Welcome to District 5495 News

You may have recently seen the call go out for candidates for District Governor for 2026-2027. And as I have been traveling the district and visiting clubs, I have seen a great number of leaders in our clubs that I think would make fantastic DGs. However, my inbox is not overflowing with applications yet. I know it’s a big job and a big decision. I have also spoken to a number of these members to encourage them to apply but I often hear doubts about timing.
For many of us, the question does come up as to when is the “right” time to take on any leadership role, whether that be in Rotary at the club or district level or in other aspects of life. I can assure you the right time is now because tomorrow is not promised.
The last district governor from the Rotary Club of Prescott served in 1981-1982. He was my neighbor. And the thing is, I never really knew Woody Smith. But I knew his wife, Lois. She may or may not have called the cops on me for a particularly loud party held while my parents were away one weekend. It probably wasn’t the noise. It was probably all the cars up and down the street.
At any rate, Woody was too busy doing Rotary to call the cops. He was known as Mr. Rotary. His daughter recently told me a story I hadn’t heard before. The year directly after his governor year, Woody passed away of a sudden heart attack. And I asked her if they regretted him being so busy and on the road constantly during the year that turned out to be his last. Her response was “no, he was doing what he loved.”
Later in life and oddly enough, Lois became a client of mine and, as I got to know her and the family better, I loved hearing about the stories of Woody’s adventures in Rotary. And he had a real passion for chartering new clubs. Since his passing, the family have always been great supporters of Rotary and the Rotary Club of Prescott.
Opportunities to lead come and go but they don’t often come back. When you are called and you believe in what you are doing, the time really is now.
Kevin Pitts
Rotary International District 5495 Governor
Aug. 26, 2023
To all Club Presidents, Club Secretaries, Assistant Governors and Past District Governors:
Applications from qualified candidates are now being accepted for the position of District 5495 Governor for 2026-2027.
November 4th, 2023, has been established as the date all qualified candidates will be interviewed by the District Nominating Committee. Applications shall be submitted electronically to the District Vice Governor PDG Tonya Watson (rotarytonya@gmail.com) no later than 11:59 pm AZ on October 25, 2023.
The Nominating Committee will notify each applicant of the time for his or her interview appointment to be conducted on November 4th at a location yet to be determined. 
Applicants, please submit:
  • the District Governor Nominee Form containing an endorsement by your club officers. Click here to access the form.
  • your biography and a photograph
  • a statement addressing your desire and qualifications for the position
  • your written response to the following questions:
Fellow Rotarians,
Many of you have been asking about how we can help after the devastating fire on Maui that has claimed almost 100 lives at the time of this writing and done untold damage to a community that many hold near and dear. I have been in contact with DG Mark Merriam from D5000 in Hawaii. He tells me there are 3 Rotary clubs in Lahaina and all three club presidents sadly lost their homes. Hopefully, you have seen the links we have put out on social media to donate to the Rotary disaster relief fund set up for that purpose.
I am reminded of the fire we suffered close to 10 years ago in Yarnell that devastated that community near my home and the 19 hotshots we lost, all firefighters from Prescott. And the question that comes to mind for me is can we do disaster relief or is Rotary better suited for long-term rebuilding? I think the answer is both, but the thing is, there are a lot of organizations set up for immediate disaster assistance. But there are very few that are set up to rebuild over the long term, and Rotary is one of those.
During the Yarnell fire, we set up collection centers for the donations of water, food, clothing and other supplies that came in from all over. Those centers operated for a few weeks until we were overwhelmed with donations. We then partnered with others to help with the distribution to those who were in need.
But after the immediate impact and clean up, it was determined there were damages that would not be easily remedied and that included community infrastructure. In fact, the town’s water system was heavily damaged. Local Rotary clubs identified that need, came together and applied for a global grant to help replace the water system and clubs from around the world participated in helping to fund this project that was long-term in nature.
That is the beauty of Rotary. Our clubs and their members are an integral part of the fabric of the communities where they live, and they can do things that other organization are not in a position to do. We can help out in the short-term and we can create lasting change in the long-term. And in both cases we can create hope in the world.
Thanks for being a Rotarian and for being a creator of hope.
Kevin Pitts
Rotary International District 5495 Governor
The district is accepting teams for the second annual District 5495 Paul Harris Fantasy Football League.
To represent your club, make a $200 donation, which we will gather to make a total donation in the league champion’s name to the Rotary Foundation at the end of the season. More than one Rotary member can represent a club. Rotaractors can participate as well. The deadline to join will be Saturday, September 2. The live draft will occur on Sunday, September 3, online through the ESPN fantasy football app.
Last year, Matt Hanrahan from the Rotary Club of Mohave Sunrise was the league champion and about $2,400 was donated to the Rotary Foundation in his name earning him almost three levels of Paul Harris Fellow. Alongside the donation to our Foundation, the league champion will also get the coveted Championship belt and gifts from the NFL Football Hall Of Fame.
Several teams will be returning to play this year including DG Kevin and IPDG Larry so if you are interested then let us know as soon as you can. If you want to play, send a text message to Larry Horton at 602-363-9440 to get the invitation to join the league. Good luck!
Last year's final results:
1st place: Mohave Sunrise
2nd place: Kingman Route 66
3rd place: Camelback Crossroads Satellite
4th Lake Havasu City
5th Prescott
6th Lake Havasu City 2
7th Sun Lakes
8th Superstition Mountain
9th Superstition Mountain 2
10th Sun Lakes 2
11th Queen Creek
last Gilbert
It's with deep sadness that the district announces the passing of Past District Governor Donald Kelley, who passed while under hospice care on Friday, Aug. 11, 2023.
Don was a member of the Rotary Club of Tempe South and served as District 5510 Governor in 2006-07. District 5510 was one of three Rotary districts in Arizona at the time Don was governor. Districts 5510 and 5490 merged in 2017 to become District 5495.
Don became a Rotarian in 1997 when he joined the Tempe Rio Salado Rotary Club. He served as club president and as its international service director. He served as an assistant governor for the Tempe region and graduated from the District 5510 Rotary Leadership Academy.
While serving as international service director, he developed a food distribution program for the poorest of the poor residents in Agua Prieta, Mexico. Don discovered a huge need in Mexico to teach young people computer skills so they can have an economical advantage as a resident in Mexico; thus the Computers for Literacy without Borders was born.
The District 5510 theme for his year as governor was “The Power of One." In a written history of District 5510, Don was quoted as saying the theme was "based upon my belief that meaningful Rotary service is the result of a single idea that powerfully plays a role in making our world a better place to live."
Memorial services for PDG Donald Gene Kelley will be held 11 a.m. on September 9, 2023, at Sun Valley Community Church, Gilbert campus, 456 E. Ray Rd, Gilbert, Az 85296. Viewing will be from 10-10:45. 
Don's obituary may be viewed at Obituary | Donald Gene Kelley | Tempe Mortuary.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Homeless Outreach project with ASU Project Humanities (www.projecthumanities.asu.edu), an organization Don felt strongly about.

The district is sad to announce the passing of Past District Governor Richard "Dick" Frank, who passed away Aug. 9, 2023, in a care facility in Scottsdale. 

Dick was District 5490 Governor in 2001-2002. At the time, he was a member of the Phoenix Thunderbird Club.

District 5490 was one of three Rotary districts in Arizona at the time he served as district governor. Districts 5490 and 5510 merged in 2017 to become the current District 5495.   

He is survived by various family members who live in Phoenix and out of state.  Dick’s wife, Esther, passed during the pandemic a few years ago.

During his year as governor, Dick worked with then-Mexico District 4180 Governor Julio Medina to start the USA-Mexico Conference. which is still in operation today.  Frequent chair and friends of the conference include Julia Ordonez and her father.   

The Memorial Service will be held 10 a.m. Sept. 2 at Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist, 4102 W. Union Hills Dr.. Glendale, Az.

For those who cannot attend but would still like to view the service, the service will be streamed on Facebook.

Go to the church's Facebook page.
Today has been a tragic day for our Rotarians, families and friends on the Island of Maui. The fires across the island have changed lives forever. Truly devastating. Our sympathy, thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted.
As people of action, we can take immediate action. As we come together to recover and rebuild, we need to support each other. We need to Create Hope for Maui.
Rotary District 5000 in Hawaii has created an option for Rotarians who wish to help the victims of the wildfire. Rotary District 5000 Foundation, a relief fund has been established. Foundation President Dave Hamil and Treasurer Sharon Amano will handle all donations. The Rotary District 5000 Foundation is a 501c3 organization and all donations are considered charitable.
A committee will be organized shortly to find the greatest needs for distribution of monies. Monies will be used to make the largest impact based on needs and will be sustainable. A single fund will be the most helpful over time to provide the greatest significant benefits.
Please consider donating to this special fund. Hyperlink and QR code are included with this note.
Maui Fires Relief Fund                                           
Please also widely share this opportunity to help. Contact me anytime for additional information.
Stay safe, take care and mahalo as we Create Hope for Maui.
As of 09/06/2023
Club visit
eClub of the Southwest USA
Grand Canyon
Flagstaff Rotary Club
Tempe South
Sun City
Red Rocks Rotary
Verde Valley - Cottonwood
Sedona Village
Rim Country Payson
Silver Creek
White Mountain
Phoenix Arcadia
Four Peaks
Prescott Sunup
Rotary Club of Scottsdale
Sun Lakes
Scottsdale North
Phoenix West
Anthem Rotary
Mohave Sunrise Rotary
Bullhead City
Kingman Route 66
Tempe Rio Salado
Sun City West
Goodyear PebbleCreek
Mesa West
Scottsdale Sunrise
Queen Creek
Mesa Sunrise
White Tanks Verrado Rotary
Estrella (Goodyear)
Paradise Valley
Tempe Downtown
Fountain Hills
Peoria North
Phoenix Rotary 100
Lake Havasu City Rotary
London Bridge-Lake H C
LHC Sunrise Rotary
Superstition Mountain
Phoenix Camelback
VOTS Rotary PP Club
Phoenix Metro - Club Rotario
Scottsdale PV
District 5495 held its most recent Rotary Leadership Institute program July 29 at the Big Park Community School Multi-Purpose Room in Sedona. The day's program only focused on Session 1 of RLI.
Facilitators were Past District Governor David Simmer and District Governor-Elect Michelle Holcomb.
Participating were: Amanda Arnold and Carolyn Porrata of the Rotary Club of Verde Valley-Cottonwood club; Jean Barton, Sedona; Michael Casey, Kamil Churaev and Ismail Churaev of the Rotary Club of Flagstaff; Jennifer Hayes and Falana Huber of the Rotary Club of Kingman Route 66; Janene Heidelberg and John Johns of Sedona Red Rocks; Carol Hess of Sedona Village; David Lewerke and Henry Reniger of Prescott; Wendi Lancy and Carl Marsh of the Prescott-Frontier club; Adria Poindexter of the Rotary Club of Glendale.