Club Information
Welcome to our Rotary Club of Mesa West!
Mesa West
Transforming Communities, Creating Opportunities, Impacting Youth
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.
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Help Fill the Room June 29 
The June 9 deadline for making reservations will be moved, but we do not yet have the final, final date.  PLEASE invite Rotary friends from other clubs, former members you still keep in touch with, extended family, etc. to enjoy this celebration with us.  CLICK HERE to add individuals to your party or make your reservation.  
Highlights of June 1 Meeting
Welcome and Opening of  Meeting - President Pam Cohen
  • Dick Myren offered the invocation.
  • Ron Thompson led the Pledge of Allegiance
  • Jim Erickson was thanked for serving as greeter, welcoming members and guests as they arrived for the meeting.  President Pam had been welcomed by Jim - Mr. Fun - when she was at Friendship Village very early Friday, May 26.  She had planned to attend the Tempe South meeting to promote our Anniversary gala, but learned that on the final Friday of each month, they have an evening meeting instead of meeting for breakfast.
Introduction of Guests
  • Jeanie Morgan introduced the three Past District Governors who were attending via Zoom from Australia (where it was shortly after 5:00 AM the next day) - John Pennypacker, Cathy Roth and Cathy's brother, Des Lawson.  Cathy was the Rotary International President's Representative at John's District Conference in 2015.  With no advance plan to do so, Cathy and Des were selected by two different Districts in Australia to serve as District Governor the same year.  Following the recent Rotary International Convention in Australia, John was invited to be a guest in Cathy's home as part of his round-the-world adventure.  Cathy remembered the warm hospitality she enjoyed in the US.  She mentioned Al Mabry who mentored many members.
  • Harry Crossman was visiting from the Sedona Village Rotary Club.  He spoke about his club's project of selling raffle tickets four times a year to benefit veterans in the VA hospital facility in Prescott.  They generally take in about $2,000 each day they sell tickets and do it three or four times a year.   Having heard about the club's support of and participation in the Interact Ambassadors mobility-device involvement in Mexico and Africa, and the fact that we were involved in having access to the one of the storage facilities where the devices are accumulated, Harry said he had some crutches and three walkers to donate.
Banner Presentations
  • President Pam called Harry Crossman to the front to present a Mesa West Rotary Club banner to him.
  • Later, during his stay at Cathy Roth's home, John Pennypacker presented a Mesa West Rotary Club banner to Cathy, a member of the Geelong Central Rotary Club.
Ace of Clubs Raffle - Chuck Flint
Chuck announced that the small pot was $20 and the large pot was up to $570.  He asked Steve Ross to draw the winning ticket, which belonged to Jay and Melissa Stuckey.  They worked together on the shuffling and choosing of the card.  Unfortunately, (for them) they drew the Queen of Clubs rather than the Ace of Clubs.
Happy Bucks - Ron Thompson
  • Dick Myren contributed his traditional $2.
  • Jay Stuckey was glad to have received another $20.  He was glad to assure fellow-members the Ace of Clubs was still in the deck.
  • Jim Schmidt had a great time at the RI Convention in Australia.  He was especially impressed with the presentation about the army of women in Pakistan and their amazing and effective effort to immunize every last child in their country against Polio.  He was so impressed he made a $100 pledge to End Polio Now.
  • Pam Cohen contributed tired bucks - after attending her step-granddaughter's 15th birthday which was accompanied by lots of teen girl drama, and the time also included being around the boundless energy of her three-year-old grandson, Wilder.  She was happy to have had Mr. Fun's help at Friendship Village, happy to see three PDGs up so early in Australia.  She informed everyone.
  • John Pennypacker said the RI convention was awesome.  He encouraged members to go on the RI website and view the presentations from the convention.  He especially enjoyed John Hewko's presentation about Ukraine and thought RI President Jennifer Jones was absolutely regal.  He said it was his fourth RI convention - at $25 each, that would equal a pledge of  $100 for End Polio Now.
  • Harry Grossman contributed - happy to be at our Mesa West meeting.  He said that when their club spun away from the Sedona Club, their new club's president was presented an engraved spittoon to collect fines/happy bucks in.
Program - Gary Held - From Spam to Ham and Back Again
Steve Ross introduced our speaker, Gary Held.  Gary is an eight -year veteran of the US Air Force. He was a co-founder of Gametech International, once the largest electronic bingo company in the world.  While living with Multiple Sclerosis for over 40 years, Gary has been a lifelong entrepreneur. Gary spent 19 years in the bingo  business. He ended his career in the solar business.

During his forty years of living with the unpredictable, incurable disease, MS, Gary has experienced blindness, numbness in his limbs, time in a wheelchair and currently walks with the aid of two canes.  Now retired, Gary has recently published his first book, “From Spam To Ham And Back Again, “ a story about his journey through life living with MS.  Gary entered stand up comedy on a dare in 2016 and has been entertaining, engaging, and inspiring audiences for decades.
Gary began his presentation showing his sense of humor - as he moved slowly to the podium, he said "I'm gonna get to dinner - just not first!"  Gary told of his first memory of what he now understands to be his entrepreneurial spirit.  When he was nine years old, his teacher, Mrs. Reese, was particularly perturbed with his class and had everyone put their heads on their desk to reflect on their behavior.  As she moved slowly through the room, and was near his desk, he heard her mutter, "For two cents, I'd sell this class today."  Gary found two pennies and tried to close on that offer.  It is his first clear memory of using his imagination and acting.  
Growing up, three older siblings joined the Navy.  Gary wanted to be the first to go to college - in Mankato, Minnesota.  In the spring of his junior year in high school, Gary's father was diagnosed with cancer - four months later, he died.  Gary remembers him being a great father.  He clearly remembers being told, "Yo have my trust until you lose it."
The MS has presented many obstacles.  Instead of seeing them as road blocks, Gary has elected to see them as speed bumps.  "You should have zigged when you zagged."  There are adjustments that can be made.  
When he was growing up, high school counsellors didn't tell him about grants to help fund his education.  He saw an ad and ended up being an Air Force recruiter.  In December, 1976, he had a quota of four.  He recruited twenty-two.  He says it is still a record.
When he was at an event in 1976, he remembers his right side felt different than his left side.  He wasn't worried.  He was in Rochester - the home of the Mayo Clinic.  At that time, they were unable to diagnose the issue.  The Air Force sent him to another facility where they did spinal taps and ended up saying it was a psychiatric problem - that he had deep-rooted emotional problems.  He did NOT want to end up where that diagnosis would have taken him.  He went to the Wright Patterson Hospital and demanded a discharge.  A year later, the numbness was gone.
At one point, he was in a chair - unable t walk or move his legs.  He called ER and asked for a high dose of steroids and was able to walk after about an hour.
In 1984, after a shower, he was blind in his left eye - optic neuritis.  He was finally diagnosed with MS at age 31. He had a great job selling surgical equipment.  He lost that job and went into a funk that lasted six months.  His best friend goaded him to get up, get going, and he is thankful for that friend - took his advice ane never looked back.  Since then, he has let nothing squelch his entrepreneurial spirit.
There have been times when the MS slowed, but didn't stop him.
In 1981, he was sent home in a wheelchair.  He was his son's little league coach at the time. He placed his wheelchair behind home plate.  His son was hit in the face with a grounder, and was on the bench for a while, but wanted to get back into the game.  He was proud of his son's determination.  A couple of weeks later, he could walk again.
A favorite memory was when he was with the bingo company, and had made his first presentation in London, he flew back on the Concord.  He said it was an amazing experience.  
There were some changes in the ensuring years.  The recession took its toll.  He remembers on a Sunday in 2010, scraping his name off the door.  He changed one line in his resume.  He said he had an MS in Practical Business Applications from the School of Hard Knocks.  That change resulted in his being hired.
In 2016, smoking small cigars, and drinking bourbon, he was in a comedy club with open mics - and many bad comic wannabees - some of them with their jokes written on their arms.  Sixty days later, on a dare, his performed his first set at got hooked.  The jokes have to be original, and it's a lot of work.  He sells himself as a sit-down comic.  He noted that stages in comedy clubs are not ADA compliant.  He says he's never bombed and never had a heckler.  His ex-wife wanted to see him perform.  She wisely inquired as to whether he told jokes about her.  She's not been to one of his performances.  
He started his autobiographical book in 2017 to leave a legacy for his grandkids.  He got a lot done when in Pine in the snow, locked in the house for two weeks.  His book has been published on Amazon - From Spam to Ham and Back Again.  He had some books with him, and was glad to autograph books for anyone who wanted to buy one.  They are available on Amazon.  He says his life has been blessed and is thankful for his imagination and determination - and hopes to be an inspiration.
President Pam thanked Gary for his presentation.  She thanked Bob Jensen for attending via Zoom.  She thanked Cathy Roth for putting up with John and thanked John for getting up early.
Something to Ponder

Isn't it interesting that the same people who laugh at science fiction

listen to weather forecasts and economists? 

       --Kelvin Throop, III 


Today's Chuckle
If your dog thinks you're the greatest person in the world,
don't seek a second opinion.
--original source unknown
The Big Four - Ways to Support Rotary in Mesa West
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.
Jun 08, 2023
Jose's Closet
Jun 15, 2023
Save the Family
Jun 22, 2023
Director of Chane
Jun 29, 2023
We do not meet at noon on the 5th Thursday of any Month with 5 Thursdays
Jul 06, 2023
Over-Flo Missions
Jul 13, 2023
Foster 360
Jul 20, 2023
Changing of the Guard
Jul 27, 2023
Incoming Leadership
Aug 03, 2023
A New Leaf
View entire list
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
Upcoming Events
Mesa West Rotary Board Meeting
Via Zoom
Jun 20, 2023 5:30 PM
Mesa West Rotary 50th Anniversary Celebration
Jun 29, 2023
5:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Mesa West Rotary Board Meeting
Via Zoom
Jul 18, 2023 5:30 PM
View entire list
Birthdays & Anniversaries
Member Birthdays
Erika Yost
June 2
Pai Bethea
June 9
Carla Krcmarik
June 23
Spouse Birthdays
Cindy Rosenberg
June 10
Sunny Williamson
June 24
Sheena Bouslog
June 29
Wendell Jones
Sandra Jones
June 11
Mike Whalen
Devon Whalen
June 13
Tim Troy
Angie Troy
June 13
Jim Schmidt
Rosalyn Schmidt
June 24
Join Date
Melissa Stuckey
June 14, 2021
2 years
Robert LaBarge
June 15, 2012
11 years
Colleen Coons
June 27, 2018
5 years
Rotary District 5495 Links
District Links
Arizona Rotaract
Rotary District 5495
Rotary Interact District 5495
The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona (TRVFA)
Rotary Youth Exchange
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards - RYLA
RYLA Service Project Support
Bulletin Editor
Jeanie Morgan
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