SALT LAKE CITY — The Catholic Community Services of Utah honored distinguished humanitarians at the agency’s 29th Annual Humanitarian Awards Dinner on Nov. 6.
Jon and Mary Huntsman, former governor and first lady of Utah, and Elder L. Tom Perry, of the Quorum of the Twelve, and his wife, Barbara, were two of the award recipients, along with the Skaggs family’s ALSAM Foundation and Jan Luger.
The Hunstmans were honored as Humanitarians of the Year, the most prestigious award of the night. But despite all the work the Huntsmans have done for the community, during his acceptance speech Jon Huntsman thanked Catholic Community Services for all the work it has done for the state of Utah.
“There are countless, countless people in every corner of the state who have had their faith restored, their strength revitalized, their missions on earth rejuvenated and are alive again today because of what you’ve done,” Huntsman said. “I know that, you know that, and it is an extraordinary, indispensable mission that Catholic Community Services embarks upon, and we are grateful.”
Jon and Mary Hunstman are known for their humanitarian efforts and for helping those in need. The Huntsman family has a tradition of serving breakfast on Christmas morning at the St. Vincent de Paul dining hall for the homeless, and Mary Huntsman has launched two programs for youth: “Bag of Hope” and “Power in You.”
Elder Perry and his wife received the award of Humanitarians for their outstanding work all over the world, including the time Elder Perry helped rebuild a church that had been destroyed in Nagasaki, Japan, following WWII. They are both known for their humanitarian spirit and love for helping those in need.
During their acceptance speech, Elder Perry gave all the credit for the award to his wife.
“She really deserves an award like this,” he said. “She has more compassion then anyone I have ever had the opportunity of being around. She is continually serving others in the most loving and warming way.”
During an introductory video for the event, Elder M. Russell Ballard, of the Quorum of the Twelve, spoke on the Perrys’ love for service and how deserving they are of the award.
“He is supported marvelously well by his dear wife, Barbara,” Elder Ballard said. “They make a great team. They love Utah, and they serve wherever they can in a marvelous way. They have done many, many things through service and blessed the lives of others. They are a wonderful couple, and I am so grateful that the Catholic Relief Services are giving him and his dear wife, Barbara, this award, because they deserve it.”
President Henry B. Eyring, of the First Presidency of the LDS Church, was also in attendance at the dinner. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was thanked and listed as steward for the event.
The ALSAM Foundation, founded by the Skaggs family, received the Partner of the Year award. L.S. (Sam) Skaggs Jr. continued his father’s business after his father passed away when Skaggs Jr. was only 26 years old. He inherited 11 drug stores and has since turned them into 202 drug stores and 39 super-centers. Because of the success of the ALSAM Foundation, the Skaggs family has been able to support many community efforts, including Catholic Community Services of Utah.
Jan Luger was honored with the Unsung Hero award for her dedication to serving the Utah community for more than thirty years. Luger began volunteering when she moved from Germany to Utah in 1983. She started volunteering with Catholic Community Services in the late 80s, beginning with home deliveries of food, and has since created a small pantry at the old Marion Hotel in Odgen.
Catholic Community Services may have been honoring humanitarians in the community, but the honorees said they believe the honor should go back to CCS for the great work they do in bringing hope to the lives of so many individuals.
“You are in the business of hope, which is the most indispensable and, in some corners of the world, the most illusive commodity there is,” said Jon Huntsman. “And when it is found, there is nothing else like it because it provides a sense of rebirth and renewal. May your business always be that of hope. Thank you for the recognition, but tonight it is certainly yours.”