Celebrating Rotary's history in Arizona and showcasing the impact made by Rotarians in their communities were the primary themes resonating throughout the 2022 District 5495 Conference held May 12-14 at the Prescott Resort & Conference Center in Prescott.
Due to the pandemic, the conference was the first in three years for District 5495. Activities included several hands-on service projects, social activities, musical entertainment and presentations exploring impactful service projects conducted by a number of District 5495 clubs.
The keynote speaker throughout the conference was the Rotary International President's Representative Nabil Oudeh, past district governor from District 7070 in Ottawa, Canada.
The conference kicked off on Thursday with the annual Peace Symposium. During the event, Dr. Ruth Tan Lim of the Rotary Club of Mesa Sunrise was presented with the 2022 Champion for Peace Award. 
Thursday evening saw the district's first-ever fundraiser to benefit The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona. The event was held at the Phippen Western Museum and featured a silent auction, musical entertainment by Past District Governor Alan Havir and a catered barbecue meal.
A service project at the Prescott VA Medical Center was conducted Friday morning, just prior to the start of the actual conference at noon.
The conference kicked off with a recognition of four clubs celebrating their 100th anniversary: Flagstaff, Glendale, Mesa and Prescott. Mr. Oudeh presented certificates from RI President Shekhar Mehta to each of the clubs.
Club and district projects focusing on Rotary's Seven Areas of Focus were highlighted throughout the conference. Sessions also featured updates on the district's Interact and Rotaract programs.
A highlight of the conference was the Friday musical presentation of "Rotary: The Musical," a humorous look at the history of Rotary through the years. District Governor Bret McKeand portrayed Rotary founder Paul Harris, and was joined in the cast by PDG Art Harrington, DGE Larry Horton, Steve Cervantes, Ron and Barbara Williams.
The musical was the brainchild of director Mary K Clark. Karen Brown accompanied the cast on piano.
Friday night featured a return of the district's traditional and popular Hospitality Suites. Eleven clubs hosted suites focusing on the theme of "Major Moments in Time."
Saturday's programs featured talks by David George Brooks (better known as "That Gratitude Guy"), Fary Moini, Rik Roberts (playing Deputy Barney Fife), and musical entertainment by the King Copper Jazz Band. The jazz band performed along with Charlie Chaplin impersonator Jason Allin during the "Bee's Knees Cocktail Hour."
The Saturday evening awards program featured a parade of past district governors followed by several district awards:
* The Rotary Service Above Self Award was presented to PDG Danny Messersmith of the Rotary Club of Kingman, Route 66.
* PDG Barb Feder and PDG Lucinda General were 2022 inductees into the district's Ring of Honor.
* Colleen Coons, the district's Rotaract Committee Chair and a member of the Rotary Club of Mesa West, was presented with the Leadership for the Second Century Award.
* MVP awards were presented to several Rotarians in recognition of their invaluable assistance this past year to the district: Angel Aguirre, Wayne General, Lucinda General, Ron Williams, Dale Gray, John Colluci, and Steve Cervantes.
* Three graduates of the Rotary Leadership Academy were recognized: Katheryn Tuberty of the Rotary Club of Prescott Frontier, Susan Bethel of The Rotary Club of Kingman, Route 66, and Todd Harris of the Rotary Club of Four Peaks.
District Governor Bret McKeand bestowed the "Rotarian of the Year Award" on all district Rotarians in recognition of their commitment, perseverance and devotion to "Serving to Change Lives" during the 2021-22 year.
"We celebrate our history, but the legacy of Rotary in Arizona is yet to be determined. Paul Harris once said that 'whatever Rotary means to us, to others it will be judged by the results it achieves.'
"We are achieving results here in District 5495. Our 67 clubs, now four satellite clubs, over 70 Interact clubs and seven Rotaract clubs are achieving results and serving to change lives!
"Be proud of your achievement. You are significant. Thank you for all you do!"
View a slide show of conference photos -- and download -- here.
Joe Sweeney, president of The Rotary Club of Prescott, receives a special centennial certificate from President's Rep Nabil Oudeh, while DG Bret McKeand looks on.