Posted by Bret McKeand


The Service Above Self Award is a rare honor. Each of the 530-some districts throughout the world have the privilege of submitting a nomination to the Rotary International Board of Directors – yet only a maximum of 150 recipients are chosen each year for the honor.

The purpose of the award is to recognize Rotarians who have demonstrated “exemplary humanitarian service” with an emphasis on personal volunteer efforts and active involvement in helping others.

DG David announced that Bob Jensen of the Mesa West Rotary Club is one of those chosen for this year.  

Bob had a 40-year career as an audiologist, started a number of audiology-related companies over the years and retired about five years ago. In 1992, he was part of a team of medical professionals who travelled to Guaymas, Mexico to assess how they might best help with medical issues in that area.  

When they returned and compared notes, they determined they should focus on issues associated with hearing.  Shortly thereafter, Bob assumed leadership of annual missions to Guaymas to assess patients, treat minor ear disorders, conduct hearing tests, provide amplification with hearing aids and consult with local school personnel on aural rehabilitation in the school system.


The Mesa Baseline Rotary club learned of Bob’s program and through the years supported him financially and with a volunteer workforce.  By 2007 they convinced Bob he should become a Rotarian and join the club.  Baseline eventually merged into Mesa West and brought along the Help Me to Hear project, which was embraced by the club.  

Dozens of Rotarians, medical professionals and students have accompanied Bob on the annual missions to Guaymas over the years.  It is estimated that nearly 5,000 men, women and children have benefited from help with their hearing issues on these trips and Bob would even travel back to Guaymas on his own on occasion to provide hearing devices to those who were not able to be fitted during the annual mission.