Welcome to District 5495 News

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
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.
Past District Governor Danny Messersmith received Rotary International's most prestigious award, the "Service Above Self Award," during this year's district conference held May 12-14 in Prescott, Arizona.
A leader in his community, Rotary club and at the district level, Danny’s efforts over the years have touched and changed lives. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Kingman, Route 66.
In presenting the award, District Governor Bret McKeand said, "as district governor, Danny was a superb motivator and mentor, inspiring Rotarians to focus on service over self and helping others. He embodies the Four-Way Test and Object of Rotary."
Dan served as The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona Grant Application Processor for 11 years, and president from 2018 to 2020. During his tenure, 734 students benefited from $1,229,601.82 in vocational education grants. The processing improvements Dan put in place have resulted in a marked expansion of the reach of the organization, with year over year increases since the online process was implemented.
During his year as DG in 2016-17, Dan continued to process grants for TRVFA. His exposure to clubs during his DG year provided an opportunity to promote TRVFA. The number of students served more than doubled the following year.
Danny Messersmith is many things. A Navy veteran (3 tours in Vietnam), retired college campus Dean, a historian of some regard (a past board member and vice president of the Arizona Historical Society), not to mention his long-standing leadership with the Mohave County historical community.  
He is an accomplished author of 4 books, and he is an avid outdoorsman who loves nothing more than sitting around a campfire in remote parts of Arizona.  He has been a community leader in Kingman for decades.   He is a husband of 45 years to wife Janis, a father and a grandfather.  But of all these, we know him mostly as a Rotarian, a friend, and a leader who will always do his best to support his club and the District.
The district has published “District 5495 Rotary in Action Year in Review," a 24-page booklet showcasing the efforts of our clubs during the 2021-22 year.
The booklet can be seen and downloaded here.
The Year in Review includes:
  • A listing of all 2021-22 club presidents and assistant governors;
  • Photographs of club activities and service projects conducted throughout the year;
  • Recaps of major district events held throughout the year, including the district installation ceremony (July), PETS (March), Rotary Leadership Institute and Rotary Foundation events.
  • Club achievements and recognitions, including Rotary Citation, Foundation Banners and more.
  • Brief history of Rotary in Arizona.
A limited supply of printed copies are available for clubs. Contact District Governor Bret McKeand to obtain copies.
John Germ, chair of The Rotary Foundation Board of Trustees, visited District 5495 April 1-2 as part of his "Two Drops Tour" to encourage Rotarians to continue their focus on supporting Rotary's End Polio Now campaign.
The district hosted two small receptions for John and Judy Germ at the Doubletree Resort Tempe. During both receptions, John provided a brief update on current contributions made to the foundation, as well as the status of Rotary's 40-plus year efforts to eradicate polio.
"We're so very close, with only two nations left where the wild polio virus still exists," said Mr. Germ. "But the remaining challenges are incredible, and we need everyone's support now more than ever."
John predicted the virus would be eliminated by 2023 and declared completely eradicated by 2026.
He also thanked District 5495 for its strong support this year for both The Annual Fund and the End Polio Now campaign.
John Germ is the retired board chair and CEO of Campbell & Associates, Inc. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
He joined Rotary in 1976 and served as RI President in 2016-17. In 2013 the White House recognized him as a "Champion of Change."
A video of DG Bret McKeand interviewing Mr. Germ on the current status of Rotary's initiative to end polio and other issues can be found here.

Rotary International President-elect Jennifer Jones wants members to imagine the possibilities in the change they can make to transform the world.

Jones, a member of the Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland, Ontario, Canada, revealed the 2022-23 presidential theme, Imagine Rotary, as she urged people to dream big and harness their connections and the power of Rotary to turn those dreams into reality.

“Imagine, a world that deserves our best,” Jones told incoming district governors on 20 January, “where we get up each day knowing that we can make a difference.”

Jones, who will make history on 1 July by becoming Rotary’s first female president, gave a live online address to precede Rotary’s annual training event for district governors from around the world, the International Assembly. The assembly was rescheduled because of the COVID-19 pandemic and will now be held virtually 7-14 February.

Jones told the incoming governors about a chance she took when a member asked for assistance in getting a young peace activist out of Afghanistan during the U.S. troop withdrawal last year. At first unsure how she could help, she relied on “that certain Rotary magic” and contacted a former Rotary Peace Fellow she had met a few years earlier. Less than 24 hours later, the activist was on an evacuation list, and soon she was on her way to Europe.

Engaging members through meaningful responsibility

To better engage members, Rotary needs to “adapt and retool,” Jones said, using her hometown as an example. Windsor was once the automotive hub of Canada. But after plant closings left thousands without work, the city needed to retool, in the same way an auto plant would, preparing for new parts or a new model. Now, Jones said, Windsor is a leader in agribusiness and medical and aerospace technology.

For Rotary, “finding the right ‘part’ to engage each member should be our core function,” Jones said. “It comes down to the comfort and care of our members.”

Engaging members is crucial to retaining members, she said, adding that we need to ask members what they want to get from Rotary and give them meaningful responsibilities.

“It is our offer of hands-on service, personal growth, leadership development, and lifelong friendships that creates purpose and passion,” Jones said.

Imagine, a world that deserves our best where we get up each day knowing that we can make a difference.