A New Year always brings renewal and the hope of new opportunities. As we look forward to all that 2016 will bring, may every moment of your life be enriched by the joyful smiles of all whose lives are touched by your service.

On July 1, 2015, we began a new Rotary year, with 366 days filled with opportunities to do good in our community and around the world. Across our District, Rotarians took advantage of these opportunities to empower youth, improve health, promote peace, and advance our communities. I invite you to join us to celebrate our accomplishments at the District Conference in Wilmington.

Seventy-one Rotarians have already achieved the Governor’s Award of Excellence. Be sure to congratulate each of them for their achievement and consider how you too can demonstrate your personal commitment to the three pillars of Rotary: Membership, Service, and Foundation.

Three clubs have achieved the Rotary International Presidential Citation. Let me be the first to congratulate the Research Triangle Park Rotary Club (Andrew Kerr, President), Southwest Durham Rotary Club (Phil Kearney, President) and Raleigh Rotary Club (Kirk Warner, President) for this outstanding accomplishment. May their actions inspire you to support your President in achieving this distinguished recognition for your Rotary club. Click here to view a video recorded by Andrew Kerr on how the RTP Rotary Club earned the Presidential Citation.

Seize each and every opportunity to nurture the passion within yourself and take actions that make peace possible. Each act of service or kindness that you give, together with all the Rotarians in your club and our District, bring hope to so many individuals, families and communities.

Everywhere I look, within our communities in North Carolina or around the world, I see joyful smiles of hope, because you choose to serve as an “instrument of peace.” This often seems to be in conflict with messages of hopelessness and despair that consume the media. While I don’t usually read about it in the newspaper, or see it on TV, every day I feel fortunate to be overwhelmed by all the good I see in the world – particularly, all the good I see you and other Rotarians doing in the world. Happy New Year!