment form.
  3. The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona (TRVFA) provides vocational education grants to Arizona Residents who meet specific low-income guidelines.   The grants enable the recipients to lift themselves out of poverty, benefitting themselves, their families and the economy of our state.  TRVFA is a 501(c)(3) charity.  They also are a Qualifying Charitable Organization for Arizona Tax Credit Donations.  Their QCO Code is 20698.  Many Arizona Rotarians say giving to TRVFA is a "no brainer."  If you can help someone lift themselves out of poverty and it won't end up costing you anything why would you not do it?  Mesa West Rotary has the highest number of members who have signed up for automated monthly recurring donations by electing that option on the "Donate Now" button on the TRVFA website.  Click the image to learn more or CLICK HERE to DONATE NOW.  
  4. Mesa West Rotary Foundation, Inc. is the funding and fundraising arm of our own Mesa West Rotary Club.  It is a 501(c)(3) charity.  We have had successful sponsorship campaigns the last few years enabling us to spend our energy on service rather than on holding fundraising events.  Charitable grants that we get involved with are funded through our charitable foundation, Our signature Gift of Hearing Project in Guaymas Mexico is funded through this foundation.  Scholarships are awarded annually to Westwood High School Students (the high school where Mesa West Rotary sponsors an Interact Club).  Funds are used to support a variety of activities in four of the Rotary Avenues of Service:
    1. Community Service
    2. International Service 
    3. Vocational Service
    4. Youth Service
The process isn't quite automated at this point in time, but we hope it soon will be.  For now, you can email our executive secretary who can help you work out a recurring donation plan should you wish to make that arrangement to support our own club's charitable activity.
Feb 29, 2024
We do not meet in person on the 5th Thursday of any month with five Thursdays
Mar 07, 2024
College Bound AZ
Mar 14, 2024
No in-person meeting at the Doubletree in Mesa
Mar 21, 2024
Youth Services Day
Mar 28, 2024
Aster Aging
Apr 04, 2024
MPS Community Partners
Apr 11, 2024
Kenya Mother-Child Global Grant
Apr 18, 2024
Councilmember District 2
Apr 25, 2024
Guaymas Project
View entire list
Executives & Directors
President Elect
Director '24
Director '25
Director '25
Director '25
Mesa West Foundation President
Club Service Chair
Fundraising Chair
Membership Chair
Public Image Chair
Rotary Foundation Chair for Mesa West
Vocational Service Chair
Youth Services Chair
Executive Secretary
Upcoming Events
DARK on 2/29 at Hotel - Helen's Hope Chest Tour
126 E. University Drive
Feb. 29, 2024
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Rotary Spring Training Game at Sloan Park
Sloan Park
Mar. 14, 2024 11:30 a.m.
Mesa West Rotary Spring Olympics
Ed & Debbie Koeneman's
Mar. 16, 2024
3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Mesa West Rotary Board Meeting
Via Zoom
Mar. 19, 2024 5:30 p.m.
Cook Breakfast at Aspire Academy
Mesa Public Safety Training Facility
Mar. 22, 2024 6:00 a.m.
Dinner service at Paz De Cristo
Paz De Cristo
Mar. 29, 2024
4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Rotary Week of Service Project at YMCA
Ross Farnsworth EV YMCA
Apr. 13, 2024
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Mesa West Rotary Board Meeting
Via Zoom
Apr. 16, 2024 5:30 p.m.
View entire list
Birthdays & Anniversaries
Member Birthdays
Amanda Rosenberg
February 1
Jeanie Morgan
February 10
Melodie Jackson
February 17
Bert Millett
February 18
Shelly Romine
February 21
Mike Lutcher
February 28
Spouse Birthdays
Amanda Rosenberg
February 2
Join Date
Bert Millett
February 1, 2007
17 years
Erica Williams
February 1, 2018
6 years
Jim Schmidt
February 1, 1984
40 years
Diane Ware
February 14, 2022
2 years
Lola McClane
February 21, 2019
5 years
Chuck Flint
February 24, 1987
37 years
Rotary District 5495 Links
District Links
Arizona Rotaract
Rotary District 5495
Rotary Interact District 5495
The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona (TRVFA)
Rotary Youth Exchange
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards - RYLA
RYLA Service Project Support
Bulletin Editor
Jeanie Morgan
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