Welcome to District 5495 News

Jim Schmidt, a member of the Rotary Club of Mesa West, has been chosen to serve as District 5495 Governor in 2025-2026.
Jim was chosen by the District Nominating Committee, and his selection was officially announced Dec. 7 by District Governor Larry Horton.
Jim joined the Mesa Baseline Rotary Club at age 28 and immediately served as Treasurer for several years, chaired all the avenues of service on the Board, and then served as President in 1994-1995.
When the club merged into Mesa West in 2015, he assisted in the integration of the Clubs and Foundations and went on to serve as Club president in 2019-2020. He is a graduate of Rotary Leadership Academy and Rotary Leadership Institute. He is passionate about Rotary’s vision and currently serves as Assistant Governor and on the district Finance and Strategic Planning Committees.
Jim recently retired as a renowned tax adviser and business consultant for the public accounting firm of Schmidt Westergard & Company (now Forvis) where he led the firm as the managing partner for over 15 years. He was a respected leader of BKR International, an international association of more than 150 accounting firms in over 80 countries. He has served on the boards of various community organizations including PHX East Valley Partnership, Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Banner Health, and other professional and civic organizations. He also has extensive Church leadership experience.
Jim and his wife Rosalyn have 8 children and 32 grandchildren. They enjoy traveling and meeting good people everywhere, having visited all 50 states and 49 countries and counting. Jim enjoys volleyball, golf, pickleball, hiking, snorkeling and any sport or activity his children or grandchildren are involved in.
Five District 5495 Rotarians graduated from Rotary Leadership Institute held Nov. 19 in Laughlin, Nev.
Rotary Leadership Institute is a three-part Rotary leadership program. Over 40 students took part in the program on Nov. 19, with five students completing their third and final class. Each of the five received an RLI certificate and RLI pin.
The five graduating students were: Allie Raugust of The Rotary Club of Prescott; Linda Sweeney of the Prescott-Frontier club; Diana Tacey of The Rotary Club of Gilbert; Paul Cummings of The Rotary Club of Wickenburg and Julie Ewald of the Four Peaks Rotary Club.
District 5495 Governor-Elect Kevin Pitts was among 30 Big West governors-elect to graduate from Governor-Elect Training and officially recognized during the Big West Rotary Trails of Peace 2022 Zone 26/27 Institute.
The institute was held Nov. 10-12 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Earlier in the week, DGE Kevin attended Governor-Elect Training and DGN Michelle Holcomb attended Governor-Nominee Training.
The final event of the Institute was a Graduation Gala held Saturday evening, in which all 30 District Governors-Elect were introduced. Rotary International President-Elect Gordon McInally, a member of the Rotary Club of South Queensferry in Scotland, was the evening’s keynote speaker.
A number of District 5495 Rotarians attended the Zone Institute, including Past District Governors Bret McKeand, Elizabeth Mahoney, Tonya Watson and John Pennypacker. Dan Coons and Teresa Haire represented the district as Emerging Leaders.
Congratulations to Kevin and Michelle!

District 5495 will in 2023 participate in Southwest PETS rather than conduct its own presidents-elect training, and all 2023-24 club presidents are asked to begin planning now for the event.

All District 5495 Presidents-Elect are required to complete the district-sponsored PRE-PETS classes and attend Southwest PETS in person planned Feb. 2-5, 2023 in Los Angeles.

Southwest PETS will be held at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel. The district will be providing partial financial support for registration for clubs to send their PEs to the program and provide full registration costs for assistant governors who attend. 

Registration includes hotel accommodations.

Pre-PETS training classes will be held virtually and begin in January. Be sure to visit the district website for updates.

For the past few years, District 5495 has conducted its own PETS. Participating in SW PETS for this upcoming year is a one-year experiment. The District Education and Leadership Committee will discuss future participation based on feedback from those attending the 2023 program.

Visit www.southwestpets.org for additional information and registration.

Presidents-Elect with questions are asked to contact District Governor-Elect Kevin Pitts for additional information.

District 5495 will enter its first-ever float in this year’s Fiesta Bowl Parade and clubs and Rotarians throughout the district are encouraged to support the effort through financial contributions and volunteer efforts.
The parade takes place 10 a.m. Dec. 17 in downtown Phoenix. District 5495’s float provides tremendous exposure and gives the district a great opportunity to promote Rotary clubs in Arizona.
District Governor Larry Horton will ride the float, accompanied by Rotarians whose clubs provide financial support for the project.
Brian Garcia-Larson of the Rotary Club of Chandler is overseeing the district’s involvement. The cost to have a float in the parade is $10,000 and Brian is looking for clubs to provide direct financial support through a donation, as well as purchasing a special “Imagine Rotary” T-shirt made for the parade.
“Our goal is to have as many clubs involved as possible,” said Brian.
“There is one price which includes one member participating in the parade. We are looking for a $500 donation for that, and if there are any additional Rotarians that want to participate in the parade, we will take a $100 donation for them. 
“In short, we are looking for as many clubs as possible to participate in the parade, and your club's T-shirt order. T-shirts are this year's ‘Imagine Rotary’ shirts that we can all wear for the parade and any events we are working at to show unity.”
Rotarians can also help with float decorating.
“We would love to have your help. There will be no cost to members who want to help with the float, and they can walk in the parade if they choose,” adds Brian.
The parade is a televised event and will have over 100,000 viewers.
Clubs that have committed to support the float so far: Bullhead City, Chandler, Gilbert/Queen Creek and Peoria North. Sun Lakes, Scottsdale, and Chandler clubs have committed to purchasing T-shirts.
“I hope this is helpful and easier financially for our clubs to work together. This will be the first of many parades we will do together. My hope is to have this wrapped up in the next few weeks, so we know who wants to be a part of the parade and get shirts printed for your clubs,” said Brian.
Fiesta Bowl Charities focuses on children’s programs, teachers, and disabled vets throughout the state of Arizona. The budget is $3.4 million this year to give back to our communities. Of that amount, $1 million goes directly to the classroom in the form of teacher grants.
For additional information, contact Brian Garcia-Larson at 602-509-2122.
District 5495 received five First-Place "Action Achieved" Awards at the Rotary Big West Zone 26/27 Institute held Nov. 10-12 in Salt Lake City.
The 2021-22 Action Achieved Awards represent accomplishments achieved by the district during the 2021-22 Rotary year.
A total of 18 categories were recognized for clubs in each of Zone 26 and Zone 27. District 5495 is in Zone 26.
District 5495 earned top honors in the following categories:
* Greatest increase in Rotary Director Members. D5495 recorded 383 new members signing up for Rotary Direct in 2021-22.
* Greatest Positive Membership Growth. D5495 led all clubs in Zone 26 with 68 new members in 2021-22.
* Most Effective Use of Rotary's People of Action
* Building the Endowment (Outright Gifts and Bequests). D5495 was No. 1 in the zone with a total of $4,979,489.22.
* Building the Endowment (per capita). D5495 was No. 1 with a total per capita contribution of $2,484.78.
District 5495 also finished third in the category of "Other Giving," with a total of $96,602 contributed to The Rotary Foundation.
Danny Messersmith, member of the Kingman Route 66 Rotary Club, and Past District Governor 2016-17, passed away on October 27, 2022.

Dan was born in Springfield Illinois. He attended Illinois State University for one year prior to enlisting in the U.S. Navy. His service in the Navy took him several times to Vietnam and to 32 other countries and territories in the world.
While in the Navy, he met his future wife, Janis. They were married in 1971 when he was discharged and returned to Illinois so he could continue with college. In 1974 he completed his history degree. In December he was offered and accepted a
position with the university in the Financial Aid Office specializing in Veterans' Benefits and State Scholarship programs.

In 1978, Dan and his family moved to Kingman, Arizona. Dan had accepted a Director of Financial Aid-Veterans' Services position with Mohave Community College. Dan spent a total of 30 years at Mohave Community College serving in several Director and Dean roles. He also chaired the Kingman Festival of the Arts for many years, for the Mohave Community College Foundation. In 2008, he retired from the college.

Coming to Rotary in 2003, Dan found a new passion in life, serving as the Kingman Route 66 Rotary Club secretary, then club president, and working on every service project and event for the club. The reigns of the Kingman Festival of the Arts
where handed over to the Kingman Route 66 Rotary Club, and Dan continued as advisor to the new chair. Along the way he served District 5490 as: District Secretary, PETS/SETS facilitator, Leadership Academy Faculty, board member with
The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona, District Vocational Chair, and three years as an Assistant District Governor.
He served as the last Rotary District 5490 Governor in 2016-17. A firm believer in the Rotary Foundation, Dan was a Major Donor Level 1 and was charter member of Rl's Paul Harris Society.

In 2012, he changed his club name from "Dan" to "Danny" because only family calls him Danny. As a grateful member of the greater Family of Rotary it only seemed like the right thing to do.

Danny received a Service Above Self award in 2020 from the Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona for his many years of service. In 2022, Danny received the Rotary International Service Above Self Award, Rotary's highest honor. Danny also received the Kingman 2022 Andy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Danny loved his family, history, off-roading, camping, and Rotary.
A Celebration of Life for PDG Danny Messersmith will be held on Dec 10, 2 pm at Mohave Community College, room 240, 1971 Jagerson Ave., Kingman, AZ 86409. All are welcome to attend.
Donations are suggested to the Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona, in Danny's memory, instead of flowers.