Home Page Stories
Opening and Welcome  - President Colleen Coons
Introduction of Guests
  • Don LaBarge introduced his son Robert LaBarge (a member we rarely get to see).  Robert introduced his six-month-old son, Michael, and Michael's wonderful mother, Elaina.  Robert said that after spending four years teaching on the Navajo reservation, he is now with the Chandler school district, teaching 12th grade English at Chandler High School in downtown Chandler.
  • Connie Bunyard introduced potential member, Erica McBeth, a marketing and business consultant, in a business she started three years ago.  After the meeting, she will probably be known as the turkey lady.  She has long been involved with Big Brothers and Big Sisters as a Big Sister.  She believes in giving back.
  • AG Dan Coons introduced Mike Flores saying they were both members of the Queen Creek Rotary Club - the best Rotary Club in the world (which produced audible groaning from members present).
  • Liz Paulus introduced Emma Gotzinger, who Liz met at EVIT, where Emma was the top student.  Next year, Emma will be a psyc major at ASU.  She graduated with a 3.9 GPA.
  • DG2B Michelle Holcomb was introduced.  Michelle said she was attending for two reasons.  She wanted to attend Colleen's final meeting, but she also wanted to plug the Saturday night party at Rio Verde Country Club where many would be celebrated for their accomplishments in the District this past year leading up to Michelle being installed as District Governor.  She emphasized that fun and dancing would follow.
  • Attending via Zoom were Pai Bethea and Bob Jensen.  Bob was attending from Amsterdam.
Ace of Clubs Raffle - Dick Myren
Eric Silverberg won the weekly pot, but the card he drew was the Nine of Diamonds, so the large pot will "live on" into the next Rotary year.
Rotary Builds Bridges Recognition
Emma Gotzinger was congratulated on her graduation as top student.  She was presented with a medal, a graduation gift of $200, a gift bag and the Dr. Seuss book, Oh, The Places You'll Go.  It was pointed out that the story has some very adult life applications.   When asked to comment on being a part of our program, Emma said that it kept her motivated.  Having a support system was very valuable.  She was very thankful for the advice received.   She will be staying in touch with Liz Paulus over the next four years through College Bound.
Paul Harris Fellow Recognition
Foundation Chair, John Pennypacker, explained that our club has a system where any member who has given $500 to The Rotary Foundation will have their donation matched with $500 recognition points from the club so they can receive their first Paul Harris Fellow recognition.  
Deb Koeneman was presented with her first Paul Harris Fellow recognition pin and certificate.
Celebration of 2023-24 and Induction of Incoming President
Last year when AG Dan Coons swore Colleen in as President, a line Colleen accidentally on purpose omitted was to "honor and respect the AG."  She did, however, appreciate that she was probably the only Club President for whom her AG was available 24/7.  She said that Dan has memorized every word she has said since 2012.  She knows, because he reminds her when it is to his advantage to do so.  She pointed out that Dan is very level-headed She said there are three words which describe Dan - "kind, loving and gentle," and that he has her heart forever.
In deciding how she wanted to recognize her team, she decided she wanted to have a theme of "You Rock."  She wanted to paint rocks for everyone.  This created a lot of anxiety for Dan when he could not understand why they were packing fifteen pounds of rocks as they prepared for their vacation in Hawaii earlier this year knowing that Colleen is not a painter.  She felt like if they would handmade it would seem more "from the heart."  She invited the board members, committee chairs and other volunteers to come forward to receive their gifts.  
There was a slide showing that during the year, 343 volunteers provided a total of 4,253 service hours and $79,144 was the total amount of money spent on charitable activities during her year.
The club was involved in Rotary Youth Exchange from the beginning until the end of her year as Club President.  The club members enjoyed social activities and tours.  We did a great job fundraising.  She has been very proud to be able to describe Mesa West Rotary as international and youth driven, and service oriented.
She thanked everyone who had participated in her monthly board meetings which she remembered as being 2-3 hours long (they were actually about and hour to an hour-and-a half).  She thanked those who had provided guiding mentorship.  
Colleen had a hand-made gift for incoming President Jay Paulus - for the Red Bull she knew he would need.  She presented him with a new theme flag to hang on the podium with the new international president's theme - The Magic of Rotary.  She had a bunch of stuff to pass on to Jay as our new President.
She gave the mic to Warren Williamson who presented Colleen with a gift from Son Hee - a Korean doll from one Korean doll to another.  He congratulated Colleen for joining every civic organization in Maricopa County and even surveying her territory with an SRP helicopter ride.  He said the leadership skills she learned in the Army were apparent as she led the club.  He said that Colleen and Dan remind him of another loving couple - Harvey and Sheila, then sang a long to illustrate the similarity.  Click the Link to hear the song:  Harvey & Sheila You-Tube Video.
Colleen was roasted in a Mesa West Rotary version of Jeoparty.  CLICK HERE to see the slides.
Jim Schmidt invited Liz and Jay Paulus to come forward so the oath of office could be administered.  Colleen pinned the President's pin on Jay's lapel.  Dan Coons pinned the Past President's pin on Colleen
Pam Cohen presented some thank-you items to Colleen.  After briefly sharing the starfish story, A Rotary blue hat box which contained  a Starfish thank-you award and a wine glass with a starfish on it was presented to Colleen.  After which, those present gave Colleen a standing ovation.
Jay shared a few words.  He said that Rotarians wear many hats, and hoped that Mesa West would one day be a 100% Paul Harris club with every member proud to wear their Paul Harris Fellow hat.  He spoke about a conversation he had with DG2B Michelle where she mentioned he might have one issue - humility.  Jay said that Ben Franklin had twelve principals.  He tried to add humility as a 13th, but found that when he showed humility he became proud of the fact he had done so, and it was very challenging for that reason.
He mentioned several good things that would all go away if Rotary ceased to exist.  The world would again be full of polio and other issues.  We are each part of a team created to create a better future.  We need to go forward to do more good.  Jay said he doesn't anticipate a lot of change.  We will carry on serving youth, continuing the McKinney Vento program, the hearing project, ringing the bell for Salvation Army and having socials.  Michelle said she would be glad to attend those.  One is already being planned in September - "From Soup to Nuts."
He said there is one board vacancy that needs to be filled and encouraged anyone interested in serving in that capacity to get in touch with him.  He said he would likely not be our best President, but promised he will give his best.
Opening and Welcome - President Colleen Coons
President Colleen thanked
  • Jack Rosenberg for leading the Pledge of Allegiance as well as serving as greeter
  • Dick Myren for offering the invocation as well as handling the raffle
  • Steve Ross for serving as backup greeter
  • Jeanie Morgan and Jay Paulus for handling check in.
  • John Pennypacker for managing room setup.
  • Ed Koeneman for serving as Chief  Technology Officer
  • Ron Thompson for serving as Sgt at Arms
Introduction of Guests
  • Polly Cady introduced Mark Newell who has retired from the government and is passionate about Shelter Box.  Mark took the microphone and said that he had moved to Gilbert about two years ago from upstate New York.  His passion is to help people.  In his career with the government, he was involved in accounting - contract management with a goal of "spreading the peanut butter more evenly on the bread."  He learned about Shelter Box which brought him to having an interest in learning more about Rotary.
  • Sam Rosenberg thanked the club for sponsoring her year in Denmark as an outbound Rotary Youth Exchange student saying "It was the best year of my life!"  She had arrived home slightly less than a week prior to the meeting.
  • Attending via Zoom were Pai Bethea, Connie Bunyard, Bob Jensen, and Deb Koeneman.
Ace of Clubs Raffle -  Dick Myren
Dick explained that the proceeds of the raffle tickets sold are divided three ways.  A third goes into the club's operating account, a third is given to the holder of the stub of the raffle ticket drawn. The final third is added to the accumulating "big pot".  The daily winner also wins the opportunity to try to draw the Ace of Clubs (which we believe we are) from the cards remaining in the deck.
Should they be so lucky, they would win the big pot which is now up to $661. The other card which could result in smaller winnings is the joker which would be worth $20.  Dick asked Sam Rosenberg to draw the winning ticket, which was held by Don LaBarge.  After receiving the weekly winnings of $30, Don shuffled the cards face down and drew.  Sadly, for Don, the card he drew was the Eight of Diamonds.
Happy Bucks - Ron Thompson
  • Ron Thompson made the first contribution - since the meeting would be his last week as Sgt at Arms, and he was glad that Sam was back.  He encouraged everyone to "make it big."
  • Dick Myren made his traditional donation happy that he and Honorary Member Rod Daniels are associated with the Ace of Clubs.  He was also happy for our President who has only a few more days to worry about the details of managing the club.
  • Don LaBarge contributed.  His granddaughter, Renee, has joined the Mesa Sunrise Rotary Club.  She has a job that would conflict with her ability to be an active member of Mesa West.
  • Jack Rosenberg was glad Sam was back.
  • Ed Koeneman was happy Sam was back.  He was also happy he would be getting a new knee next month., predicting he would be unable to attend club meetings most of August.
  • Warren Williamson told a story Jeanie Morgan had shared with him.  A doctor who was soon to be retiring from his practice introduced one of his long-time lady patients to the new doctor who would be taking over and left her with the new doctor for her annual physical.  A little while later, she ran screaming and crying from the young doctor's exam room.  The retiring doctor heard the commotion and invited her into his office to find out what was going on.  She told him the young doctor had told her she was pregnant.  The older physician left the room to find out what in the world was going on.  He found the young doctor who was entering information into their data system.  The older doctor asked, "What were you thinking, telling a 72 year old woman who has grown children and a few grandchildren that she was pregnant?!?"  Without looking up, the young doctor asked, "Does she still have the Hiccups?"
  • Marilyn Klingler contributed.  She was just happy to be at the meeting.
  • Harry Grossman fined himself.  He had worn his name badge home from the June 13 meeting.  Harry said his son-in-law is a RI Alumni.  In August, he will get to spend time with his host family from thirty years ago.
  • Sam Rosenberg thanked the club for her amazing experience which she will never forget!
  • Polly Cady contributed.  She and Allan had spent the prior week in San Diego on their boat with Olivia and Braly.  One evening they also enjoyed dinner with John Pennypacker's grandson, Ty.  She said spending time with such high-quality youth, she is confident we can look ahead to a good future.
  • Allan Cady was happy Sam was back.
  • Jay Paulus was happy the operating budget for next year was approved by the Club Board of Directors.  They had approved forwarding his proposed charitable spending budget to the Mesa West Rotary Foundation Board with the recommendation that it be approved.  He understands he hasn't been given a blank check...
  • Colleen Coons was very happy to have enjoyed the wonderful experience of serving as Club President.  She said she knows her fellow-members much better.  She said she was glad she joined Mesa Leadership,  She was also happy that her youngest son who is 24 has been accepted in the paramedic program with the Los Angeles Fire Department.
  • Eric Silverberg thanked Colleen.  He contributed $40 - next month, he and his wife will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.
  • John Pennypacker contributed saying it was good to have Sam back.  He also thanked the Allan and Polly Cady for showing his grandson a good time.
Sponsor Program Update - Steve Ross
Steve reported that, "as of twenty minutes ago," John Pennypacker's team was in the lead.  The other team leaders - Ray Smith, Bob Jensen, Ed Koeneman, and Ron Thompson all did a great job.  Steve wanted to thank the one member who got the sponsorship program started - Allan Cady.  Allan made a confession and an announcement.  He said he received his Father's Day card from his son and daughter-in-law a few days prior to Father's Day and confessed he opened it early.  It was a very nice card, and it contained a very special gift.  Inside the card was a $10,000 check payable to Mesa West Rotary Foundation.  Allan said that he had conversed with Colleen about the check and wanted to convey that it was his wish that $5,000 of the amount would be forwarded by the club's foundation to The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona.  With this donation, the sponsor program for this year will have exceeded the $60,000 goal.
Announcement - President Colleen Coons
Colleen explained that we were expecting a visit from one of the McKinney Vento students - Christopher Sousa.  She hoped he would arrive before the meeting ended.  He is a very busy young man.  He goes to school from 8-1, has a job from 2-7, and another job from 8-1.  When asked what he wanted, he wanted help getting his drivers' license, he needed a mechanic to look at his car, and he needed a desk so he would have a place to study.  Colleen feared she would not have time to tell the members about him and wanted to share at least this much before he arrived.
Mesa West Rotary lives our motto: Transforming communities, creating opportunities and impacting youth!!!
Mesa West Rotary is one of 15 selected grantees for the Meta Data Center Community Action Grants.  Mesa West Rotary will put the power of technology to use for community benefit, connect people online or off, improve local science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education for all. Access to all with your Mesa Library Card.
Our project will provide VR/AR Oculus headsets to public libraries in Mesa, Arizona to develop programs for the entire community to participate in multi-sensory experiences to “imagine the possibilities of a career in STEM”. Additionally, the community will be able to experience Rotary: A giant artificial reef in the shape of a Rotary wheel restores marine life and protects the livelihood of several villages in the Philippines.
Mesa West Rotary Club's volunteer service vests were very visible the evening of November 8 after the Gift of Hearing 2023 volunteers arrived at their destination and were enjoying an evening meal.
After returning to Arizona Sunday, Erica Williams expressed appreciation for all the volunteer hours invested in this year's mission.  She reported 232 patients were served, again making an impact for the hearing health of the Guaymas community.  True to the Rotary Service above Self motto, Rodolfo will continue to travel back a few times during the year for mini clinics to help meet needs until next November.  She said they have been training the Mexican doctors on some of the more advanced testing needs as well to bring back to their community.  
Erica said they are targeting the same week/weekend for 2024, with more information to follow in the future.  CLICK HERE for a link to an article Bob Jensen came across to reflect about why the team does what they do.
If you haven't already seen the reel about the project that was posted on our club's Facebook page, CLICK HERE or on the image  to view it.  
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 https://westwood.mpsaz.org/page/eca/ and click on the link to pay on the district's website. 
Or go straight to https://mpsaz.sites.thrillshare.com/o/mpsaz/page/pay-donate  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.
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.
Club Information
Welcome to our Rotary Club of Mesa West!
Mesa West

Transforming Communities, Creating Opportunities, Impacting Youth

We meet In Person & Online
Thursdays at 12:00 p.m.
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.
Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
Director '26
Director '26
Director '25
Director '25
Director '25
Club Service Chair
Community Service Chair
Membership Chair
Public Image Chair
Rotary Foundation Chair for Mesa West
Vocational Service Chair
Youth Services Chair
Executive Secretary
Mesa West Foundation President
Mesa West Foundation Vice Pres.
Mesa West Foundation Secretary
Mesa West Foundation Treasurer
Mesa West Foundation Trustee
Mesa West Foundation Trustee
Mesa West Foundation Trustee
Mesa West Foundation Trustee
Mesa West Foundation Trustee
Carmen Guerrero
Jul 18, 2024
Cultural Coalition
Allan Cady
Aug 01, 2024
The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona
Ed Koeneman and Jim Schmidt
Aug 15, 2024
RI Annual Convention Highlights
Autum Cook
Sep 05, 2024
Youth Resilience
Jay Paulus-Mesa West Rotary President
Sep 12, 2024
Club Assembly-Strategic Planning
Lance Fite and Marc Garcia
Sep 19, 2024
Visit Mesa
Kim Slaughter
Sep 26, 2024
Together Saving Paws
Ed Koeneman
Oct 10, 2024
Rotary Youth Service Month
Tim Jackson
Nov 07, 2024
Flying Cars
Upcoming Events
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