PRESIDENT MARK IRVIN started the meeting and welcomed some of our visitors at the head table. They were honorary members including LEA MARQUEZ PETERSON, FLETCHER McCUSKER, KANDIE VACTOR, ROB DRAPER, CHUCK FREITAS and BEN HAWKINS. PRESIDENT MARK shared the solemn news that MITCH PISIK lost both his Father and Father-in-Law this past week. Our thoughts and prayers go out to MITCH and his family.
KURTIS DAWSON offered a great inspiration. He shared the quote by Margaret Mead, “Never Doubt That a Small Group Of Thoughtful Committed Citizens Can Change The World: Indeed It's The Only Thing That Ever Has.” Then, KURTIS brought the parallel comparison of how the Rio Nuevo Board, led by FLETCHER McCUSKER, has brought great change to our downtown Tucson.
ANN MARSH led us in the pledge and “America the Beautiful” accompanied by the talented KHRIS DODGE on keyboard. KHRIS then welcomed our guests. “Bring Your Competitor Day” seems to have been popular though our speaker always fills the house with such great insight on where downtown Tucson is headed. We had so many guests that they couldn’t be individually welcomed by the club with applause saved for the end.
PRESIDENT MARK introduced our meeting sponsor, RCOT Member and President & CEO of Visit Tucson, BRENT DeRAAD. BRENT let us know that visitors to Tucson bring $2.6 Billion to our economy. Thank you for the sponsorship BRENT! PRESIDENT MARK then introduced our speaker FLETCHER McCUSKER. FLETCHER noted that referring to MARK as President is a tough pill to swallow…all in fun of course. FLETCHER has been awarded State of Arizona Business Leader of the Year by Governor Doug Doucey. Well earned.
FLETCHER started his presentation with a quick history lesson of the impact of Rio Nuevo. Since 2012, Rio Nuevo has influenced over $2 Billion worth of investment into Tucson. He reviewed the various developments and projects that have taken place. It’s easy to see the impact by just walking or driving around Tucson. It’s a much better and vibrant downtown now than in 2012. FLETCHER noted that according to a analysis, Tucson Ranks #1 in the U.S. in Google Searches for “Homes for Sale.” None of the developments that were slated pre-pandemic have gone away. They are all moving forward and that’s great news.  FLETCHER also mentioned that there should be water flowing in the fountains directly to the north of the TCC. That will be a pleasant change from the past years. As always, FLETCHER’S presentation was very informative and offered great insight to what is in store for downtown Tucson. There is a lot of future activity being discussed and the future looks bright for Tucson!
We celebrated 3 birthdays. The first was for SALLY MONTAGNE and she brought a very special guest…ERNIE! It was great to see them and courageous of ERNIE to visit so quickly after brain surgery. SALLY was very, very grateful for the outpouring of support from not only the Rotary Club of Tucson, but from Rotary members all over the world. JIM WOOD was next to speak about his birthday. He’s going to lead the charge in bringing younger Rotarians to our club. Go JIM! Finally, PHIL GUTT was celebrating his birthday and shared a quote from Groucho Marx “I intend to live forever, or die trying.” Keep it going PHIL!
SCOTT VAUGHN and CHARLOTTE HARRIS were the presenters for two recent Paul Harris Award recipients. Joanie Clausen, wife of MONTE CLAUSEN received her award. Joanie walks 4 miles a day and is a world traveler. Eric Smith, husband of FAYE MORSE, received his award. Eric was noted as a professional skinner by SCOTT, but really, he was a professional skier years ago. We stood and welcomed both Eric and Joanie into the club of Paul Harris Award recipients.
KHRIS DODGE held a raffle and $1,500.00 was up for grabs. ROB DRAPER did not pull the King of Clubs and the big pot is still available. Soon, there will be a winner!
JIM LUBINSKI reminded us to ALL sign up for the Centennial Event that will happen on Sept. 25th and that the AZ Star Insert has been a great fundraising success. JONI CONDIT asked us to all sell tickets. We are 30% of our goal. We have committed $250,000 to JTED this year. So please, sell your tickets or ask PRESIDENT MARK how to do it if you’re not sure. We’re counting on YOU!
PRESIDENT MARK shared a slide of RCOT Member’s portraits who were wearing their Rotary Pins at the previous meeting. He also shared a couple of photos of giant trout caught in New Zealand as part of #Irv’s Fly-Fishing Fund. Then, MARK presented a stuffed Teddy Bear to MARIANNE and CHUCK FREITAS to give to their newborn grandbaby. BRUCE JACOBS shared a slide offering RCOT Centennial Apparel that is available to order up until Sept. 8th to order and you should have received an order form yesterday via email. Finally, CHRIS MOONEY told us that he’ll be taking portrait photos on Sept. 22nd, so be sure to look nice and comb your hair that day.
PRESIDENT MARK closed the meeting with a nice toast to our Honorary Members and special appreciation to FLETCHER and what he’s done for Tucson.