Welcome to District 5495 News

Over 30 clubs throughout District 5495 will share in over $68,000 in District Designated Fund to use on a variety of local and international service projects.
The awards were announced in July by the District Rotary Foundation Committee. The total amount award was $68,056. The maximum grant provided was $2,000.
Grants will be used for a variety of club-sponsored projects, such as distributing dictionaries to public schools, supporting local food banks and shelters, purchasing medical supplies and partnering with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. A full list of the clubs and projects receiving the funds is below.
Click here for additional information on district grants and guidelines. The deadline to submit a final report on how the funds were spent is April 30, 2023.
The deadline to apply for a 2023-24 grant is May 31, 2023. Contact District Grants Chair Dr. Rebecca Wilks (info@drwilks.com) for additional information.
The funds represent a portion of contributions made to The Rotary Foundation three years ago from district clubs and members. (Fifty percent of contributions made to TRF each year by the district and its members are returned three years later to be used for DDF and other projects and causes supported by the district.)  
The next Rotary Leadership Institute originally scheduled for August in Flagstaff, has been rescheduled to Sept. 24. The time remains 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and the location is the Flagstaff Arts & Leadership Academy, 3401 N. Fort Valley Road, Flagstaff, 86001.
RLI is a three-session course that provides Rotarians with a greater understanding and knowledge of Rotary and how it operates.
Check-in is at 8 a.m. with a light breakfast served. Sessions begin at 8:45 a.m.
Lunch is at noon, with a graduation ceremony planned for 12:45 p.m. Sessions resume at 1 p.m. and end byy 4 p.m.
Cost is $60. 
Contact RLI Chair Polly Cady for registration information. 
Register online at:

Submitted by: Dr. Honora Norton, RCSL Public Image Director

Rotary International’s Rotary Magazine with over 1.2 worldwide subscribers recently featured the Rotary Club of Gilbert and Rotary Club of Sun Lakes as champions of a Navajo Water Project. The 10-page article written by Geoffrey Johnson with photography by Julia Rendleman was featured in the Rotary Magazine’s July 2022 issue. 

In 2016, members of the Rotary Club of Gilbert attended a water conference in Phoenix.  At the conference, a representative from DigDeep explained the organization’s work in the Navajo Nation, and how it was bringing water to the people living there.  DigDeep delivers a 1,200-gallon cistern, which is then buried outside the home.  Technicians plumb a sink, water heater, filter and drain line; where families don’t have electricity hookup, a solar panel is installed with battery array and electrical hookup to provide electricity to power the pump and lights. 

A tanker truck arrives and fills the cistern with clean water through an above ground valve and the homeowner receives training to operate, maintain and repair the system, as well as a number to call should problems incur.  All this enfolds over 24 hours.

The Gilbert Rotarians learned that each installation costs $4,500.  The Gilbert Rotarians worked with RI District 4185 in Mexico to co-sponsor a global grant to support the Navajo Water Project. With the assistance of RI Arizona District 5495 Rotary Foundation Chair and RI R-Club Southwest, Jim Bissonett, a global grant was initiated. Per Mr. Bissonett, the real story is the Navajo Nation is in our backyard.  He recalled the eagerness of Gary Whiting of the Rotary Club of Sun Lakes (RCSL), Sun Lakes resident and a past RI District Governor – saying RCSL wants to do a project like that! 

In May 2018, the Rotary Club of Gilbert and its international Partner in Mexico, the Rotary Club of San Andres Cholula, launched the 1st phase of Navajo Water Project. Backed by a $78,000 RI Global Grant, they provided home water systems for 18 families – the 64 individuals near Thoreau, NM. A year later, RCSL finally got its chance when the club partnered with the Rotary Club of Brantford-Sunrise, Ontario and completed the second phase; also set near Thoreau, NM, the project provided home water systems to 33 families – that’s more than 100 individuals with the support of a $144,000 global grant.

Dear Rotarians,
“Are you ready?” That’s what they asked me after I graduated from the Arizona Law Enforcement Academy in 1996.
“Are you ready?” was the question before my life changing Group Study Exchange to District 9640 in Australia in 2011.
“Are you ready?” people asked me in anticipation of my daughter, Emery, being born in 2019.
In every single one of those crossroads, I had no idea what was ahead of me. If I’m being honest the verdict is still out on my daughter.
As we know life is too intricate and elaborate to plan for everything. We work hard to be as prepared as we can be and do the hard work of being flexible as we adapt to whatever comes our way. Maybe a better question is, “Are you willing?” Are you willing to serve? Are you willing to risk? Are you willing to commit?
Because you are a Rotarian the answer is yes. The answer is yes because of the reach and impact we have on the communities around us and the world we live in. The answer is yes because you don’t just change the world, you make it better.
The world needs us right now. Today is an historic day for so many reasons. My gratitude for the chance to serve you in the role of District Governor pales in comparison to the inspiration you give me as your clubs do service.
To be part of your legacy is a huge honor. I’m looking forward to the next time my family and I are at a service project with you, and a non-Rotarian friend who is there serving alongside us asks you what else Rotary does.
You turn to them and ask, “Are you ready?”
Sincerely yours,
Larry Horton,
District Governor 2022-2023
Larry Horton was officially welcome as the District 5495 Governor for 2022-23 during a special installation celebration held July 1 at the San Tan Brewery in Chandler.
The event was hosted by Larry's home club, The Rotary Club of Tempe Rio Salado and the Camelback Crossroads Satellite Club. Several hundred Rotarians from throughout the district were on hand to celebrate our new district governor.
Ben Eubanks, past district governor and president of the Rio Salado Club, kicked off the ceremony by presenting Larry with a gold watch.
Larry briefly shared his vision for the year, reminding everyone that 2022-23 will be a special year -- one that will "Imagine" Rotary's future. He reminded everyone that on July 1, Rotary International also welcomed its new international president -- Jennifer Jones, Rotary's first female president in the 117-year history of the organization.
The ceremony also saw the DG Line -- including DGE Kevin Pitts and DGN Michelle Holcomb -- give Immediate Past District Governor Bret McKeand the "boot," a ceremonial award given to the outgoing district governor.
For more photos, visit the district photo album section here.

With deep sadness, the district passes along news of the passing of Past District Governor John Miller.

John passed away June 26, 2022. He served as District 549 Governor in 1989-90. (District 549 was renamed District 5490 in 1991, and eventually merged with District 5510 to become 5495).

John became a Rotarian first with the Phoenix 100 Club, and eventually transferring to the Rotary Club of Scottsdale, where he remained a member until the end.  He wasn't able, due to health, to attend meetings these past few years so many of you didn't have the privilege of knowing John but he was a Rotarian in true Rotary fashion through and through.
John was born Nov. 7, 1932 in Phoenix, to long-time Phoenicians John “Brick” Miller and Joella Coffin Miller.  He had one younger sister, Karen Miller Applewhite, who also recently passed away.  John and Karen had a wonderful childhood growing up in the valley.  He and his family would spend the summers at their cabin in Greer, deep in the White Mountains of Arizona.  John would meet his wife of 68 years, Marjorie while they attended North High School in Phoenix.
He would go on to attend the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.  John remained a die-hard Wildcat fan his whole life. After graduation he served one tour of duty as a pilot in the United States Air Force where he flew military cargo missions all over the world in the mid-1950s. After he left the Air Force, John worked in the construction equipment business for a time but would soon move on to his long-time career of 35 years as a financial consultant at the brokerage firm Merrill Lynch.  John served as the manager of the first Scottsdale branch of Merrill Lynch when it opened in 1972.  That position would set the tone for his deep commitment to the growth of the Scottsdale and Paradise Valley areas.
District 5495 held its second Rotary Leadership Institute session June 25 at the ASU Thunderbird School of Global Management in downtown Phoenix.
RLI is a three-session program providing expanded information and training on Rotary operations, values and activities. On June 25, 11 Rotarians participated in session 1, and five in Session 3.
Four Rotarians were honored for completing all three sessions and received their RLI graduate certificates.
Those participating in Session 1: 

Paul Cummings - Wickenburg

Rigo Duran - Phoenix East

Julie Ewald - Four Peaks

Jason Jantzen - Gilbert

Ellen Spielman - Phoenix West

Linda Sweeney - Prescott-Frontier

Diana Tacey – Gilbert

Angela Tauscher -Queen Creek Satellite

Laura Trout – Flagstaff

Ron Valerio – Gilbert

Anne Wenzel – Prescott



Lauren Dessis – Scottsdale Sunrise

Lori Dekker – Prescott-Frontier

Sean Green – Mesa West

Ruth Tan Lim – Mesa Sunrise

Rex Townsend – Prescott-Frontier







Another RLI session is planned for this fall. Stay tuned to the District Website for updates and information.

Arizona Rotary Leadership Academy (RLA): Exciting Leadership Training Opportunity, 2022-23.
Do you have valuable skills and talents from which your district and Rotary can benefit? Are you interested in growing as a Rotary leader? 
Have we got an exciting leadership training opportunity for you!!  The Arizona Rotary Leadership Academy Program, 2022-23.
In 2017-18, Districts 5500 and 5495 formed a partnership to lead and coordinate Rotary Leadership Academy, an innovative online learning approach to Rotary leadership development first created in 2004.  It is the Academy’s mission to train identified and selected Rotarians for future district leadership roles while simultaneously understanding and being sensitive to the demands on Rotarians time and busy schedules.
Annually, Past District Governors, current Governors, current Assistant Governors and RLA graduates nominate candidates for the Academy. These nominees, past Rotary club Presidents, Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) graduates and Rotarians interested in leadership roles beyond their clubs are provided training which prepares them for the “next step,” a district leadership role.
Each fall the participants begin the academy’s annual program with an orientation to our self-paced, computer-based online learning framework. The primary objectives of the academy are: (1) to expand the foundation of Rotary and district leadership, (2) to provide opportunities for excited and engaged Rotarians to expand their leadership talents, and (3) work within the parameters and constraints of Rotarians busy lives. This quality online training is facilitated by talented and experienced past District Governors and senior Rotarians. Additionally, each student is linked to a “topic of their Rotary area of interest” learning group, a small group of 4 or 5 students who share questions and ideas during each course and support one another during the Academy year.  The tuition is $60 for the academy year.
Celebrating Rotary's history in Arizona and showcasing the impact made by Rotarians in their communities were the primary themes resonating throughout the 2022 District 5495 Conference held May 12-14 at the Prescott Resort & Conference Center in Prescott.
Due to the pandemic, the conference was the first in three years for District 5495. Activities included several hands-on service projects, social activities, musical entertainment and presentations exploring impactful service projects conducted by a number of District 5495 clubs.
The keynote speaker throughout the conference was the Rotary International President's Representative Nabil Oudeh, past district governor from District 7070 in Ottawa, Canada.
The conference kicked off on Thursday with the annual Peace Symposium. During the event, Dr. Ruth Tan Lim of the Rotary Club of Mesa Sunrise was presented with the 2022 Champion for Peace Award. 
Thursday evening saw the district's first-ever fundraiser to benefit The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona. The event was held at the Phippen Western Museum and featured a silent auction, musical entertainment by Past District Governor Alan Havir and a catered barbecue meal.