President Allan Cady opened the meeting with Greg Okonowski offering the invocation and Polly Cady leading the Pledge of Allegiance.  Allan introduced Alan Ramsdell.  Guest, Gloria Holler was introduced as our speaker's mother.  Penny May introduced Bob James from the Calgary Centennial Rotary Club.  Bert Millett, a former member, was with us again and many are hoping he will rejoin our membership soon.  John Pappalardo, a visitor from the Chicago area, was with us again.  It looks like, in the foreseeable future, he may be spending more time here than there.  Immanuel Beeson with the Salvation Army was introduced as a visitor.
After badge numbers 16, 56, and 37 were called, but their owners were not present, the $5 from the attendance drawing will roll over doubling the size of the possible winnings on February 22.
Pam Cohen won the weekly $36 raffle pot, but after a moment of false hope when she drew a black ace, was immediately disappointed to learn that she would not be the lucky winner of $839, since she had drawn the ace of spades rather than the ace of clubs.  
Alan Ramsdell had lots of happy dollars.  Many others contributed as well, but failed to measure up to his enthusiasm.  In the absence of Dick Myren, Jeanie Morgan continued the Rod Daniels tradition of paying a happy dollar for being happy to be a member of Mesa West Rotary.
  • Lucinda Rose General explained the little slips members had been given as they arrived at the meeting.  They will help increase the reliability of members meeting the "Every Rotarian Every Year" goal of giving $100 each year to The Rotary Foundation.  The slips contained each members RI membership number, an 800# to call, and the date of their last donation to the foundation, as well as their total giving to date in their Paul Harris giving account.  Members can either call or log into the RI website to sign up for Rotary Direct specifying an amount to be regularly charged to a credit or debit card.
  • Chris Krueger had earlier sent an e-mail, but wanted to remind members that if they want to receive the newsletter from Buey Ray Tut's Aqua Africa Project (which we heard about at our February 1 meeting), send her an e-mail by CLICKING HERE.
  • Pam Cohen reminded everyone about the Steak & Beans dinner coming up February 24.  We will be celebrating the success of the sponsorship campaign.
Rick DePonte introduced our speaker, Maddie Rose Holler, Miss Arizona.  Inspired by her father and brother's strong military contributions, Maddie is President of a military family support group which gathers supplies which they use to prepare and send care packages for our troops.  Maddie is a trained vocalist.  She is studying journalism and mass communications at ASU in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.
Maddie was on her first radio show at age eleven.  Perry Damon (Vic Damon's son) mentored her.  In addition to her major in journalism and mass communications, Maddie has a declared minor in Special Events Management.  
She is aware of the negative stereotype many associate with beauty pageants, but stated that she has never had a negative experience with either the Miss Arizona or the Miss America pageants.  Through the Miss America pageant system, $45,000,000 in scholarships are given annually.  Maddie stated she herself has earned $18,000.  
At age fifteen, she was Miss Arizona Outstanding Teen.  That experience resulting in her setting a personal goal to be Miss Arizona.  At age 17, she won a local title as the second runner up in Miss North Phoenix.  Her next title was Miss Peoria.
The pageant organization values service.  Maddie stated their motto is "Service Above Self," to which the Rotarians in the audience  (some silently, and others muttering) responded "so is ours."   
There are actually four pillars of the pageant
  1. Service
  2. Scholarship
  3. Engagement
  4. Style
Maddie followed her passion for supporting military families where she invested her time to meet the service pillar for herself.  She joined an organization which has been active since 2003 sending 250-300 care packages each month to our troops.  They spend a few thousand dollars every month on the project.  When the woman who started the organization and kept it running the first few years had to step down, after no one else emerged as a leader to keep it going, Maddie asked the search committee if they would consider her.  She has been the organization president since age 18.  
Maddie's primary reason for getting involved in the pageant system was the scholarship dollars available.  She has no debt relating to her education as a result of the scholarship support.  This is huge for her as neither of her parents are college educated and she determined that she needed to find a path to afford the education she desired.
The third pillar of Engagement requires Maddie to have a presence in the community and promote giving to the Ms Arizona 501(c)3 Charity.  Her many public appearances as well as her pageant experience have honed her presentation skills and confidence which will definitely give her an advantage when she finishes her education and pursues her goal of being a professional journalist.
It was obvious that the fourth pillar, Style, of the Pageant platform was the least important to Maddie, as she had to be asked what it was before she even mentioned it.  She didn't need to discuss it.  It was obvious that for her, style is a way of life.