Fountain Hills Sister Cities hosted its annual general meeting for all members where we discussed successes from 2023 and plans for 2024.
January 2023: The FHSC General Meeting was held at Mountain View Kitchen, where the new 2023 board of directors was voted and confirmed. We gave thanks to Honorary Consul to El Salvador, Enrique Melendez, who served for many years in the role of Ataco chair for FHSC, and announced his retirement.
February 2023: A new Ataco chair, Byron Roman, was named along with new membership co-chairs Sascha and Rosa Janssen. Carol Carroll, former FH Sister Cities President and current board member responsible for FHSC representation to the state level, was named to the prestigious Lower Verde River Valley Hall of Fame for her exemplary work in our community.
March 2023: FH Sister Cities was nominated as nonprofit of the year for the Fountain Hills Chamber of Commerce May Gala. Although we did not win the award, we were proud to have participated.
April 2023: FH Sister Cities accepted a generous donation of $10,000 from the Verne Johnson Family Foundation. These funds will continue to support the outbound student exchange program experience for our Fountain Hills High School students.
May 2023: FH Sister Cities, in cooperation with the FH Sister Cities Advisory Commission, began the search for a fourth Sister City. Sadly, we mutually agreed to discontinue our relationship with Kasterlee, Belgium, a partnership that began 23 years ago.
June 2023: FH Sister Cities announced its annual membership and renewal drive as a part of our commitment to community outreach.
December 2023: FH Sister Cities officially ended its fund drive to support our sister city of Zamość with its efforts to help Ukrainian refugees. We thank our members, friends, and community partners who contributed. With your help, FH Sister Cities donated $45,000 to this worthy cause. The final $5,000 payment will be used to build a playground for school children in a neighboring Ukrainian community. Our deepest hopes are for a return to normal life there.
Looking forward, a trip to Ataco is planned in the spring. We are constructing a new funding campaign to help feed an aging group of residents there with nutritious nourishment packages. This effort will soften the effects of repeated natural disasters that has left many residents with unimaginable food insecurities.
Culture and Arts
January 2023: FH Sister Cities volunteers staffed our display booth at the Volunteer Expo hosted by the town of Fountain Hills.
February 2023: Joe Bill, President of the Dark Sky Discovery Center, and wife Nancy were guests at the monthly FHSC meeting. They gave an update on the progress of the planned Dark Sky Center in Fountain Hills. The FH Sister Cities Board approved a $1,000 donation on behalf of Jackie Miles, a former Sister Cities President.
March 2023: FH Sister Cities volunteers staffed the display tent at the ever-popular Fountain Hills Day event.
October 2023: October was officially recognized as German, Polish, and Hispanic Heritage month. Mayor Dickey issued proclamations in recognition of our Sister Cities in Dierdorf, Germany; Zamość, Poland; and Ataco, El Salvador.
Students and Educators
February 2023: The FH Sister Cities Board approved two $1,000 scholarships for qualified students pursuing foreign language or cultural education.
April 2023: FH Sister Cities recognized our Sister Cities friends at II High School in Zamość, Poland. A team of students there took first place in the nationwide “Faces of America” English Language Competition.
October 2023: A more peaceful world is a key FHSC mission. We have embraced this goal through student exchanges that began 25 years ago with our Sister City in Dierdorf, Germany. After a three-year hiatus due to Covid, we were honored to host 13 students and three chaperones from Dierdorf. New friendships began, cultural differences were discussed, and many practices we share in common were discovered. Fountain Hills students and their guests explored together the natural beauty of our neighboring attractions. FH Sister Cities proudly worked with project leaders at FH High School to develop and fund the interesting excursions.
In the fall of 2024, the FH High School students will travel to Germany for a taste of that culture. That trip will complete one of our most treasured bi-lateral exchanges.
November 2023: FH Sister Cities was proud to welcome special international guests from Poland: Zamość President Andrzej Wnuk, along with Mrs. Agnieszka Kowal (Director of Education for the Academy of Zamosc), and Mr. Jacek Pokoscielny (a local geographer and Radio Program Director). They were honored with a welcome reception at Town Hall at the November Council meeting. A second gathering was hosted by FHSC Vice President Elizabeth Horchem and Bogumil Horchem, Honorary Consul to Poland Emeritus, in their lovely home. Together with the Zamość delegation, we celebrated the incredibly successful funding campaign of the past three years, with the purpose of assisting with the myriad of humanitarian needs presented by the influx of Ukrainian refugees to Poland. The Zamość delegation participated in an informative visit around Fountain Hills. They also explored the many unique and wonderous sites of Arizona during their short stay.
Coincidentally, we discovered that Zamość is home to a Rotary Club similar to that found here in Fountain Hills. We took steps to coordinate a partnership with our local Four Peaks Rotary Club. This effort will only further strengthen the friendly bonds between our two communities.
The Sister Cities citizen diplomacy is working very well in our community.
September 2023: FH Sister Cities announced we would join local art historian Paola Vojnovic in a spectacular trip to historic Venice Italy. Participants will attend the much-anticipated Carnevale Celebration and tour famous and private points of interest. This memorable tour is scheduled for February 6-12, 2024.
FHSC Would Like to Recognize Its Premier Members
Richard Nueheisel, John & Linda Kavanaugh, Jean Linzer, Jackie Miles, Grady Miller, Gerald & Mary Comeau, Fred & Barb Hansen, Estelle Mackey, Bogumil Horchem & Elizabeth Matej-Horchem, James Wilson, Christine Colley, Chandra Merica, Katarzyna Suchanek, Suzanne Nann, Kristin Milashoski
None at This Time
None at This Time
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A select group of community leaders from our sister city Zamosc Poland traveled to Fountain Hills to rekindle long standing relationships and to explore our beautiful state.