2015-10-14, Laura Conniff and Pat Sisbarro, Tough Enough to Wear Pink

President Alex called the meeting to order at 12:10 pm.  Kristi gave the invocation.  President Alex then led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Kristi accompanied by Patty on the piano led us in singing the theme song for “The Brady Bunch.”  The men and women had separate parts and some Rotarians overheard comments that the women outperformed the men.

Since this week’s meeting and the entire month of October are dedicated to cancer awareness and research, the Sergeant at Arms announced “pink fines:” $1 for all of those wearing pink and $2 for those not wearing pink.  Lya noticed that several members including at least one member of the Sergeant at Arms committee were wearing pink packets of Sweet’N Low to serve as their pink attire.  She and our speakers Laura Conniff and Pat Sisbarro declared this completely unacceptable and proposed a fine of $5 each for such un-Rotarian-like behavior.  Many fines were collected.  Lya paid $20 for the fines of those wearing packets of Sweet’N Low.  

Happy $$$:  Bill was proud of the Aggie Basketball Teams (both men and women) as they are expected to both win the WAC and sport the most valuable players.  He also had a happy $ for the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” campaign; Kristi had a happy $ for Sue on her birthday today; Patty had a happy $ for Kristi as it is her birthday today also.  She also had a happy $ for the visiting Rotarians.  Greg had a happy $5 as he was able to spend the weekend with his grandchildren.  Don Niewold was happy that his daughter passed the Tennessee Bar exam.


Jodie announced the Toss No Mas project set for this Saturday from 8 am-12 pm followed by lunch at Young Park.  Those who want to participate were asked to see Jodie for more details.  Tessa Valadez announced that there will be a lunch for the “Convoy of Hope” project tomorrow (October 15) from 11am to 1pm at La Posta in the Rotary meeting room.  All are invited to participate.

President Alex led in singing Happy Birthday to our Rotarians whose birthdays are in October.  He introduced the visiting Rotarians and asked those with guests to introduce them.  Patty’s guest was Audrey Hartley, Executive Director of Jardin de los Niños, who announced that in September of this year Jardin won Nonprofit of the year in the Education category for the state of New Mexico.  

The Program

Sherry introduced our program speakers Laura Conniff and Pat Sisbarro co-chairs and co-founders of the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” cancer awareness and research campaign in Las Cruces.  Laura is the owner of Mathers Realty in Las Cruces and formerly one of the longest serving Regents of New Mexico State University.  Pat is the Co-owner and Marketing Director of the Sisbarro Dealerships in Las Cruces.  Both needed little introduction as they are widely recognized for their many years of service to the community of Las Cruces and the surrounding area.  Both Laura and Pat are cancer survivors.

Laura explained that the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” campaign was started nine years ago when she and June Mumme (wife of the NMSU football coach at that time) attended an NMSU rodeo event in which the contestants were all dressed in pink.  They inquired as to the purpose of this and were told that the players were “tough enough to wear pink” to promote cancer awareness.  They thought that this may really go over big with football and approached Magellia Boston, wife of the NMSU Athletic Director and former football star McKinley Boston.  Magellia is also a cancer survivor.  She thought it was a great idea as did McKinley.  They approached then NMSU President Mike Marten who also supported the idea.  June and Magellia were both new to Las Cruces and felt that another highly respected Las Crucen was needed to round out the team.  Laura knew just the person, her long-time friend Pat Sisbarro.  Pat told us that she could not say no to the request to be a part of this even though she was quite apprehensive.  After she saw the enthusiasm and huge participation, she was “hooked.”  The campaign started with a “tough enough to wear pink” football game, but has grown and grown to many events every October and to date has raised over $4 million, nearly all of which supports cancer research at NMSU and UNM and cancer awareness in our community.  Pat said that there was even an “A” on “Pink Mountain,” an appropriate name for the pink lights installed in the “A” on “A-Mountain.”  The pink firetruck is also out and about in the community as is a pink mini Baja racer built a team of female engineering students at NMSU.  Both vehicles will be in the NMSU Homecoming Parade.

After the Program

President Alex announced that there will be a short meeting of the Paul Harris/Rotary Foundation Committee immediately after the meeting.  Executive Secretary, Patty Groth, announced that we had collected $174 in the can to support the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” cancer research campaign.  Several Rotarians made contributions directly to the campaign, so the total contribution today was much higher than $174.  Visiting Rotarian Janet Honek won the drawing and give it to “Tough Enough to Wear Pink.”  President Alex led us in the 4-Way Test.

<prior week   following week>

Guests of Rotarians



Matt Hunt

Paul Comeau

Audrey Hartley

Patty Groth

Visiting Rotarians


Home Club

Carol H

Rio Grande

Janet Honek

Rio Grande

Student Guests



Diana Guerrero

Las Cruces

Katharine Pryor


Savannah Bush


Another student









Submitted by Jay JordanJay Jordan