Sharon S. Spane
Honorary Member of Mesa West Rotary
My first knowledge of Rotary began in 1963 in Advance, Missouri.  I served as waitress at the Rotary Meeting at the local Evelyn’s Restaurant.  I continued serving the club weekly until my high school graduation in 1966. 
My next involvement was nearly twenty-two years later.  While employed at a community-based Behavioral Health Provider, Kenneth Young Centers, a local State Representative, Terry Parke, invited me to attend a meeting at the Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates Rotary Club in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, District 6440. 

After I attended a few meetings as Rep. Parke’s guest, he submitted my application for membership September 23, 1988.  I was inducted October 1, 1988. 
In my early years as a club member, I served in a variety of capacities:
  • The 4-way PACT committee (see photo)
  • Scholarship Committee
  • Foundation Committee (our club had their own foundation)
  • Served and help organize grants for our club
  • Hosted and organized activities as well as holiday parties for exchange students
  • I hosted the summer club picnic at my home for nearly 100 Rotarians and family members who attended.
  • I hosted and attended Fireside Chats
  • I was an active attendee at fellowship activities.
Thus began my “Journey on the Rotary Road.”  I had a record of perfect attendance my entire years in Rotary.  Just being “only” a member for a couple years I was asked to serve as Director of Fellowship in 1991 – an avenue of service unique to that club.  In the following years, I served as director of
  • Club Service 1992
  • Community Service 1993
  • Vocational Service 1994
  • International Service 1995. 
I was the first woman in the Schaumburg Hoffman Estates Rotary Club to stay.  I was a very active participant and helped organize the 25th Anniversary celebration of the club in 1994. 
The Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates club was in District 6440 – the home of Rotary International.  The club was privileged to have four Rotary International Presidents attend our meetings.  I had the privilege of meeting them and personally engaging with them. 
I became a Paul Harris Fellow in 1993.  I recognized the need to eradicate polio.  My older sister’s best friend was in an iron lung during high school.  I was only three years old at the time, but could visualize how she looked.  Later I would meet a member of the Sun Lakes Rotary club and my church who was affected by polio.
Not only was I actively engaged and involved in my own club, I attended and participated in nearly every district 6440 activity as well as conferences, chairing their district conference the 1993-94 Rotary year.
The past Presidents voted unanimously for my being put in line to become Club President for 1999-2000.  Following that decision, I then I served as
  • Secretary 1996
  • Treasurer 1997
  • President-Elect 1998
During my presidential year, the most difficult decision I had ever made was front and center.  I needed to leave my current home, employment, close friendships, lifetime neighbors, church family and my Rotary family.  My decision was made based on family, physical health, and the need for a drier climate with warmer temperatures.  I told my board and past presidents about my planned move.  The announcement was met with tears and disbelief of my decision.
Near the end of my term as President, the club hosted a big celebration dinner with nearly all our club members and spouses in attendance.  Surrounded by my board and all past presidents, I made the announcement of my move to Arizona. 
After moving to Arizona, I first became a member of the Chandler-Ocotillo Rotary Club where I served as Club President in 2001-02. 
I met three more Rotary International Presidents after moving to Arizona.  One of them was Past RI President Luis Giay from Argentina who had served in 1996-97.  He and I remained in contact and friendship for years.
My commitment to support The Rotary Foundation has continued over the years.  In 2002, I became a member of the Bequest Society, Level 1 and a Benefactor, and am currently a Paul Harris Fellow Plus 4.
I later transferred my membership to Chandler North Rotary Club where I served as Club Secretary in 2003-04, and Club President in 2006-07.  I remained a member of Chandler North until 2014 when I transferred to the Rotary Club of Mesa West.
In September 2019, I was invited to make presentation to the Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates - my original home club at their – at the 50th anniversary of the issuance of their club charter.  They wanted me to talk about what it was like to be one of the first women in Rotary.  It was fun to share wonderful memories with old friends.
I felt deeply honored in June, 2020, when the Board of Directors of Mesa West Rotary Club unanimously voted to make me an honorary member.