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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.
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.
Opening and Welcome to Meeting - President Colleen Coons
  • Mike Lutcher offered the invocation
  • Ray Smith led the Pledge of Allegiance
  • President Colleen thanked
    • Penny May for serving as greeter
    • Jeanie Morgan for handling check-in
    • Mike and Ray for leading the invocation and pledge
    • Ed Koeneman for handling the technology
    • John Pennypacker for handling room set-up
    • Olivia for bringing delicious cookies to sell to raise funds to support her Youth Exchange train trip
Introduction of Guests
  • Ted Williams introduced his guest, Reed Hittle
  • Jessica Payne was acknowledged, but would be introduced later as our speaker
  • Penny May was visiting from Alaska
  • Andy Bradford introduced his wife, Kim and their children, Ellie, Quincy, Zeke and Ike.
  • Joe Sweeney was visiting from the Prescott Rotary Club.  He introduced Lizzy Barron who he knew from their both being members of the Santa Clara Rotary Club in California where they worked together as Rotarians.  He's known her for 10+ years.
  • Polly Cady introduced Joe Sweeney as District Governor Nominee Designee.  She also introduced Youth Exchange student Olivia and Carla Rowe-Malcolm., her host mom who is a member of Gilbert Rotary Club.  There were still some cookies left at that point.
  • John Pennypacker introduced Gerry Paulus and Charlie Brown who were visiting from the Mesa Rotary Club.
  • Jeanie Morgan introduced Jenaya Rockman a visiting Rotarian from Hawaii - the big island.
  • Diane Ware, Mesa West Treasurer, experienced the loss of her father on February 14.
  • Melodie Jackson asked Colleen to announce there would be a memorial celebration of life for her husband Randy on March 9 at 2:00 in the afternoon at The Landing at Falcoln Field..
  • Jack Rosenberg was in the hospital.
Induction of Four New Members
  • Polly Cady was excited to give Eric Silverberg his new member packet.  She has learned a lot about Eric.   She said Allan had attended a District meeting in District 5500 and learned that when Eric was in that district he was someone who if you asked him to handle something, you could count on it getting done.  A Rotary accomplishment he was proud of was a Peace Pole project.  A Rotary Moment for him was when he heard a presentation about a Rotary International project in Bangladesh where women teach other women how to teach kids to read and write.
  • Allan Cady introduced Justin Failner.   Justin is married.  He has a 10-year-old daughter named Grace and a 3-year-old son named JJ.  He was previously with Manheim Auto Auctions, handling shipping for them.  He is now an account executive with Clearent - a payment processing company.  He also has a background in refereeing football and wrestling.  Allan believes Justin will be good for our club.  He is youthful and has a background working with young people.   He has a desire to serve.
  • Steve Ross, who was subbing for Jack Rosenberg who is the sponsor of Andy Bradford introduced Andy.  Andy is the chairman of the HOA in the neighborhood where he and Jack live.  Andy shared that he is a realtor with Realty One - Be The Good.  He and his wife promote blood donorship "Pints for Goose" to keep their daughter's memory alive.  She lost her life to Leukemia.  Before she passed, she had 113 blood transfusions.  Be the Good looks for ways to make a difference.  It ties in with Rotary.  "There is no need to recreae the wheel."
  • John Pennypacker introduced Liz Paulus.  Liz was a Lt Col with the Arizona National Guard is now retired.  Liz said her husband Gerry found Mesa Rotary through someone who was very gregarious in the National Guard.  Liz said it was a good marriage - Rotary and Gerry.  After she met Colleen through Mesa Leadership, she was inspired to jump on board with some of the initiatives of Mesa West - and she and Gerry would have twice as many Rotary friends.
The new members were welcomed by the club.  Eric and Justin were pinned by their sponsors, and Liz and Andy were pinned by their spouses, Gerry Paulus and Kim Bradford.  All four new members were welcomed by the membership with a standing ovation.  
District Friendship Trophy Presentation
President Colleen invited Charlie Brown, President of Mesa Rotary Club to come forward.  He presented Colleen with the District Friendship trophy.  They had met at PETS and became friends.  Charlie really respects Colleen and Mesa West Rotary.  He likes the idea of the clubs working together.  They came on board to help with McKinney Vento and will look at other ways to combine efforts.  Colleen was told she would have to wear gloves when accepting and handling the trophy so it would stay spotless.  Gerry Paulus helped with the presentation and the proper handling of the trophy.
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 '24
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
Liz Paulus
Mar 07, 2024
College Bound AZ
Mar 14, 2024
No in-person meeting at the Doubletree in Mesa
Mar 21, 2024
Youth Services Day
Deborah Schaus
Mar 28, 2024
Aster Aging
Renee Parker
Apr 04, 2024
MPS Community Partners
Jim Dowler
Apr 11, 2024
Kenya Mother-Child Global Grant
Julie Spilsbury
Apr 18, 2024
Councilmember District 2
Erica Williams and Bob Jensen
Apr 25, 2024
Guaymas Project
Brian Harvey
May 02, 2024
Being a Rotarian
John Nesbitt
May 09, 2024
Homeless Youth Connections
Richard Mucci
May 16, 2024
Metabolic Syndrome "X"
Sally Harrison
May 23, 2024
Mesa Chamber
May 30, 2024
We are dark on the 5th Thursday of any month with five Thursdays
Olivia and Thilde
Jun 06, 2024
Rotary Youth Exchange
Jun 27, 2024
Celebration of Past Year
Upcoming Events
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