President Allan Cady opened the meeting by asking Ray Smith to lead those present in singing God Bless America.  Darl Andersen offered the invocation and Dick Myren led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Several guests were introduced.  Visiting from the Mesa East Rotary Club were Jim Schmentzler and Chuck Halland.  Ed Koeneman was pleased to introduce his mother, Maryann Koeneman.  Michael Polley was present, currently as a visiting Rotarian, but it is hoped his "application in process" will move swiftly through the process.
Daryl Bethea's badge number was drawn, making him the $5 winner of the attendance drawing.
Steve Ross handled the raffle.  The weekly winnings were higher than usual at $69.00, reflecting the attraction for ticket sales with the large accumulating potential winnings up to $1,522.  Darl Andersen's ticket was drawn, but his disappointment was apparent when he drew the 3 of clubs rather than the ace.
Warren Williamson paid happy dollars announcing he had a gift to auction.  It was a container of Son Hee's Special Sauce.  He was also happy about a good time he and Son Hee enjoyed at the home of Dan and Colleen Coons.  Don LaBarge paid happy dollars telling about how he was criticized by others in his office regarding how he had behaved during a fire inspection a year ago at his place of business.  His staff had been pleased Don was leaving for Rotary after they noted the inspector was in the area and they were due for their annual inspection.  Polly paid happy dollars because she thought his staff was probably concerned about being embarrassed in front of "cute firemen,"  a community resource which she obviously appreciates.  Michael Polley was simply happy.  Matt Rotty gladly paid happy dollars for having an amazing wife who is managing their household of four young children admirably.  He was particularly thankful that baby number four who arrived a few months ago slept for 8.5 hours recently, a milestone which will improve quality of life for the entire family. 
John Pennypacker contributed $20 to the Mesa West Rotary Foundation celebrating that his niece, Carolyn Lampl had another successful day Tuesday, May 22 contributing to Stanford's win of the 2018 NCAA Women's Tennis National Championship.
Greg Okonowski had a cruise bag filled with goodies to auction off.  Dan Coons was the successful bidder, paying $48 for the bag.  Polly Cady brought a bag to be auctioned from the trip she and Allan recently made to Florida.  Daryl Bethea was the successful bidder, paying $51 for something pretty and something to consume.  Ray Smith made the winning $20 bid to purchase Son Hee Williamson's Secret Sauce.
  • President Allan announced that the collections to help Interact DGE, Colton Cagle with travel money for his upcoming "Crutches for Africa" delivery trip had reached $692 with an additional $215 pledged.  Allan thanked the club for their generosity.
  • John Pennypacker announced the upcoming Peace Conference to be hosted by our Rotary District Thursday, May 30 at the Wigwam, stating there would be six excellent speakers, including one from the United Nations and Paul Chappell, a West Pointer.
  • Don LaBarge asked for help at the June 1-3 District Conference at the Wigwam getting the flags carried into the building and displayed.
  • Allan reminded members we would be dark (no regular meeting) on June 14, since the installation will be Saturday evening, June 16.  We will also be dark on July 5.
John Pennypacker introduced our Guest Speaker, Mesa Fire Chief, Mary Cameli.  Mary is a member of the Mesa Sunrise Rotary Club and is a Paul Harris Fellow.  Mary began her career as a firefighter in 1983 and was one of the first females hired by the department.  She held each rank in the organization, including eleven years as Assistant Chief, prior to being selected as Fire Chief in November, 2016.
Chief Cameli drove from Glendale to Mesa to work for over 30 years.  After being promoted to Chief, she and her husband relocated to Mesa seven months ago.  She will celebrate her 35th anniversary with the department in July.
Mary was originally from Chicago Heights, Illinois.  She was one of twelve children, and grew up in a three bedroom home with one bath.  There was a girls' bedroom, a boys' bedroom, and their parents' room.  Their living circumstances taught her a great deal about how to get along, make things work, and share.
Mary's family had a family-owned Italian grocery store in Chicago Heights.  The business is still operated by her family and her mom is still working in the store.  All the children learned customer service working in the store.  As soon as they were able to count, they learned to cashier - before cash registers computed the change for you.  Family members worked in the store without pay.  She said they never went on vacation.  She does have a memory of one trip to a zoo.
Mary attended college in Cedar City, Utah on an athletic scholarship.  She planned to teach.  She had brothers living in the Phoenix area, and after graduating from college she came to the area, arriving in August, which was too late to be hired as a teacher.  Looking into other possibilities, her brothers suggested she look into opportunities opening up for women in a local fire department.  She tested for the Mesa Fire Department, scored well, went through the interview process and was hired.  
Chief Cameli has loved her career.  No two days are the same.  Former Chief, John Oliver, hired her.  He relatively recently shared with her the numerous complaints he fielded after hiring Mary and other women into the department.  The complaints were from wives of firemen, general citizens, and others.  He knew it was the right thing to do and was glad he stuck to his decision.
As she moved through the ranks, Mary realized that if she maintained an attitude of "educate as you go," she would be able to adjust to new responsibilities and help others adjust to a woman handling those responsibilities, since she was the first woman in the department every time.  One thing she realized was that even though there were about 500 individuals in the department, each with a unique perspective, they were united by a common mission - "Serve with C.A.R.E," (Compassion, Accountability, Respect and Excellence).
Managing the fire department budget is challenging.  When charged with cutting expenses, she cannot sacrifice response times, and cannot put her crew in unnecessary danger by being understaffed or failing to replace equipment as necessary.  She has had to think outside the box to find ways to save that do not put anyone in harms way, but can actually improve situations.  One such change was sending out crews of two rather than a full team of EMT's for certain situations that need immediate attention but not emergency transport.  One such team is a nurse practitioner teamed with an EMT, when meds are needed.  This eliminates trips to the emergency room for the patient.  Another such team is a behavior specialist teamed with an EMT to respond to situations that are emotionally charged, but not medical emergencies, again eliminating the expense of emergency room visits and ambulance transport.
Mary also talked about the Aspire Academy.  Mesa has teamed with Girl Scouts to provide an academy where girls, aged 13-18, spend one day learning about police work and another learning about fire and medical department work.  The third day, they have drills for both types of work.   Whether the girls decide to set their career goals based on their experience or not, they go away with a deeper appreciation of both career fields, and realize that traditional career stereotypes are no longer limiting.
Mary believes it is important to give kids a mission early on.  She believes in mentoring for future growth.
For those wishing to get hired by the department as an EMT
  • Must pass CPAT - Certified Physical Abilities Test
  • Must have high school diploma or G.E.D.
  • Must take written exam
  • Those with top 300 scores
    • Oral Interview - some eliminated
    • 2nd Interview - some additional eliminations
    • Top 60 invited to participate in Intern Orientation - some eliminate themselves at this point
    • Top remaining candidates go to academy
New hires surviving all this start out at about $40,000 with step increases.  Paramedics make more.  Those who are certified to handle hazardous materials also make more.  Shifts are three sets of 24 hours on/24 hours off followed by four days off in succession.  Most promotional increases are 10%.
There were several Rotarians with questions for Chief Cameli and she graciously agreed to stay after the meeting to answer additional questions.  
Before adjourning the meeting, President Allen invited Renaldo Yuzo Ogasawara, a Rotarian visitor from Club de Sao Paulo, Brazil to the podium to exchange banners.  Renaldo presented Allan with both club and district banners.