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Bret McKeand
Oct 19, 2023
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Bret McKeand
Oct 02, 2023
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Bret McKeand
Oct 02, 2023
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Bret McKeand
Oct 02, 2023
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Peoria North
Welcome to Peoria North Rotary Club
Peoria North

People of Action

We meet In Person
Wednesdays at 6:00 PM
The Links Neighborhood Grill
18823 N. Country Club Drive
Peoria, AZ 85383
United States of America
Peoria North is meeting in person with a Zoom/virtual option.
Home Page Stories
District 5495 Governor Kevin Pitts made his official club visit on Jan. 17, 2024 at the Links Restaurant. DG Kevin shared his Rotary experiences and explained how involvement in Rotary provides opportunities for Rotarians to impact their communities and change the world.
In honor of Kevin's visit, the Peoria North Rotary Club announced that $500 would be donated in Kevin's name to The Rotary Foundation's annual fund.
The Peoria North Rotary Club has launched its first-ever educational scholarship to be granted to a graduating Peoria Unified School District high school student.
The George and Willi Wheeler Scholarship will be presented for the first time in 2024. The scholarship is available to all students who currently attend a PUSD high school or Mountain Ridge High School.
The object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise. The scholarship will recognize high school students who demonstrate strong leadership skills that include opportunities to serve humanity.
The Rotary scholarship may be used for any school-related payments such as tuition, books, software and/or equipment at any accredited college, university, vocational school, or certificate program.
The scholarship is named after two long-time club members: George and Willi Wheeler. George was a founding member of the Peoria North Rotary Club and a former Arizona Rotary District Governor. He passed away in 2022.
The Wheelers were strong supporters of education and instrumental in organizing a variety of club projects aimed at promoting literacy. The club recognizes Students of the Month at several Peoria high schools and has sponsored several book drives to benefit Peoria schools.
For the past 10 years, a signature project of the club is to purchase and distribute dictionaries to every third-grade student in the Peoria Unified School District.
“All during their dedicated careers in Rotary, the Wheelers traveled to many countries to distribute schoolbooks, administer the polio vaccine, provide computers to schools and bringing goodwill to underprivileged children,” said Steve Matthews, president of the Peoria North Rotary Club.
“Their dedication to helping children is the reason the George and Willi Scholarship was founded. It is Rotary’s desire to help as many students as possible to achieve an education and eventually hoping to eliminate poverty throughout the world.”
The deadline to apply for the 2024 scholarship is Jan. 31, 2024. The application can be found at
For additional information, email the club at
Peoria North Rotary Club once again "adopted" families whose children attend Alta Loma Elementary School in Peoria. Club members purchased toys, clothing and other items for children ages 4-14 to help spread holiday cheer during the holidays. Past President Jason Braunstein delivered the donations to the school several days before Christmas.
The Peoria North Rotary Club once again supported Wreaths Across America, a national campaign that aims to place a wreath on the grave of every United State veteran. In Arizona, the club purchased and placed wreaths on the National Veterans Cemetery in North Phoenix.
Club members joined literally thousands of other volunteers at the cemetery on Dec. 16 to take part in a ceremony honoring our nation's veterans, and to lay wreaths on the graves. According Lee Smith of Wreaths Across America, 2023 was the most successful and memorable National Wreaths Across America Day in history at Arizona National Cemetery. In all, 18,000 wreaths were placed on graves, covering nearly 25% of the graves at the cemetery.
Volunteers are needed for Wreath Retirement Day on Jan 6, 2024 at 9:00 am.
The event details are posted on the FB WAA page. A record number of wreaths will require a record number of volunteers to honorably retire the wreaths. Carts, wagons, poles and other carry devices are allowed and encouraged to expedite the cleanup process.
A short Wreath Retirement Ceremony and briefing will be held at 9:00 am in the front of the stage. Park near the visitor center in the center of the cemetery.
Volunteers will not be picking up anything other than the live WAA wreaths. All other items will be left in place. Gloves and water are recommended.
The club is sad to announce the passing of our friend, Susan Fitzgerald, the wife of Past District Governor Chuck Fitzgerald.
Chuck is a current member of The Rotary Club of Peoria North, and Susan was a long-time member of The Rotary Club of Peoria.
Susan Piattoni Fitzgerald, 70, died on December 8, 2023, after a four-year battle with breast cancer. With family members by her side, she passed into glory in her home in Peoria, Arizona.
Born in Melrose Park, Illinois, on March 10, 1953, she was the daughter of Fred and Mary Piattoni. She graduated from Northern Illinois University with a degree in Education. She worked in technology for 25 years before starting her own marketing company in 2000.
Susan was a member of Vineyard Church North Phoenix, the Peoria Rotary Club, Executive Women International, and the Northwest Women’s Network. She enjoyed cooking, hiking, dogs, and, most of all, serving others. She is remembered as a peacemaker who loved Jesus and loved people.
She is survived by her husband of thirty-one years, Chuck Fitzgerald, her mother, Mary Piattoni, sister Lauren (Tom) Piattoni, brothers Gary and Louie Piattoni; children Beth (Jody) Webb, Andy (Benita) Fitzgerald, Tricia (Darrell) Free; grandchildren AJ, Wyatt, Alyssa, Sarah, Justin, Carter, Marley, Ian; nephews Adam Piattoni-Kapaun, Marcus and Luca Piattoni. Her father, Fred Piattoni, predeceased her.
Susan’s funeral service will be held on Friday, December 29, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. at Vineyard Church North Phoenix, 6250 W. Peoria Avenue in Glendale, Arizona. A private graveside service will immediately follow.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations for supporting the vulnerable in the community may be made to Vineyard Community Charities, 6250 West Peoria Avenue, Glendale, Arizona 85302, or at
For additional information, visit:
Help Peoria North Rotary Club observe National Wreaths Across America Day on Dec. 16, 2023, by honoring our nation’s veterans.
Once again, our club is participating in National Wreaths Across America Day and members can help by purchasing a wreath that will be placed on a veteran’s grave at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona.
Wreaths may be purchased online, and $5 of every wreath purchased is returned to the club. Visit  to purchase a wreath.
Club members are also invited to volunteer on Dec. 16 to place the wreaths on the graves of Arizona veterans. Contact Jason with additional questions.
Here is the updated timeline for Saturday Dec. 16th, 2023 at Arizona National Cemetery:
  • 8:00am - Gates Open
  • 8:30am - Wreath Escort Arrives
  • 10:00am - Ceremony starts (Wreath Placement following the Ceremony)
Family and Friends attending to place wreaths for loved ones will have a special wreath pick-up area this year. We have a team of volunteers dedicated to this very special mission for 2023!
**We have designated Handicap and Family Only parking areas inside the cemetery. Parking Volunteers will direct you accordingly.
**If you are interested in volunteering to assist with parking or wreath arrival, please send me an email.
Wreath Retirement Day will be Saturday Jan. 6th, 2024 at 9:00am. More volunteers are always appreciated!
Please send me a direct email at: for any issues ordering or questions. 
Thank you very much for supporting AZNMCP - National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona. Please click More Information for more about our mission to Remember, Honor, and Teach.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving! Hoping your Thanksgiving is filled with blessings and joy!
Tune into Wreaths Across America Radio to hear informational and inspiring content about members of the U.S. armed forces, their families, military veterans, and volunteers throughout the country and overseas who support the mission to REMEMBER, HONOR, and TEACH.
Peoria North Rotary Club will hold its 2023 Holiday Party December 9 at Briarwood Country Club, 20800 N. 135th Ave., Sun City West, Arizona starting at 5 p.m. 
Cost is $55, which includes tax and tip. Treasurer Tammy will bill all those who RSVP, and the amount will be included in your January club dues invoice. 
Dinner will be served buffet style. The menu is:
* Assorted rolls
* house salad with ranch or raspberry vinaigrette dressing
* pot roast
* turkey
* mashed potatoes 
* green beans almondine
* cranberry sauce 
* dessert is an ice cream bar
Please contact Margaret Fried by email or text 732-552-6531 so we can get a proper count of how many will be attending.
Thank you and looking forward to seeing you on December 9th.
Peoria North Rotary Club has recognized Students of the Month at five area high schools.
Above, during a ceremony held Nov. 17 at Ironwood High School, students from four high schools were honored. From left, Darlene Eger, club Youth Chair; Maryam Gorgees and Jaydee Gelleos from Peoria High School; Ivy Nguyen and Luis Morales from Peoria Flex HS; Kenzie Frey and Te'Ana Moore from Centennial; Noah Gifft and Kenneth Armstrong from Ironwood; PNRC member Dave Evans.
During the club's Nov. 15 meeting, two students from Mountain Ridge High School were recognized at Students of the Month. From left, Liesa Shepherd (September), Isabella Perry (October). Paige Keaton, August student of the month, was unable to attend.
District 5495 Governor-elect Michelle Holcomb was celebrated during the Saturday evening Gala Dinner at this year's Zone 26/27 Institute held Nov. 11 in San Diego. PNRC members Bret McKeand, Darlene Eger and Margaret Fried were on hand to support Michelle, who will take over as D5495 Governor on July 1, 2024.
Three members of the Peoria North Rotary Club attended the recent Zone 26/27 Institute in San Diego, and in the process had the opportunity to meet and visit with Rotary International President-Elect Stephanie Urchick.
PDG Bret McKeand, Darlene Eger and Margaret Fried attended the institute. For Darlene and Margaret, it was their first institute. This year's Zone Institute was held Nov. 10-12 at the Town & Country Resort in San Diego.
The institute kicked off earlier in the week with several days of training specifically for the district governors-elect and district governors-nominee for the 30 districts that make up Rotary Zones 26 and 27. The highlight of the institute is a gala on Saturday, which features the graduation and celebration of all 30 district governors-elect. Michelle Holcomb is district governor-elect and will serve as district governor in 2024-25.
Stephanie Urchick will be Rotary International's second-ever female president. She will serve as RI President in 2024-25. She is a member of the Rotary Club of McMurray, Pennsylvania.
Peoria North Rotary Club was well represented at the 2023 Mexico-USA Friendship Conference held Oct. 26-29 in Prescott. Club members PDG Sara Jane Feldman and PDG Bret McKeand attended the conference and committed club support to four international projects.
The club committed $500 to four individual projects, for a total commitment of $2,000. Fourteen projects were presented during the conference, with seven projects walking away fully funded.
During the conference, Sara Jane Feldman and her late husband, PDG Marty, were recognized for their role in formation and early success of the conference two decades ago.
Photos and a full report on the projects funded can be found on the district website, as well as copies of the presentations for each made at the conference. Click HERE.
PNRC members Darlene Eger and Margaret Fried shared photos and stories of their trip this past May to Melbourne, Australia to attend the 2023 Rotary International Convention. The convention was the first Rotary convention either of them had attended. They shared stories of their visits to historic places in Australia, and photos of the convention -- including the House of Friendship, breakout sessions and general sessions. The stories of Rotary projects and the opportunity to meet Rotarians from throughout the world was an adventure both of them found heartwarming and inspirational. They brought back gifts for the members and presented President Steve with an official Rotary convention banner.
The Rotary Club of Peoria North joined the Rotary Club of Sun City in presenting a combined grant to Theater Works, the popular and widely acclaimed community theater located at the Peoria Performing Arts Center in downtown Peoria. The two clubs donated a total of $7,000 to Theater Works, to be used to support youth education programs at the theater. Presenting the grant to Theater Works at a recent Sun City Rotary Club meeting were, from left, Chris Hamby, C.W. McMillin Executive Director of Theater Works, Paul Pederson, director of patron development, PNRC Club President Steve Matthews, Sun City Rotary Club President Phil Ladd, and Sun City Rotary Club Treasurer Mike Zongolowicz.
Peoria North Rotary Club held its second annual fashion show fundraiser Oct. 18 at Palmbrook Country Club. Attendees enjoyed the latest fashions from Calle Rose -- all modeled by Rotarians and spouses. See photos from the event in a specially created photo album. Click here.
The Peoria North Rotary Club gathered recently to prepare thousands of dictionaries to be distributed to every third-grade student in the Peoria Unified School District. Club members placed decals in each dictionary that promotes the Rotary Four-Way Test, and then prepared boxes for distribution to each school. The dictionary project -- an annual project of the club for over 10 years -- is partially funded by a district grant.
The Peoria North Rotary Club welcomed two new members during its Sept. 28 club meeting. Transferring to Peoria North from the Rotary Club of Peoria are Past District Governor Chuck Fitzgerald and Kathleen Hurley. Past President Jason Braunstein conducted the club meeting and presented the certificates to Chuck and Kathleen.
The club recognized its first Peoria Unified School District Students of the Month for the new school year during a special ceremony held Sept. 22 in the cafeteria at Centennial High School. Club President Steve Matthews and member Dave Evans presented the students with a $100 stipend and notice of a wheelchair to be presented in their name to a disabled citizen in Mexico. From left: Vincent Lageschulte and Rachel Kohm from Ironwood High School; Kage Dean from Peoria Flex High School; Brian Liang and Lian Mitchell from Centennial High School; Julius Gerre and Priscilla Nunez from Peoria High School.
President Steve Matthews officially welcomed Dave Evans and Eric Hayes as Peoria North Rotary Club's newest members during our Sept. 20 club meeting. Both are long-time Rotarians and recently moved over to Peoria North from The Rotary Club of Peoria, which recently closed. Eric has served as the Peoria club's president for the past three years. The two are among several Peoria club members who are transferring to Peoria North.
The Glendale Elementary School District each month recognizes a business or organization in the community for its strong support of students and for September, the district recognized Peoria North Rotary Club's Prom Closet community service project. A district official surprised members of The Prom Closet Planning Committee during its September meeting and presented the group with a certificate of thanks.
The GESD "Champion of Our Students" certificate reads: "Thank you for all your hard work and dedication. We are so grateful to be part of this amazing program. Thank for bringing so much joy to our students and community.
The Prom Closet Committee consists of, from left, Sandra Eng, Maura Gill-Millette, Sharon Jarnagin, Bret McKeand and Gina Schmitz. The 2024 Prom Closet is scheduled for the first two weekends of April 2024 at the Glendale System of Care Center, 7677 W. Bethany Home Road, Glendale. For information, visit
Ric Harrison was our guest speaker at the Sept. 13 meeting. Ric volunteers with a nonprofit organization that works with the Peoria Police Department to enhance community relations and provides support for the department by purchasing supplies and needed equipment. Joanna Conde, the club's program chair, thanked Mr. Harrison for his presentation and shared a book that will be donated in his name to a local library.
Kathleen Hurley spoke to the club on Aug. 16 and shared with the club her experiences with fostering injured animals and nursing them back to good health so they can be adopted. Kathleen works with a nonprofit fostering organization in Peoria and she explained how volunteering to help foster animals can be a fun and very rewarding experience. Programs chair Joanna Conde thanked Kathleen for speaking to the club by presenting her with a book that will be donated in her name to a local school library.
Rotary Theme for 2023-2024
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