Outstanding Rotary programs in May

Norm Noble

On Tuesday morning, May 7, the Sun Lakes Rotary Club will honor the Chandler Unified School District Teacher of the Year with the prestigious $2,000 Sandy Lundberg Educator of the Year Award – Carolyn McCleary from Auxier Elementary, Caitlin Humphrey from Hartford Sylvia Encinas Elementary and Jessica Hogan from Hamilton High School are the finalists.

Following this presentation, Deborah Walden-Ralls, VP of Green Valley Pecans, will speak. The Green Valley Pecan Co is located just south of Tucson in the Santa Cruz Valley, where the land is luscious, the water plentiful and the weather perfect to grow the perfect pecan.

She is a fourth-generation farmer who grew up in Sahuarita, Arizona, on her family’s pecan farm. Following graduation from Northern Arizona and a brief teaching career, her father came to her and asked for help. She came in as a project marketing manager, focused on the farm’s retail business. The business has changed dramatically since her grandfather founded it in 1937. “We’re a global company now,” she said. The Green Valley Pecan Company has buyers in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world.”

Debbie not only helps with her family business, she volunteers with the Boys & Girls Club of the East Valley. In April 2012, she joined the Corporate Board of the club and is now the chair of that organization.

Forrest Kohler will be the Rotary speaker for the Tuesday, May 14, evening meeting. He spent his working career with Nationwide Insurance and later a subsidiary – Farmland Insurance in Des Moines, IA. He retired in 1996 as Vice-President of Corporate Services and moved to Sun Lakes.

Since 2000, he has served on the Sun Lakes Fire Board. In 2014, he was elected chairman of the board. During the past two years, he reports, there have been many changes to the Fire Board structure, but the mission has never changed – provide quality, timely service at a reasonable cost. Today we have a new name, “South County Fire and Medical District.” On December 4, 2018, the Sun Lakes Fire Board voted 5-0 to merge with the Tonopah Fire District. “What this merger did was to add 34 square miles of largely undeveloped land to our fire district.” He will explain this at the meeting.

On Tuesday evening, May 28, the club will hold its year-end celebration – Changing of the Guard – as the new 2019-2020 Board is installed and the old 2018—2019 Guard is retired.

On the evening of May 28, the club will experience the Changing of the Guard as President Ed Anderson and the 2018-2019 Board turns over leadership to the incoming 2019-2020 Board. It has been a year of great accomplishments and much to be celebrated.

The Sun Lakes Rotary Club meets in the Sun Lakes Oakwood Country Club Ballroom. For visitors, your first visit is on us. To let us know you are coming, contact Jon Lyons at 602-769-7462.