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Mesa West Rotary Club volunteers were among the many working this past Saturday morning at Midwest Food Bank.  The job of the day was repackaging frosted flakes that were donated in very large plastic bags (about 4' x 4" x 8') into small, labeled individual serving-size bags. Dave Brauchler, Don Boucher, Sean Green, Debbie Koeneman, Ed Koeneman, Dan Lamborn, Lola McClane, Jeanie Morgan, Mike Schroeder, Gina Schroeder, and Rotary Youth Exchange Student, Fanny all participated.  In case any other members might wonder if they could stand up to the pace, not all did.  Sean helped Jeanie get redeployed when he saw she was in a lot of pain from standing too long on the hard concrete floor.  She was charged with labeling small individual serving-size bags for a future project at the facility.  Because of her new task, we now know one day in the near future some Cheez-Its will be similarly repackaged at the food bank.  The good news is, they were able to keep all volunteers productively occupied.
Welcome and Opening of Meeting - President Pam Cohen
President Pam opened the meeting by asking Jim Schmidt to offer the invocation.  Jim McGown led the pledge of allegiance.  She then welcomed those in the room as well as Rotarians attending the meeting via Zoom - Melodie Jackson, Bob Jensen, John Pennypacker and Jack Rosenberg.  She thanked Steve Ross for serving as greeter.
Introduction of Guests
  • Jay Stuckey briefly introduced the speaker, Tracy Barnes with the STEP Program
  • Colleen Coons introduced Angela Lopez, a visiting Rotarian from Phoenix 100.  She was a Rotary Youth Exchange student.
  • AG Dan Coons introduced and welcomed seasonal visitor and visiting Rotarian Tom Yuzer.  He also was glad to see Erwin and Joan Reimann had returned from their summer travels.
  • President Pam then introduced our Immediate Past President and current Assistant Governor Dan Coons as a visiting Rotarian from the Queen Creek Satellite Club.
Guaymas Hearing Project Update
Bob Jensen shared a brief summary of the recent mission to Guaymas, Mexico.  He said this mission marked the 30th anniversary of the project, but this trip was the first since 2019.  COVID precautions made the mission impossible until this year.
The 2022 left the morning of November 9.  Participating Mesa West Rotary Club members participating were Chuck Flint, Polo Santiago, Jim Schmidt, Ray Smith, and Erica Williams.  Bob said Polo's command of the language was a huge help and made getting the job done much easier.  Bob also wanted to acknowledge help received from Darl Andersen whose coordination efforts probably saved $5,000 in costs.  Also acknowledged was the free storage of equipment and materials provided by Tim Troy.  In addition to Mesa West Members, Guaymas Rotarians helped, five doctors from Alamos, and Rudolfo Fernandez, our program coordinator in the area.  Guaymas Rotaractors also helped.  The current President of the Guaymas club is their first woman President.  She contacted a fellow Club President from near the border who went to the checkpoint and helped streamline the team's entry into Mexico.  It was the smoothest entry in all 30 years.
Three years ago, they saw 470 patients with a team of about 50.  This year, with a smaller team, they say 67 children and 136 adults in the two days.  The team this year was half the size of the 2019 team.  This year's budget was set at $12,000, and Bob believes they will come in under budget.  The value of what was provided was closer to $60,900 in professional services, $137,500 in equipment, $9,760 in ear molds, and $11,000 in batteries - a total of about $210,370 in goods and services.
Following two long days of work, the team enjoyed a banquet at a restaurant on the beach.  Each team member received a plaque.  Larry Hagen was made an honorary member of the Guaymas Rotary Club for his many years of service on this project.
Bob said he needs a 10' x 15' in storage space on this side of the border going forward, and asked members to consider making that possible.  He said the participating Alamos doctors were very excited about the project and would like to be able to provide services throughout the year.
In answer to a question, Bob said he began the project about sixteen years before he became a Rotarian when he joined the Mesa Baseline Rotary Club.  The Guaymas Hearing Project remained that club's project until they merged into Mesa West in 2015.
The photo on the right is still displayed at the school where the clinic has been held each year.  It was taken of members of the team in the early days.  Left to right are:  Bob Jensen, Steve Teodoro, Larry Hagen, and Gordon Bye (who no longer participates).  
Happy Bucks - Ron Thompson
  • Ed Koeneman contributed for a number of reasons.  Three of his best friends in the world were going to be inducted as Mesa West Members at the meeting.  He was cleaning out his mom's garage and Jim McGown helped.  Bob Zarling spent time at Keeper's Workshop.  They made a lot of sawdust as they created 50 wooden spoons to be given to individuals in Bob's community who provide a lot of help.  Ed was sad to announce the studio has pushed the release of the next Star Wars movie further into the future.  saying it was now 1,138 days until the movie would be released.
  • Pam Cohen fined herself for having a guest (Dan Coons) introduce guests at his table.
  • Ray Smith was happy to have survived 24 hours of riding while Jim Schmidt was driving in Mexico.  Apparently some of the roads were in very poor condition.
  • Joan Reimann was very happy to have recovered from COVID and was able to attend meetings again.
  • Don LaBarge contributed asking members to sign up to ring the Salvation Army bell at Bass Pro.  He especially needs help the first two weeks.  He encouraged members who want to donate to Salvation Army to give it to Don or put it in the kettle.  That way the donation will stay in Mesa.  Online donations go into a larger pool of donations.  Some of that will come back to Mesa.  Also, doing as Don suggests makes the revenue from our kettle location look really good.
  • Allan Cady contributed $5.  He was happy to see such a large group of Mesa West Rotarians at the meeting.  He was happy to see everyone.
  • Polly Cady was proud to be a member of Mesa West.  She was also happy that she would see Colleen Coons and Judge Tommy Webb at RLI on November 19 in Laughlin, Nevada.  Judge Tommy was going to speak to everyone at breakfast, then he and Colleen would meet with Interact members while RLI was in session.  She was also happy that Donna Goetzenberger was going to be an RLI facilitator for the first time.  Polly also pointed out that visitor Angela Lopez is an Assistant Governor for the district.  Polly first met Angela at RLI.
  • Dan Coons was happy to have attended the Rotary Zone Institute in Salt Lake City where he said he learned a lot.
  • Jim McGown was glad to have been able to help Ed.  He had recently heard from a long-lost cousin who needed a place to stay in Mesa.  He ended up staying four days and they had a good time catching up with each other.
  • Angela Lopez was happy to have just landed a job with Rotary International as a membership coordinator for our zone.  She had heard about our amazing club and wanted to see for herself.
  • Colleen Coons was happy to be a part of Rotary youth programs.
  • Jim Schmidt said he missed Wendell Jones' participation in this year's hearing mission.  He admitted hitting at least one unmarked speed bump.  He said Chuck Flint also drove.  He said the experience is very rewarding.  Even after waiting for hours, those they helped would thank them profusely.
  • Bob Zarling was happy with the gifts Ed helped him create at Keeper's Workshop.  He said Ed was a good teacher.
Zone Institute Highlights - John Pennypacker
John had the opportunity to meet and visit with Rotary International President Elect Gordon McInally, who is a dentist.
A highlight was the magnificent music John heard at the concert provided by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the West Point Glee Club. One of the young men in the glee club was from Farmington, Utah.  He sang a solo, and John could only imagine the tear-filled eyes of his proud parents.
Rotary International General Secretary John Hewko wrote the Ukraine Constitution.  He was on stage with a lady from the LDS church.  After listening to their exchange for a while, John held up one finger believing it likely she would announce a $1,000,000 donation from the church to support Rotary's Polio Eradication efforts.  John underestimated.  She announced a $5,000,000 donation.  After being matched $2 for $1 by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, the value of that donation will total $15,000,000.
John said you don't have to be a PDG or an officer.  Any Rotarian is welcome to attend the Zone Institutes when they are held. 
  • Dave Brauchler announced that they had plenty of volunteers for the Saturday November 19 hands on service project at Midwest Food Bank.  The volunteers will likely be repackaging storable dry food.  The food which has been being gathered at recent Mesa West Rotary Club meetings for the food bank will be delivered to them on that same date.
  • Polly Cady said it was too late to register for the November 19 RLI to be held in Laughlin.  The next RLI will be held in January at the Thunderbird School of Global Management.
  • President Pam thanked Don LaBarge for his work organizing our bell ringing schedule again this year.
Induction of New Members
President Pam said her favorite thing to do as Club President is to induct new members.  Ed Koeneman is the proud sponsor of Debbie Koeneman, Gina Schroeder and Mike Schroeder who were formally inducted into the club at this meeting. 
Mike Schroeder introduced himself as a financial advisor, saying he has been practicing for 28 years.  They have an office in Tempe, Arizona.  The business has recently added a generation.  Their son recently graduated from ASU with his finance degree and he will now be learning everything he needs to do.  Gina does everything that makes the office nice, makes everything run and handles all their social media.  He said about three years ago they moved their broker/dealer relationship and Gina handled that change magnificently. 
Gina was asked to tell about their hobbies and interests.  She said Mike is an avid cyclist - mountain and gravel biking.  She gravel bikes with him.  They travel the state together enjoying that hobby.  They both enjoy the outdoors.  They enjoy spending time with their family.  They have dogs they enjoy as family.  A gravel bike is like a road bike with bigger wheels.  
Debbie's professional background is very interesting. She has a Bachelors and Masters degrees in Biomedical Engineering from ASU.  After graduating fro ASU, she worked at FDA as a scientific reviewer and as a Compliance Officer at Center for Devices and Radiological Health.  After leaving FDA to move back to Arizona and marry Ed, she worked for OrthoLogic Corporation (later Capstone Therapeutics).  After ten ears there, she became an independent consultant for medical device, pharmaceutical and combination biologic/device/drug companies.  In late 2018 she became a partner with NDA Partners LLC.  She helps companies figure out how to g4t their products through the FDA.  
Pam handed out the packets to each the new members and they received a standing ovation from those present at the meeting.
Be sure to attend the November 17 meeting to hear a brief update from Bob Jensen about the revival of our annual Gift of Hearing Mission to Guaymas Mexico.  For the first time since the onset of COVID in 2020, we were able to send a team down to fit local children and some adults with hearing aids.  Thanks to recently inducted Mesa West member Polo Santiago, we have some great images of moments he was able to capture with his camera during the busy weekend.  Other participating Mesa West Rotary club members were Chuck Flint, Jim Schmidt, Ray Smith and Erica Williams.
Polo shared these words about his first hands-on participation in an international Rotary Service Project:
It was such an extraordinary and memorable experience. One can only feel honoured by the opportunity to participate.

Thinking of the strong positive impact on the individuals that received medical attention provides a deep sense of appreciation for everyone involved. It was a healthy and effective orchestration between doctors, audiologists, technicians, students, Rotarians, Rotaract members, school staff and more enthusiasts. Anyone strolling through the school those days would notice the different cultures, backgrounds and languages (including sign language), working together with common goals.

Near the end of one of the days of service, one of the patients that just completed the process and got her hearing aid installed, approached a group of us before leaving.  Her facial expression showed amazement as if she was tapping into a new world. She said "I can hear everything. Thank you so much."

Shout out to everyone involved, and especially to those who have been making this project possible for decades!
John Pennypacker shared some photos taken at the Rotary Zone Institute held in Salt Lake City.  He had the opportunity while there to hear a concert featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the West Point Glee Club.  He enjoyed an opportunity to meet and get acquainted with Rotary International President-Elect Gordon McInally and Heather.  Seen on the left in this photo with Rotary Royalty is one of John's many Rotary friends, Colleen Knight.  Our RIPE was obviously positively impressed with John's unique way of promoting support of Polio Plus.
Opening and Welcome - President Pam Cohen
Pam thanked members and guests for finding their way to the alternate meeting location in the Community Room at the Salvation Army facility on East 6th Street ibn Mesa.
Mike Whalen offered the invocation.  Pam led the Pledge of Allegiance.  Following the Pledge, Pam announced November 10 marked the 247th anniversary of the United States Marines and invited the club's Marines, Logan Harper and Dave Brauchler to come forward while the Marine's Hymn was played.  It was apparent that our Mesa West marines did not remember the lyrics to the hymn beyond the first verse...
Shelly Romine was thanked for serving as Greeter.
Introduction of Guests
  • Paige Kistner and her service dog, Nelly were introduced briefly as our speakers with more details to be presented about them later in the meeting.
  • Marge DeWitt-Crocket was visiting from the Corpus Christi Texas Rotary Club where she is President-Elect.  She shared some information about their club's Veteran's Day project, which has grown over the years.  They put up American Flags to honor heroes.  The flags are left up for a week.  The first year, they hoped to display 500 Flags, but 650 heroes were honored with flags that year.  This year 1800 flags were placed along the very visible shoreline drive.  The city allows them to leave the flag receptacles in the ground which makes the job of putting them up much faster.  In two hours, with the help of ROTC, Scouts, Students the job of putting up the 1800 flags was accomplished in two hours.  Marge's was accompanied by her husband, Tony Crocket.  They have only been married for a year.  Both members of the Corpus Christi club which has 214 members.  It was the 125th Rotary Club to be chartered.  Marge has been a member of the club for 28 years.
  • Kayla Mudge introduced her friend Rodrigo Caruco who she met while attending law school.  He travelled to Arizona to help Kayla celebrate her birthday.
  • Member Scott Ramsey, whose commitments rarely allow him to attend meetings was warmly acknowledged and thanked for the hospitality of the Salvation Army. 
Ace of Clubs Raffle - Dick Myren
After Dick explained the raffle, he asked our guest, Marge DeWitt-Crocket to draw the winning ticket.  She drew her own.  She donated the $30 won back asking that it be donated to Polio Plus.  Her luck did not continue when she attempted to draw the Ace of Clubs.  She instead drew the Queen of Hearts.
Happy Bucks 
  • Ed Koeneman contributed "snitch bucks" saying he attended a Mesa West meeting a couple of weeks prior via Zoom, and he was not introduced by our President.  He was happy Interact members committed to help hand out flags and water at the Veterans Day Parade on November 11.
  • Pam Cohen contributed $5 admitting to her guilt as accused by #1.  She was happy to report Interact sold 16 dozen purple donuts November 8.  Altogether the club raised almost $800 to donate to Polio Plus.
  • Jim McGown collects cans and bottles when he is away for the summer in New York.  They can be redeemed for cash.  Many people know he collects them so he can donate the redemption $$ received to SPCA.  He passed around an interesting unopened can, which stood out when it was donated because it had an unusal top.  The can contained Weed Water.  Apparently it sells for $15/can and has cannabis in it.
  • Guest Tony Crocket contributed.  They are here celebrating the 25th anniversary of Mission of Mercy which provides free medical care and prescriptions for the uninsured.  They operate in Corpus Christi Texas, Arizona, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
  • Dick Myren contributed because he was glad the election season was over.  He also contributed his traditional $2 for the privilege of he and Honorary Member Rod Daniels being associated with Mesa West Rotary.
  • Polly Cady was happy she and Allan would get to help Rodrigo and Kayla celebrate Kayla's birthday.
  • Don LaBarge contributed for being late - actually it was the reason he was late that motivated him to contribute.  Even though he is on the board at Salvation Army and helped set up the meeting being held at their facility, when he left his office to go to Rotary, he drove to the Doubletree.  He said he needed more volunteers to help with the Veteran's Day Parade.  He said he had tried to reach Logan Harper, but was frustrated in that effort because Logan does not have a voicemail account.
  • Lola McClane contributed.  She had a lot of trouble finding the meeting location.  She first went to 6th Street in Tempe.  She ten went to East 6th Avenue rather than Street and found herself in a neighborhood.
  • Kayla was happy she had help getting to the meeting and to celebrate her birthday pledged $250 toward her Paul Harris Fellow account.  President Pam said she would match that with points.
Rotary Flag Exchange
President Pam exchanged Rotary Club flags with our new friends from Corpus Christi.
  • Dave Brauchler said he already has ten volunteers for the Midwest Food Bank hands-on service project November 19.  He reminded members that the November 17 meeting would be the last meeting in this campaign we would be collecting non-perishable food items to donate to their organization.
  • Don LaBarge announced he is about ready to start recruiting for the Salvation Army Bell-Ringing season which will start Friday, November 24 and go through Christmas Eve.
  • Polly Cady was happy to announce she has 36 registered for the November 19 session of Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI).  Carla Krcmarik from Mesa West is one of those registered.  This session will be held in Laughlin.  The next session will be in January and will be back in the Phoenix metro area at the Thunderbird campus in downtown Phoenix.  On the 19th, there will be an Interact activity going on as well.
  • Shelly Romine announced the first planning committee meeting for the June 29 People of Action dinner celebrating Mesa West Rotary Club's 50th anniversary will be held at President Pam's house the evening of November 21.
  • Logan Harper reminded members to respond to the survey to determine our club's motto going forward.  So far, he has received 20 responses.  He would like the decision to be made by a broader representation of the club.
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


We meet In Person & Online
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.
Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
Membership Dir "23
Director '23
Director '23
Director '24
Director '24
Public Image Co-Chair
Public Image Co-Chair
TRF Chair
Executive Secretary
Maria Jesus Cervantes
Dec 08, 2022
Chicanos Por La Causa
Dickens Carolers
Dec 22, 2022
Seasonal Musical Celebration
Dec 29, 2022
Mesa West Rotary does not meet on the 5th Thursday of any month with 5 Thursdays
Upcoming Events
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