All posts by klujan

Second annual Santa Clothes Project to assist 50 local disadvantaged youth

The Rotary Club of Monrovia will once again be helping out local children in need for the holiday season. On December 7th, 50 disadvantaged children identified by Santa Anita Family Services will get a special treat this holiday season. Through the assistance of the Rotary Club of Monrovia, Kohl’s and Wells Fargo, the 50 students will get the opportunity to shop for new clothing and shoes. Each child will be paired with a Monrovia High School Interact Club member, adult Rotarian, or adult Wells Fargo staff member to assist with their shopping and will be able to purchase $125 worth of school appropriate clothing.

This is the second year that the Rotary Club of Monrovia has offered the Santa Clothes project to less fortunate children in the Monrovia area. Last year the program was able to assist 30 children with $120 each and we are very happy to be able to extend the benefit to 50 children this year at $125 each.  Monrovia Rotarian Karen Lujan stated “I was personally able to assist two children last year to pick out clothes and shoes and it was one of the most rewarding things I haven done all year. The parents were so appreciative of the program and the kids faces beamed as they showed us all their purchases (some even wearing them out of the store).”

Tax deductible donations (501(c)3 EID: 51-0656409) are being accepted online for the Santa Clothes project to help fund more children at Please help if you are able to. Just click on the button with the Santa hat to help contribute to this great project. The more money we can raise, the more kids we can assist this holiday season.

Message from Rotary International President Ron Burton Regarding Philippines Disaster Relief

Dear fellow Rotarians:

As we all know, on November 8th the worst recorded storm to make landfall flattened entire coastal towns and villages in the Philippines. Thousands of people were killed and hundreds of thousands more are struggling to survive without access to food, water, and shelter.

I know we all want to help. I am urging our clubs to take action to provide emergency aid now and begin planning for the future when we can help rebuild homes, schools, and businesses. While Rotary is not an emergency disaster-relief organization, we are in the business of helping people in need. Every one of our six areas of focus is affected when disasters of this size occur.

I saw first-hand the difference Rotarians can make after one of the deadliest tornadoes on record tore through communities in my home state of Oklahoma. The widespread destruction was heartbreaking. Almost immediately after the storm, Rotarians were out in force cleaning debris, collecting food and water, and comforting families who lost everything. The Rotary clubs in the affected areas showed perseverance and strength. We helped pick up the pieces and build them back up.

What really moved me was the support and compassion from clubs around the world. In the face of calamity, we were not alone. Rotary’s collective spirit is the essence of how we Engage Rotary and Change Lives.

Rotary partner ShelterBox has committed aid for thousands of families in the form of emergency shelter and other relief assistance. They were already in the Philippines when the typhoon hit providing aid to families who lost homes in the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck the Philippines in September.

Such disasters are the reason why we entered into our partnership with ShelterBox. On Friday, I visited their website and sponsored a ShelterBox to help a family in need, and I encourage you to do the same if you’re able to do so – any level of support will help to change lives for the better. The organization welcomes help from Rotary members to identify need and provide support. You can contact them at

We have more than 21,000 Rotary members in the Philippines. The hardest hit areas include Districts 3860, 3850, and 3830. We are working with our governors in the affected areas to determine what type of support will be most effective, and we will continue to provide updates on

I know I can count on Rotarians around the world to come to the aid of our friends in the Philippines. If you have any questions about how you can help, please write to
Thank you.

Ron Burton

Judy Ryan (Yoder) Thomas passed away on Tuesday, November 5, 2013.

Judy was very connected to our club and was an honorary member, club secretary for many years, and her husband, Art Thomas, is a devoted member of our club.

Prior to her marriage to Art, Judy was the wife of PDG William (Billy) Ryan 1982-83. Judy created a scholarship in Billy’s memory entitled, “The Billy Ryan Athletic Scholarship” which is awarded annually to a football player from Monrovia High School.

Visitation – Friday, November 15th – 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Zook’s Mortuary

Memorial Service – Saturday, November 16th – 1 p.m. with reception to follow at 1st Presbyterian Church

Monrovia Rotary Honors Detro Sells and Herb Hezlep for over 50 years of Service

The Rotary Club of Monrovia will honor two of its longstanding members on Tuesday November 5, 2013 at Cafe Opera in Monrovia.  Herb Hezlep and Detro Sells each have over 50 years of service to the Monrovia community as members of the Monrovia Rotary club.  Below is a brief bio of each member being honored:

Herb Hezlep:

Herbert Hezlep has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1950, he joined his father’s small hardware manufacturing company, Acme General Corporation, which eventually was expanded from its base in Monrovia, California, to Canada and Europe. Herb served as executive vice president, president, and chairman of the board before retiring in 1988. Active in his community, he has served as president and board member of the YMCA of Monrovia and board member of Huntington Medical Research Institutes in Pasadena.

Herb followed in his father’s footsteps, joining the Rotary Club of Monrovia in 1958. He became club president in 1964-65, district Group Study Exchange chair in 1967-68, and district conference chair in 1973. Herb has been an active supporter of the Group Study Exchange program over the years and considers it his favorite Rotary Foundation program.

Herb and Elizabeth have been married for over 57 years. They have four children, four grandchildren, and one great-grandson. Liz is a retired society editor for the local newspaper and remains active with the Luminaires, a support group for the Doheny Eye Institute. Herb and Liz support The Rotary Foundation through the Herb Hezlep Endowed Fund.

Detro Sells:

Detro Sells was inducted into Rotary Club of Monrovia in 1962 and served as President in 1982-1983.

He graduated from Williamsport, Indiana high school and moved to Detroit looking for work.  There he met Bliss, and they were married in 1941.  When WW II came to the USA, Detro joined the Marines. An exceptional marksman, he was ultimately assigned to the defending headquarters unit for Admiral Nimitz of the United States Navy.  His unit served in Hawaii and Guam and other locations.  Bliss had returned to Indiana while Detro finished his tour of duty.

After the war, Detro and Bliss traded their home and furnishings in Williamsport for a 1947 Pontiac and trailer and headed west.  They arrived in California in 1949, staying first with relatives in Temple City.  Work after the war was very difficult to find but Detro had some skill working on radio cabinets.

During a job search he heard about California Furniture in Monrovia.  He and Bliss visited the town and found ‘an open city with people out and about.’  Detro met the owner of California Furniture, a Rotarian named Neil Hunter.  Neil offered Detro a job paying $55 a week; a few years (and hopefully a few raises) later, Detro became a partner in the firm.  After Hunter’s retirement, Detro and Bliss opened Sells Furniture at 627 S. Myrtle in 1960, and in 1962 Detro joined The Rotary Club of Monrovia sponsored by Neil Hunter.  Sells Furniture prospered until Detro’s own retirement at age 75, in 1997.

In addition to his term as President of the Rotary Club of Monrovia, Detro was President of the Monrovia Chamber of Commerce in 1976 and also served as Chairman of the Monrovia Merchants Association.

Bliss was ‘a jewel’ among the Rotary Anns, organizing blood drives for the Red Cross as well as bake sales and numerous club events.  Detro’s favorite quote at his demotion was from Past District Governor and fellow Monrovia Rotarian George Carlson:  “Detro, I don’t know whether to give this award [The George Carlson Award] to you or to Bliss.”

Detro and Bliss, married since 1941, have been a team of professional success for years.  Detro and Bliss were blessed with four daughters:  Georgia Jean; twins Sandra Leigh and Susan Marie; and Lana Gail.  They have grandchildren and great grandchildren that can’t be counted on fingers and toes.