President Hinckley receives Distinguished Humanitarian Award


    By Janae Ashton

    In most cases the Distinguished Humanitarian Award, given out by the Catholic Community Services of Utah, is usually awarded to nonprofit organizations or other agencies, but Tuesday President Gordon B. Hinckley received the award individually.

    In a presentation President Hinckley accepted the award while praising church members of all denominations.

    “It is our responsibility as church people, regardless of our denominational affiliations, to reach out … not only locally but across this broad earth,” he said at the presentation. “We may have theological differences among us but we all have one common responsibility to help those in need and distress.”

    Suzanne DeVoe, public relations specialist for the Catholic Community Services of Utah, said Hinckley uses his authority and influence in his position in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to help others throughout the community and the world.

    “President Hinckley certainly has, just by his example, given to us humanitarianism in it”s best,” DeVoe said. “He does things for people that no one ever knows about.”

    DeVoe said they look for someone who has contributed to the community over and above what normal people do, and they recognize Hinckley”s efforts to encourage others to get involved as well.

    “Whenever he gives a speech publicly he”s always exhorting people to help others,” DeVoe said. “He has spoken about how the LDS people need to be good neighbors, and we all need to be good neighbors.”

    DeVoe also praised the Church of Jesus Christ as an organization for the community services it offers. She said the Bishop”s storehouse provides the Catholic Church with the food for their food banks, which feeds the homeless every day.

    “The LDS church helps our agency a great deal,” she said. “It”s really a great corporation.”

    The Humanitarian Award is given yearly, regardless of religious preference. DeVoe said President Hinckley didn”t necessarily do anything specific that caught their attention, but rather it was his endless service that impressed them.

    She also said that President Hinckley doesn”t show prejudice towards those who may need help.

    “There are no lines drawn to separate those from different space or different races or anything like that-everyone needs to help everyone else … and I think that”s the main reason why we chose President Hinckley individually,” she said.

    The presentation was made at the Catholic Community Services of Utah Annual Awards Dinner, which was held at the Salt Lake City Marriott hotel.

    Others honored at the same presentation for their humanitarian acts were The Good Samaritan Program, The Cathedral of the Madeleine and Salt Lake Interfaith Hospitality Network.

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