Page Stories

Rotary is HOT…and so is most of Arizona!  

The last month has been a whirlwind of Rotary clubs visits, participating in club projects, work with the Assistant     Governor team, building momentum in our Connect Through Giving campaign, our kick-off Hawaiian Hoohiki Party in Sedona and engaging with the youth in our District! 

I have a couple of videos that will give you some insights on areas of emphasis as well as the great work of the recently returned Crutches for Africa team.  Congratulations Interact!!!

An Interview with the Governor:

Crutches for Africa:

Alternatively, you may view both videos HERE.

And be sure to take a look at Interact DG Madelynn Mac Donald’s first column in this month’s newsletter as well.  Interact is in good hands!

See you around the water cooler!

The Rotary Club of Scottsdale is proud to announce that Rotarian and Club member Dale Gray has earned the prestigious Rotary International District 5495 2018-19 Humanitarian of the Year Award. This Distinguished Service Award is one of the District's highest service recognition awards and is given to one Rotarian annually who has demonstrated exemplary humanitarian service and volunteerism. The award was announced at the recent District Conference.  
Dale through a global network of volunteer leaders has dedicated his time and talent to tackle the world's most pressing humanitarian challenges.  Rotary International connects 1.2 million members from around the world.  Rotary work impacts lives at both the local and international levels. Dale serves as the Club's Rotary International Foundation chairperson.  
For over thirty (30) years Rotary International, along with its global partners, has been working to eliminate Polio from the face of the earth. For many years the initiative was headed in the right direction with 74 cases in 2015, 37 cases in 2016, and 22 cases in 2017.  A bit of a set back in 2018 with 33 cases reported world wide.  This year, 2019, is not shaping up too well as through the week July 24th we have had 56 new cases of polio derived from the wild polio virus reported. Eleven of these cases have been in Afghanistan and the remaining 45 in Pakistan.  Pakistan has vowed not to be the last country to eliminate Polio, but their efforts have slipped this year. Let’s take a look at current information from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.  
It’s an exciting time to be a Peacebuilder Rotarian and, especially to be a District 5495 Peacebuilder. (When is it not…right!?)  Plans are pretty much set and registrations are now open for two important Peacebuilder events – one local and the other international.

Cassidy Johnson, one of six Interact ambassadors currently in Kenya to distribute mobility devices as part of the Crutches4Africa distribution, is providing readers of the Scottsdale Independent with a daily blog of the group's activities and experiences.


Crutches 4 Africa Dispatch: July 4

Happy Fourth of July!

We woke up this morning to our first full day in Kenya. After a delicious breakfast and quick packing, the team departed our hotel to meet Edward, Ephantus and Toney at ION Handa, the Naivasha school where we are storing our mobility devices.

We loaded the devices onto the roof of our van and set off for the first distribution site of our trip. After merely five minutes beyond the beautiful Masada Hotel, we reached a dirt road lined with small shops on either side and people filling the streets. It was crazy to realize that this poverty-stricken community was so close to our previous night’s hotel.


We (The Sun Lakes Rotary Club) have secured four installation dates with DigDeep when our SLRC members, our Canadian Brantford-Sunrise RC partner, and others who supported our project may attend a “hands on” installation. However, we are limited to the number of 10 people on each installation. As such, we respectfully request that those who wish to attend do the following: 
Select a preferred and an alternate date. 
Immediately send an email to John McKoy ( with selected dates. 
We will do our best to accommodate all who wish to go. However, some names may have to be drawn out of a hat if we have more requests than spots. Should you have a spouse/partner attending, be sure to include their name in your request even if they are not a SLRC member.
Are you interested in expanding your leadership capabilities and perhaps considering leadership positions beyond your club?  GREAT NEWS!  There are two opportunities for you to do just that – right here in your own backyard. And both will be having sessions starting in August.  Click the Read More tab to learn about Rotary Leadership Institute and Rotary Leadership Academy. 

Hello, readers! My name is Madelynn Mac Donald and I am the 5495 Interact’s District Governor. One of my main goals is to help bridge the gap between Interact and Rotary. I believe it will be beneficial for both parties to see all the amazing, hard work that we are using to change the world around. I am very excited to be able to write a monthly column in the Rotary’s Newsletter.

    I am a Junior at Mohave High School, which is located in Bullhead City. This will be my sixth year in Interact and my third year in the Interact District Council. Last summer, I was lucky enough to go as an AZ Ambassador to Kenya to hand out mobility devices to those who do not have access to them. Crutches 4 Africa is our main project for Interact’s club. We collect mobility devices the whole year around, pack the devices in the container during our Interact District Conference, and then, we send six ambassadors to Kenya to pass them out. Our Kenya team have returned July 17, after two weeks in Kenya. You can find the team’s daily updates on the Interact AZ 5495 website.

    We recently had a three day retreat in Prescott where the council plans the years and also teaches the AGs on the roles. This was an amazing team bonding experience. We were also able to give back to the camp by doing a service project. We were able to fix up a road at no cost to the camp. I was also very excited that I got to meet DG David. These past events show a bright future for Interact. I want to thank you all for sponsoring Interact clubs and letting them grow their potential. If you have any questions about Interact, please feel free to email at

Did you know August is Membership and New Club Development Month?! 
Keeping reading for 5 ways to celebrate in August!   fdfgdf
Have you visited recently? There are some fantastic resources available. Check out some reason why Starting a Rotary club might be just the thing to do!
Starting new Rotary clubs increases our ability to improve lives in communities around the world. A new club adviser works
with district leaders to develop and support the new club during the process. Other Rotary clubs and members can help the new club succeed by serving as sponsors or mentors.
Find information about the process in Starting a Rotary Club (PDF).
Does your Rotary Club sponsor an Interact Club?  If so, be on the lookout for an email that will offer your club a fun resource to further
connect your Interactors and your Rotarian members.  
Sponsoring Rotary Clubs will receive a packet of materials for an optional Peace-themed Writing Contest. Today’s Youth place a high value
on Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution, one of Rotary’s 6 Areas of Focus.  This contest provides a way to focus on that topic.  
Developed by our own D5495 Peacebuilders Network, the contest ends on October 31.
For further information contact
A variety of colorful backpacks will greet thirty at need elementary grade students as they return to classes at West Sedona School in August.

The backpacks, donated by the Rotary Club of Sedona Red Rocks, also contain essential school supplies suitable for grades K-4. Each backpack includes a 3 Ring binder with lined paper and a binder pouch, a spiral notebook, pencils, glue sticks, wedge erasers, safety scissors, a box of colored markers, a ruler and a set of assorted crayons.

This is the ninth year that Red Rocks Rotary has provided the backpacks and supplies. Delivered to the Sedona Oak Creek School District Administrative Office on July 18, they will be distributed by the SOCSD to students lacking the necessary start of school staples.
Mr. Jerry Bien-Willner, Mayor of Paradise Valley, Arizona recently was keynote speaker at a Rotary Club of Scottsdale luncheon meeting held at McCormick Ranch Golf Club.  When introducing the Mayor, Rotarian Rachel Sacco stated that the Mayor Jerry is serving as the 18th Mayor of the Town of Paradise Valley; is the town's 3rd directly-elected Mayor; and, is serving his 2nd term as a member of the Town Council and his 1st term as Mayor.  
Mayor Jerry is a native Arizonian and attended Scottsdale public schools through high school.  Mayor Jerry graduated with honors from Claremont McKenna College.  He earned his law degree from University of Arizona.  Mayor Jerry practiced law full-time with a preeminent national litigation firm taking a leading role in many high-stakes cases of national significance.  Mayor Jerry and his wife moved to Paradise Valley from New York City so they could raise their family here.  Currently, he is active in the business community as an investor and entrepreneur and maintains a law practice with a national firm with offices in Phoenix. 
On July 8th the Rotary Club of Surprise Sunset hosted a post-July 4th special meeting to honor their partnership with
The Colonnade by presenting flags from the five military branches - Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard - to Dan Liguori, Executive Director of the Colonnade. Members of the Rotary Club carried their respective flags to the stage while others in the audience stood in honor of their particular branch of service. Bud Hesterman, celebrating his 90th birthday that evening, told stories and sang from an impressive repertoire of military songs he has performed on stage and TV while an enthralled audience sang along.