President Bob Grady gaveled the meeting into session at precisely 12:10 PM Mountain Standard Time.
In his opening remarks he noted the article in today’s Arizona Star referencing that an astounding $53 million has been raised over the years by Rotary’s participation in El Tour de Tucson, which takes place tomorrow. We have two riders participating, ageless Kirk Reed and tireless Tom Robertson. We are encouraged to support their efforts by donating to the Rotary Foundation (Polio Plus in memo section).
We recited the Pledge of Allegiance together and M. Craig read a beautiful invocation.
Lunch consisted of Salisbury Steak (thanks Bill), mashed potatoes with gravy, and caramelized carrots. Dessert was a tasty macaroon. Salads were available for the non-carnivores among us.
After lunch, President Bob noted that Doug Jones was having a medical procedure but that he fully expects to be attending the U Arizona vs. Long Beach State men’s basketball contest on Sunday. Bob also announced that Kirk Reed has an extra ticket to the Utah vs. U Arizona game on Saturday.
Maria Elena McElroy was excited to announce that we will have a special program on Friday, December 13th when 16 students from the Davis Elementary School Mariachi Band (the Davis Aguilitas) will entertain us at our meeting. Dr. Valenzuela is the founder of the band and will be in attendance. This is definitely a family friendly event and spouses, friends and family are encouraged to attend – or as Bob said, “be there or be square.”
Tentative plans have been made for a Holiday Event at the Reid Park Zoo (“Zoo Lights”) for December 10th. Confirmation of date and time is forthcoming. Thanks to Michael Troughton for organizing this.
Service chairperson and President-elect Paul Bennett (I get to go to Hawaii!!) thanked those who volunteered on Tuesday evening to serve Thanksgiving dinner at the Roy Drachman Boys & Girls Clubhouse to community families. Volunteers included Pablo Sandoval who has been a visitor at several recent meetings. Another group of Catalina Rotarians will be serving dinner at the Pascua Yaqui Clubhouse next Tuesday. Paul also reminded us about the ITK Play Day on December 1st and the ringing of the Salvation Army bells on Saturday, December 14th at the Walmart at Broadway and Kolb. There is room for additional volunteers for each.
We were all happy to welcome back Al and Maria Anlzaldua who are back from their time in Mexico. We also welcomed back Andy Kerr, who missed a few meetings with a health issue.
Joan Buth had two guests, returning Pablo Sandoval and first-time visitor Joseph Kokroko. B.J. Cordova had a special guest, his nephew Julian.
B.J. Cordova was formally inducted as a new member of the Catalina Rotary Club. B.J. has been looking to rejoin a club for some time and Catalina Rotary Club had location, location, location as he works at nearby 5151 East Broadway! B.J. is a long-time Rotarian and served as president of his former club, so we are excited to have him and to get to know him better.
Queen of Hearts
Paul Bennett had the winning ticket and selected the five of diamonds which netted him nada. An additional $66 was added to the pot which now stands at $801. Some of the big spenders are starting to get interested again.
Sergeant at Arms
Matt Mathewson handled the duties of Sergeant-at-Arms. With all proper respect to Bob Stofft, he noted that the South Dakota State Jackrabbits played the Wildcats tough last night in a tight men’s basketball game. After an appropriate number of fines for minor infractions were levied, many happy bucks were offered by various members including a special thanks by visiting Julian who said he was thankful for his family!
Sharyn Chesser introduced today’s speaker, Tucson Police Department Sergeant Sarah Haight, who has worked in the city’s sex trafficking unit, and is launching a holistic care facility called Beauty from Ashes Ranch. The 70 acre parcel of land for this ranch been purchased (in a rural area of Payson, AZ) and the first residential building has been designed, a 4500 sf facility to house 6-7 girls and 2 house parents. The facility will cost on the order of $500,000 to construct. The 70 acres will allow the facility to expand over time.
Human trafficking is prevalent and yet under-reported in our country. It is estimated there are hundreds of thousands of young women across the country who have been victimized and only 550 beds nationwide. Sarah said the victims need a home to recover from the manipulation and brainwashing that happens. The young women are in a mental jail of sorts and are often under the impression that they are being taken care of by their pimps. Sarah gets her inspiration from her faith and seeks to give residents at the ranch an opportunity to heal, be loved, and have hope for the future. They endeavor to teach the victims about healthy relationships which many have never experienced. This will be a long-term residential facility with anticipated stays of 5-7 years according to Sarah. Equine therapy will be one of many therapies offered.
Sarah is building her board of directors, raising money and getting ready to apply for a HUD grant to get the program off the ground. Hats off to her for this important initiative.
President Bob thanked Sarah for tackling this hidden problem. He gave her the coin with the Four-Way test and informed her that we would be inoculating ten children against polio in honor of her visit.
Bob closed the meeting with an anonymous quote, “People are meant to be loved and things are meant to be used. The trouble with the world is that things are being loved and people are being used.” We are dark next week. Happy Thanksgiving to all. See you on December 6th (two weeks out).