SALT LAKE CITY — Hundreds turned out to show their support for Catholic Community Services of Utah Oct. 29 at the organization’s annual Humanitarian Awards Dinner.
Dignitaries included the Most Rev. Oscar A. Solis, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City; Dale G. Renlund, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; the Right Rev. Scott B. Hayashi, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah; Bishop W. Christopher Waddell of the Presiding Bishopric and Elder LeGrand R. Curtis Jr. of the Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and various members of the Catholic diocese’s clergy and religious.
The event honored several people for their contributions to CCS and the underserved communities in Utah. Jon Huntsman Sr. was recognized in memoriam for his many contributions to CCS and its programs.
CCS was started in 1945 by the Most Rev. Duane G. Hunt, the fifth Bishop of Salt Lake City, who recognized the need for an organized effort to assist the poor and needy, according to the CCS website.
“They inspire all those around them to live better, do better,” Mistress of Ceremonies Carole Mikita said of Humanitarians of the Year Brent and Ann Wilson in her introduction. “They are always among the first people to contact CCS to ask how they can help.”
Brent Wilson said the couple first became involved with CCS when they were invited to “meet, greet and bring our wallets,” by Robert Fotheringham, a member of the CCS Board of Trustees.
When they visited CCS they knew they belonged, he said. “All these people were here for the good of mankind and we wanted to be a part of it.”
Chris and Kathleen Hill, who received the Lifetime of Service award, have spent many years improving the lives of those with severe disabilities, Mikita said. “They represent the true spirit of service.”
Chris Hill praised CCS and its work. “Everybody should feel grateful for what they’ve done and contribute what they can,” he said.
In his comments, Tony Sansone, president of the CCS Board of Trustees, recognized the work of CCS’s volunteers and staff.
“I have witnessed many miracles because of you reaching out to your neighbor,” Sansone told those in attendance at the dinner, many of whom were CCS staff and volunteers. “Working together as a unified community is the best way to help our neighbors out of poverty.”
The Utah Highway Patrol was recognized as the Partner of the Year for its efforts in keeping CCS’s clients, staff and volunteers safe and the positive interactions of its officers with the community. Utah Commissioner of Public Safety Jess Anderson accepted the award on behalf of the UHP.
Other awards presented that evening were to Deborah Nielson, the Employee of the Year; and to Martha Archuleta, Volunteer of the Year.
Community activist Pamela Atkinson urged those present to give generously to support CCS and its programs. She suggested that a donation given in honor of those killed in the Oct. 27 Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue shooting would be a “terrific way to honor their memory.”
At the end of the evening, Bishop Oscar A. Solis thanked those in attendance for their support of CCS and the local Catholic Church.
“In spite of the ugliness happening in our Church with the failure of some of our priests and leaders to protect the innocent … you continue to be here tonight to show trust in the goodness of the Catholic Church,” he said, referring to the sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Church in recent months. “Let this tragedy not overshadow what CCS is doing in the name of the Catholic Church.”
“I am humbled but gratified that you have not lost your trust in us,” he added. “What a great mission and charitable work CCS continues to do for the people of Utah. … CCS is touching and uplifting the dignity of every person with all it can give. Every good work, every kind deed makes our community a better place to live in. One life that is changed, one life that is improved, makes a better world. … What you do in the service of mankind makes God’s will present in our midst.”