Rotary Club of Scottsdale members Kenneth Brown and Craig Miller

Rotary Club of Scottsdale members Kenneth Brown and Craig Miller spend the morning at Unity Plaza at Scottsdale Rotary Park, where the Rotary Club of Scottsdale’s “thank you” bricks will be installed.

Scottsdale residents have a new way to pay tribute to first responders, healthcare workers, essentials workers and more who have helped the community through pandemic: engraved bricks.

The Rotary Club of Scottsdale’s Park Brick Program is a community service and fundraising project where interested parties can pay $100 to engrave bricks with an honoree’s name and generic or custom message.

The club began publicizing the “thank you” bricks mid-July and has since received orders for about 15 bricks, which will be etched and placed in a special section of Unity Plaza at Scottsdale Rotary Park.

“The reason our committee chose to offer this new brick theme program, which will continue in conjunction with our normal commemorative brick sales, is because this COVID-19 is such a devastating event for our country and the world. The amount of effort people are making to mitigate this health crisis is amazing,” said club member Craig Miller. 

Miller noted that saying “thank you” is a “powerful and cathartic thing for most people.”

“It just made sense that this is a need that our members and others would embrace,” he said.

The bricks allow up to three lines of messaging.

Generic messages include “First Responders: You Rock,” “Nursing Home Staff: You’re My Rock,” “Store Workers: We Won’t Forget,” “Researchers: You Saved Us,” and more.

“The brick pattern and the colored concrete in Unity Plaza are configured to match the general outline of the famous Rotary Wheel,” Miller said.

The bricks are priced at $100 each and etching costs approximately $20 per brick.

Proceeds go directly to the Scottsdale Rotary Foundation – a nonprofit created by the Rotary Club of Scottsdale to help fund local, national and international projects.

“The main benefactor for our foundation is educational scholarships for worthy Scottsdale area high school students,” Miller said.

“This year, it just happens to be an even more important part of that fundraising mix,” Miller said. “This will be an ongoing effort and option for our members and others to buy a brick and raise money for our foundation.”

Miller and his wife Sandy Miller purchased two bricks themselves.

Sandy chose to thank veterinarians.

“Our pets should not have to be put in danger because of this virus, and the veterinarians and their staffs are among the heroes that put their safety on the line to help us,” Craig said.

Craig honored researchers “who are – and have – worked tirelessly to come up with the vaccine that will bring about a sense of normalcy that comes about by giving people immunity to this terrible virus.”

“I thought this was a great way to thank these incredible people for their efforts on our behalf,” he said,

The Club meets at Scottsdale Rotary Park twice a year to highlight the efforts of their committee and have a cookout.

The first set of orders, Craig said, will be placed at Unity Plaza in a couple of weeks.

Built by the Rotary Club of Scottsdale and donated to the City of Scottsdale, Scottsdale Rotary Park is an eight-acre park and memorial plaza in the heart of Gainey Ranch.

The park features lighted walking paths, a children’s playground, a greenbelt, a butterfly garden, picnic ramadas, barbecue stations, a restroom facility and the world’s first plaza designed in the shape of the Rotary symbol.

“Unity Plaza is our club’s Rotary Centennial Project, which honored Rotary’s 100-year anniversary of existence in 2005,” Craig said.  

The “thank you” bricks are just one way for people to honor others while also donating money to the Scottsdale Rotary Foundation.   

Another naming opportunity at Unity Plaza includes buying flags.

“Each time we have our park day picnic at the park, we change out the American flag and present that flag to the donor as well as put up a small bronze plaque on the curved wall that makes up the north end of Unity Plaza. This remembrance is $1,000,” Craig said.

Information: scottsdalerotary.org.

Those who order five bricks will get a sixth free.