The Rotary Club of Peoria has chosen two past Rotary district governors as recipients of the club’s annual Peacemaker of the Year Award.
Ernie and Sally Montagne of Sierra Vista were presented with the 2021 award during a virtual program held July 31. The two are past district governors for Rotary District 5500, a district that includes all Rotary clubs south of the Phoenix metropolitan area.
The award was presented by Chuck Fitzgerald, a member of the Rotary Club of Peoria and a former president of the club. The program was attended by friends and family members, as well as past and present district governors, Rotary Foundation Trustees and Rotary International directors.
According to Mr. Fitzgerald, the two were chosen due to their international service efforts over the years, and especially because of their Rotary Foundation and Polio Plus work.
“I can’t think of another couple worthy of being honored by our club,” said Mr. Fitzgerald.
“They have taken countless trips around the world to serve others and bring peace into the lives of others.”
The award is normally presented at the Rotary Club of Peoria’s annual Pursuing Peace Conference, planned this year for Sept. 17. The Montagnes are the fifth recipients of the award, and the first Rotarians to be honored.
In describing criteria for the award, Mr. Fitzgerald said the recipient must be regarded in the community as a person of good character, must “possess a servant’s heart,” must be peaceful in their online presence and be able to pass the Rotary Four-Way Test.
“The Rotary definition of peace is ‘service above self.’ Every act of service is an act of peace,” said Mr. Fitzgerald.
Both were appreciative to receive the award.
“It blows me away to be honored in this regard,” said Mr. Montagne.
“We believe Rotary gives each of us these opportunities to make the world a better place. Whatever your passion, you can find a niche in Rotary to do good in the world.”
Sally called the award a “lovely” honor.
“We’re so grateful to have found Rotary and to have made it a part of our lives.”
Ernie Montagne served as district governor in District 5500 in 2010-11, while Sally served as district governor in 2014-15.
According to Mr. Fitzgerald, The Rotary Club of Peoria has been on a “peace journey” for several years. In addition to conducting the annual Peace Conference in Peoria, the club has created a peaceful space and installed a Peace Pole at Centennial High School in Peoria; created a Quiet Room at the Phoenix 9-1-1 Dispatch Center and is in the process of installing a “Be Kind” bench at a new accessible playground under construction in Peoria.
Past recipients of the award include David Fernandez of the Peoria Police Department; Michael Wakeford, a teacher and coach at Raymond S. Kellis High School in Peoria; Tracey Beal, executive director of the Connect School; Pamela Morrison, community outreach director at Phoenix Rescue Mission.
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