Tag Archives: news

Monrovia Rotary & Action on Film Fesival Screening “BEHIND THE GATE” AUG. 23, 4PM

Action on Film will present a showing of “Behind the Gate”, a documentary film which examines the changes in the Horse Racing Industry.  Narrated by Joe Pesci, the film also features some of the biggest names in the industry, many of them local to the San Gabriel Valley, including Oscar De La Hoya, Bob Baffert, Doug O’Neill, Laffit Pincay and Gary Stevens, and many others.

The screening on Saturday August 23, 2014 at 4pm at the Krikorian Theater in Monrovia will benefit the Monrovia Rotary Club’s community service projects, including Santa Clothes, Essay, Music & Speech Contests, Camp sponsorships for 8th and 11th graders, Interact Club at Monrovia High School, as well as contributing to worthy local organizations such as Boys & Girls Club, “Yes” Program through City of Monrovia, Girl and Boy Scouts, Santa Anita Family YMCA and many more. See a more complete listing at www.monroviarotary.com

Tickets may be purchased at
for $15/person.

Local Monrovia Students Win Awards at Rotary District 5300 Conference

On Saturday, May 17, 2014,  Rotary District 5300 held its annual George Hensel Ethics Speech and 4-Way Test Essay Contests in Palms Springs, CA. Two local Monrovia high school students won awards in each contest.

Sarah Noor (an 11th grader at MHS) took home the grand prize of first place in the The George Hensel Ethics Essay Contest and won $3000.00.

Madeline Currey (also an 11th grader at MHS) was runner up in the 4-Way Speech Contest and received $1100.00.

Both students competed with students from almost 60 other Rotary Clubs across Southern California and Southern Nevada.

In addition to sponsoring these two contests, Monrovia Rotary sends 8th and 11th graders to leadership camp each year. It has also awarded a total of $10,000.00 to seniors from Monrovia High School, Canyon Oaks and Mountain Park.

Monrovia Rotary Club recognizes the importance of helping students become leaders in the community.


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 rotaryrequest@shelterbox.org.

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 www.rotary.org.

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 relief@rotary.org.
Thank you.

Ron Burton

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.

Promote Your Business, Have Fun, and Help Your Community All at the Same Time!

Howdy Cowboys and Cowgirls!! It’s time for the Second Annual Monrovia Rotary Club Old West BBQ & Casino Night. The event is September 7, 2013 from 6-9 at the Monrovia Community Center. It is a fun filled evening for everyone to come together and raise money.

As members of the Rotary Club of Monrovia, we are dedicated to helping our local community through volunteer service, fundraising and providing assistance to those in need. However, we need your help. It is only with the financial support of our community that Rotary is able to consistently accomplish significant projects including, but not limited to: providing thousands of dollars each year in college and vocational scholarships, sponsoring the Santa Clothes program (providing local at need families with school clothes for the upcoming year), and supporting Monrovia Reads, School Tutoring, the Foothill Unity Center, the Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA, and many more.

This event is a great way to network and meet a larger portion of the community. Last year 150 people attended and we are working hard to have higher participation this year. There are 3 great ways to promote your business through this event.

  1. Event Sponsorship – There are a few great sponsorship options, that also include tickets to the event!! See the attached Sponsorship Flyer or go to http://www.monroviarotaryevents.com/Sponsorship.html for more information.
  2. Silent Auction Donation – Promote your business by donating an item/gift certificate from your business or just donate a gift basket. Any donated items will be advertised at the event as donated from you and/or your business. Contact Courtney Oberndorf (703) 953-8321 to pick up items or drop them off at Dr. Domotor’s Animal House in Monrovia anytime.
  3. COMING TO THE EVENT!!! – You can purchase tickets at http://www.monroviarotaryevents.com/tickets.html

The event is September 7th, 2013 at the Monrovia Community Center. Tickets are $70 each and include dinner, 4 drink tickets, and 250 playing chips. There will be entertainment, food, and a photo booth! What more can you ask for?

We hope to see you all for an amazing night of fun, fellowship and fundraising for our community!

Support for Moore, Oklahoma

Rotary International Districts 5770 and 5750 are supporting the relief and recovery efforts related to the tragic events in Moore, Oklahoma, and the destruction from the tornado that hit there on May 20. Many families and friends have suffered great loss. It is estimated that there were between 12,000 and 13,000 homes destroyed or damaged, in addition to businesses and schools.

Tax-deductible donations to help in those efforts are being accepted. Those who would like to help by donating may send checks to

Oklahoma Rotary
Bi-District Tornado Disaster Fund
P.O. Box 13800
Oklahoma City OK 73113-3800 USA

Contributions may also be done online using VISA, MasterCard or Discover by clicking the “Donate Now” link below:


Funds received by our Rotary Bi-District 501(c)3 Foundation will be used exclusively for the benefit of those affected by this terrible event. Donations are tax deductible and all donations will be acknowledged.

The effort in helping the community and individuals who have been affected by these destructive forces is being coordinated by leaders from Rotary District 5770 (which includes Moore and Cleveland County) and Rotary District 5750 (which includes south Oklahoma City), and will work in conjunction with and in support of the Moore Rotary Club and local and state officials.

This information is also available at the District 5770 Web Site.

Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, and support.

Promoting Peace through Service,

Phil Moss
Governor, 2012-13
Rotary International District 5770

Celebrating 90 Years of Service

The organizational meeting for a new Rotary Club in Monrovia was held on June 22, 1922 at the offices of the Southern Counties Gas Company, 114 E. Lemon Avenue in Monrovia. This historic location still exists in Old Town Monrovia. This was after it had been determined that there was a sufficient level of interest in a new club and enough individuals who would qualify as charter members. Application was made to Rotary International for a new club in Monrovia, and the Rotary Club of Pasadena was the sponsor. The application was approved by Rotary International, and the club’s charter was issued October 24, 1922. Monrovia Rotary was Club #1269 in the Rotary World. The first president was Walter E. Keefe, District Manager for the Southern Counties Gas Company. The last surviving charter member, Dr. William G. Barks, died November 24, 1967 after being a member for forty-five years.

Over the years, Monrovia Rotary has been honored to provide two district governors for our district: George Carlson and William “Billy” Ryan. The former is now memorialized with an award presented annually to a member of the club who has provided outstanding contributions to the betterment of the club, while the latter is memorialized with a scholarship presented annually to an outstanding scholar-athlete at Monrovia High School.

The fist civic project attempted by the Club was the erection of a band shell in Library Park in Monrovia. The band shell was constructed during the 1927-1928 Rotary Year. While it has been moved from its original location, the band shell still serves its intended purpose in the park. New signage to be installed in October of 2012 will now prominently identify the band shell’s Rotary origins. Also during the 1927-1928 Rotary Year, the Monrovia club sponsored the formation of the Rotary Club of Arcadia.

The next notable civic project of the club was the conversion of an abandoned reservoir site at the corner of Lime and California Avenues into an attractive neighborhood park. The vacant land was landscaped, and playground equipment was purchased and installed by the club. The renovated corner has been known since 1969 as “Rotary Park”

Responding to a desire to honor those from Monrovia who gave their lives in the Vietnam conflict, the club under the leadership of President Rob Hammond provided the funding for a memorial in Library Park bearing the names of those who perished. The monument was dedicated May 27, 1996.

The construction of a new public library in Monrovia inspired the Club under the leadership of President Mary Ann Lutz to establish a fund for the purpose of helping to furnish the new building once it was completed. Several years of fundraising activities allowed the Club to assist with the innovative furnishings of the “Cozy Corner” in the children’s wing of the new library. The area has been a favorite of young library patrons since the library opened in 2009.

While not visible to the general public, “Fort Rotary” at the Trask Scout Camp in the mountains above Monrovia enhances the camp experience of those scouts who spend time there. A joint venture with the Rotary Club of Arcadia, the project was designed and constructed by Rotary volunteers.

Additional civic projects include a drinking fountain in the alley of the 600 Block of S. Myrtle Avenue, and the scoreboard at the Mary Wilcox Youth Center.

Monrovia Rotary has participated in several international service projects in addition to local projects: a water well in Africa, construction at Valle de Las Palmas in Mexico, a house for a deserving family in Tijuana, school supplies for children in South Africa, and wheelchairs for those who cannot afford them in Mexico. The project with the broadest scope has been participating in Rotary International’s goal, with the assistance of the Gates Foundation, of eradicating polio throughout the world. Members of the Monrovia Club have given generously to this ongoing project, and the goal is now within reach. All Rotarians would like to see polio join smallpox as a disease banished from the face of the earth.

There has always been a strong relationship between Monrovia Rotary and the students in Monrovia’s public schools. In addition to providing academic achievement awards to deserving students at Monrovia’s two middle schools, the Club provides numerous scholarships to graduating seniors at Monrovia High School as well as Canyon Oaks and Mountain Park Alternative Schools. Monrovia Rotary also supports the Monrovia Adult School with financial assistance for specific areas of vocational training.

Rotary’s motto has been “Service above Self” almost since 1905 when Rotary was founded in Chicago. The members of the Rotary Club of Monrovia are grateful for ninety years of service to our community and for the dedication of individual club members that has made our service projects possible.

Steve Baker
Executive Secretary
October 10, 2012

Rotary Club May 12, 1925

Wilbur A Treadwell, Pres Monrovia Rotary,George Carlson – June 29, 1957 (Milton K. Bell Photographer)


Pictured at right: C.F. Davis, W.G. Banks

Just What is Rotary Anyway?

Many people have heard of Rotary but many do not know what a service club is or what Rotary does. I thought for this blog, I would help explain who we are, a little about what we do and why we do it. Who best to explain than our current President, Julie Roybal. I asked Julie to explain a little about the Rotary Club of Monrovia and why she joined Rotary. This is what she said:

“I am so excited, nervous and elated to be President of what I feel is the greatest service club of the foothills. I have learned a lot over the past four years that I have been a member of Rotary about the organization and it’s potential. My family, Gene and Elizabeth Roybal raised me to always think of others before myself and to do it with a SMILE or else! Jokingly, it truly became a way of life for me, my sister Gina, and my brother Martin. I was first introduced to Rotary by E. Eugene Orlowsky, D.C., a very active member of the San Marino Rotary Club. I worked with Dr. Orlowsky for almost twenty years and he inspired me to serve the community following Rotary’s motto “Service Above Self”. I later left working with Dr. Orlowsky to build my insurance business. I was brought to the Rotary Club of Monrovia by Councilman Tom Adams. He introduced me to the members and got me familiar with the goals and direction of our club. I am so proud and appreciative to have him as my sponsor.

Rotary clubs are made of business owners and community leaders that share a common interest in the betterment of their community and the world. This is accomplished in cities all over the globe as Rotary is an International organization. The Rotary Club of Monrovia was chartered in 1922 and therefore we will celebrate our 90th birthday this year! Membership consists of attending a weekly meeting and contributing to service projects both abroad and in our local community.

We currently have fifty-two members that meet weekly at Monrovian restaurant on Myrtle. We have a scheduled speaker each week that is typically a business person or organization representative that will speak to us about a topic of interest. It is informative and great to spend time with such a wonderful group of people that yearn to see change and work toward making it happen whether it is a small, medium or large size project.

PolioPlus is Rotary’s flagship program. By the time polio is eradicated, Rotary club members will have contributed US$850 million and countless volunteer hours to immunize more than two billion children in 122 countries. The Bill Gates Foundation has also contributed significant amounts of money to Rotary to support the challenge of eradicating polio.

Our club participates in local, domestic, and international projects. Internationally, we have helped organize and fund a water project in Malawi. Domestically, we have provided care packages for the U.S. Military serving in Iraq, and locally, we have done many things for Monrovia such as contributing to the children’s library furniture at the Monrovia Library that was a conjoined effort with the Monrovia Kiwanis Club. We donated the Rotary Bandshell many years ago for music behind the library. We have donated Rotary Park and the water fountain at the library. Our club also sends four Monrovia twelve-year-olds yearly to a Teen Leadership Camp, and sends twelve of our Monrovia seniors to a similar Leadership Camp called the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. We gave out scholarships the past year totaling $23,000. These things are accomplished through our members and our fundraiser that is done each year in September. This year we will have an “Old West” BBQ & Casino night on September 22 at the Monrovia Community Center. We have a fun evening planned with great food, drinks and games. Even some possible country line dances! We are very much so looking forward to raise our goal so that we can continue to make amazing contributions to our community.

We are a very social club as well. We have First Friday socials at local businesses to enjoy an appetizer / drink and to visit once a month. We are also planning to have Service Saturday’s every other month to assist local needs. Through Rotary I get to hear wonderful speakers, eat a good lunch, make new friends and network my business under the umbrella of changing things one day at a time. It is measurable and rewarding to know that you belong to an extraordinary group of people.

The projects we complete only scratch the surface of the work that we could accomplish if we had more members. We are looking for enthusiastic, community minded business and professional leaders to join us. If you or someone you know in our town would enjoy and desire to be a part of a group of people that work together to make a difference in the community and the world then please reach out to us by contacting me at 626-222-0571. You can also submit a request on our website and we will contact you to join us for a meeting. We will share more in-depth the projects and the requirements of membership. Thank you for your time and attention.”

SAVE THE DATE: Sept 22, 2012 is our “Old West” Casino Night and BBQ Fundraiser

September 22, 2012 from 6pm – 10pm
Hor D’oeuvres, Dinner, 4 Drink tickets, and 250 playing chips  – $70.00 per ticket
Monrovia Community Center  (Old West Attire)
119 W Palm Ave, Monrovia, CA 91016
Proceeds benefit the many projects of the Rotary Club of Monrovia, including (partial list):
  • College Scholarships for Monrovia Students
  • Vocational Scholarships
  • Youth Leadership Training
  • School Tutoring
  • Hermosillo Wheel Chair Project
  • Foothill Unity Center
  • Monrovia Reads
  • YMCA
  • (and many others)
…For information about the Monrovia Rotary Club ask any member or online at: http://www.rotaryclubofmonrovia.com
Join us for a fun-filled evening…
  • Casino games (black jack, roulette, and craps)
  • BBQ extravaganza, being prepared by Grill-Master Fil Lujan
  • Texas Hold’em tournament (sign up early, 20 seats available)
  • Great entertainment and line dancing
  • Silent Auction
  • Prizes, surprises and more
Call 626-824-2471 or to to http://www.monroviarotaryevents.com to reserve tickets