Family givesgrass, timeto new temple

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    By STEVE JENSE

    When early Salt Lake Temple stonecutter John Ault was making the 35-mile walk from Cedar Valley to Salt Lake City once a week, he didn’t realize that he would be laying the groundwork for the building of Utah’s ninth temple.

    Ault’s great-great grandson, Howard Ault, is part of a crew now laying all the grass for the nearly-completed Mount Timpanogos Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in American Fork.

    The crew consists of Ault’s wife, Lurae, his five children, 28 grandchildren and a large group of Eagle Scout project helpers. The pay consists of nothing.

    “It’s really been a great experience for all of us as a family,” Lurae said.

    Howard is a lifetime farmer who started the Sure-Gro Turf Farm 18 years ago in Cedar Valley, located 15 miles west of the Utah Valley temple site.

    Upon announcement of the temple two years ago, Ault wanted to donate the job of laying the seven and a half acres of sod. He finally began laying the sod last fall, completing approximately one-third of the grass before the November snow. The rest will be laid this spring.

    The original idea was to make the sod-laying a family project, said his wife, Lurae, but that was more easily said than done.

    “At first he wanted our family to do all of the installing,” Lurae said, “but so many people called and wanted to be involved, that we had to organize something.”

    To solve the problem of organization, the Ault’s recruited three of their grandchildren, Eric Ault, Ryan Warner and Jeff Olsen to use the sod-laying as their Boy Scout Eagle Projects. Each of the boys oversaw a section of the project, rounded up helping hands and served refreshments — some of which were donated.

    Howard said one night the boys went up to the register at Albertson’s with several carts of doughnuts and hot chocolate. When asked what they planned to do with all the treats, the boys said they were giving them to the volunteers at the temple site.

    “The manager then said, `we’ll just let you have it all,'” Howard said.

    The charitable community project headed by the Ault’s was not supposed to be an attention-getter. But the originality of this family’s services has landed their story in at least three local newspapers.

    Lurae said almost every one of their 28 grandchildren has assisted in the sod-laying “even down to the little, tiny 2 and 3-year-olds. They were all helpful,” she said.

    Project landscapers worried that Ault’s donated sod might be inferior to some they might have purchased. But Ault said he specially grew a certain variety of Kentucky blue-grass that stays green without much fertilizer and grows slower than the average grass (for less frequent mowing).

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