Kristine Schultz and Gary Whiting
Back in 1985, Chandler Rotarian Andre Felix posted an ad on the Sun Lakes clubhouse bulletin board. Wayne Johnson, who had just moved to Sun Lakes from Moline, Ill., spotted the ad. A week later, he and seven now-retired Sun Lakes Rotary members met with Andre. They agreed the fast-growing Sun Lakes active adult community needed its own Rotary club.
On April 22, 1986, the Sun Lakes Rotary Club was founded and officially chartered with 20 members.
The club grew to 140 members by 2000-01 and was recognized by Rotary International as one of the 50 largest clubs in Rotary World. Rotary celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2004-05, the same year Past Club President Gary Whiting was selected as Arizona Rotary District 5510 Centennial Governor, overseeing 46 Rotary clubs and 1,648 members in the Northeastern part of Arizona.
Wayne Johnson, still active today and the club’s only charter member, says if you want to stay young, get involved with your passion. For him, that’s contributing to your community through Rotary.
So … what is Rotary? Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change—across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves. Solving real problems takes real commitment and vision.
Our mission and vision is to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through our fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders.
As Rotary members, we believe in a shared responsibility to take action on our world’s most persistent issues. Our 35,000-plus clubs work together to promote peace, fight disease; provide clean water, sanitation, and hygiene; save mothers and children; support education; and grow local economies.
For the Sun Lakes Rotary Club, that means supporting diverse local and global projects including, but not limited to, our local Salvation Army, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, the Dictionary Project, where every Chandler school district third-grader receives a dictionary, Chandler Care Center, AZCEND, Polio Plus, and Project Healing Waters.
During the current fiscal year, Sun Lakes Rotary has donated $65,218 to local and global charities and projects, holding fundraisers and adding events each year. Our annual golf tournament and pancake breakfast are the most well-known. At 88 members strong, there is always room for those with a passion for the four-way test that Rotary upholds:
1. Is it the rruth?
2. Is it fair to all concerned?
3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
In April, Stephen Phair was named Rotarian of the Month, and justifiably so! Currently club vice president, he will become president elect on July 1, and then president for Rotary year 2022-23.
Stephen co-hosts and records our weekly Zoom Club meeting, publishing a link for members to view at their convenience. An active member of the Membership Committee, Stephen also has been a key member of the team that developed the Rotary Rally which was held on April 10 at Sisk Park. Stephen has a regular Splash route each month, too! On the Education Committee, he has worked with elementary school students on STEM efforts. We are very glad to have Stephen Phair as a club officer and leader!