I am extremely honored to be nominated as a candidate for the position of President-Elect in the National Society of the Sons of Utah Pioneers. In last month’s Trail Marker I gave an introduction of myself. In this article I wish to give an overview of experiences that will contribute to my possible position on the national board.
Immediately after graduating from high school in 1963, I joined the USAF. As an intelligence analyst, I learned to make timely and critical decisions related to the security of our world during the Cold War. Four years later, while attending the University of Washington, I became a member of the Church. A mission soon followed. Military, college, and mission taught me many things concerning what is important in life. Above all, I learned to joyfully serve and to help make the world a better place.
After my mission, I completed my university studies at BYU and then went on to work for the DoD as a linguist. After some years in that employment, my wife (Sonja; now deceased) and I decided to continue our education. Concurrent with my computer career, I was a member of the UANG where I was in leadership and teaching positions. Being involved with the military over the years taught me not only leadership skills, but also taught me discipline and service to our country. I spent a total of 34 years associated with the military, full-time and/or part-time, with both the Air Force and the Army.
My church assignments over time include full-time missionary (to Taiwan), Stake missionary to the Maryland State Prison, Sunday School teacher. High Priest Group Leader, bishopric member, high councilman, scout master, and part- time service missionary at a church distribution center and at church history sites. I also served as a Servicemen Group Leader in Iraq while deployed there. My wife (Judy) and I served two years together as MLS missionaries (Spanish speaking) and an additional two years (until COVID-19 struck) as hosts at the JSMB in SLC.
I served as president of a Kiwanis Club for four consecutive years. During that time, I was also president of the Brigham Young Chapter of SUP. I also directed the National SUP Encampment in 2012. I am presently vice president of an HOA board in our community of 117 homes. I also currently serve on the planning committee for the Provo Freedom Festival Grand Parade (since 2007), and, I am involved in doing editing and research for Book of Mormon Central, whose commentaries and study resources appear on social media in conjunction with our “Come, Follow Me” church curriculum.
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I am humbled by the nomination to serve as President- Elect of the Sons of the Utah Pioneers. It is an exciting opportunity and responsibility to serve the SUP at the national level. I look forward to working with the local chapters to continue the tradition of preserving the memories and heritage of the early pioneers and to pass those qualities on to the youth who will be tomorrow’s pioneers.
We have all spent the last year distancing ourselves from our loved ones, friends and our fellow SUP members. As holidays, birthdays and our traditional SUP events came and went with little to no fanfare I was constantly reminded of what I was missing the most, the people. It has been a difficult year by not having those connections and associations with one another. During these difficult times I thought of my ancestors who lived through the Spanish Flu pandemic and all that they had to endure. Their lasting legacy of faith, sacrifice, hope and strength helped lift me and my family during our times of struggle this past year. I have contemplated what I have learned and what I can pass on to my children and grandchildren, but I also wonder what they have learned and what they can pass on to me. If we take the time to listen and learn from our younger generations and continue to share our stories and the stories of our pioneer ancestors, we can continue to link the generations before us with the generations to come.
I am excited to get back to our normal SUP activities and I look forward to meeting many of you and learning of your pioneer heritage and legacy. I pledge to continue to build upon the foundation of the Sons of the Utah Pioneers and will do everything I can to continue to preserve the faith and traditions of our pioneer ancestors.