Rotary Club of Marana
A bittersweet meeting it was as we heard the news from past-President Tony Hunter that he has accepted a job with the State of Arizona in Phoenix and will be moving to the state capital in September. Tony will work as a government transformation officer, a similar position that he held with the town of Marana, only a larger scale. Tony’s last meeting with us will be next Tuesday, September 3.
Tony Hunter
Tony, a Marana Rotary member for five years, told us that it has been “amazing” to work and serve with our club. Tony will hand over the reins as Project Lead for our aid station at the El Tour de Tucson, as well a bunch of club supplies stored in his garage! Tony plans to stay involved in Rotary, but added, “This club is special.”
Well, this club thinks Tony is special. Our happy bucks reflected that sentiment as members expressed how happy they were for Tony and his wife and their new beginning in Phoenix. John Dooling, on the other hand wink turned his happy bucks to “sad” bucks because he won’t be able to have breakfast with Tony anymore and steal the bacon off Tony’s plate. In all seriousness, John said he was happy for Tony and wished him the best. Other gratitude bucks for the recovery of a friend from a heart attack (Harold) and an 8-foot by 12-foot by 5-foot moving “pod” filled with $70,000 worth (wow!) of in-kind donations of children’s clothing for needy families (Rachel).
Our guest speaker Jason Ayers from GAP Ministries explained about the start, growth, and extent of the faith-based, non-profit that serves the greater Tucson area. GAP began 20 years ago when Jason’s parents moved to Tucson and converted their garage into a food pantry and opened their home to foster a child.
Today, GAP is the largest foster care provider in southeastern Arizona with 10 group homes for about 100 foster children and teens. GAP also runs a 55,000 square-foot food warehouse that supplies food to 15-20 non-profits for distribution, and a “stuffs” warehouse that 30 non-profits “shop” to help support their individual missions.
“We do what we do because of our faith,” Jason said.
Additionally, GAP has a “second chance” program that offers full-time, 10-week training programs in auto mechanics and culinary arts. Both tracks provide skills-based training and certifications that help program graduates land jobs in their chosen trade. GAP’s commercial kitchen partners with Flowing Wells School District’s Title One schools to provide hot meals for the after school programs. The Gap Garage is a for-profit auto repair shop that funnels its profits back to GAP Ministries.
Several weeks ago, our fellow Rotarian John Dooling brought the club’s attention to GAP’s need to raise $500,000. Jason Ayers explained why there was a shortfall, and noted that since that appeal for funds, donations totaling $250,000 have cut GAP’s gap in half.
And on that positive note, the meeting was adjourned.
-- Submitted by Laura Clymer, secretary