Sister Dana Wiest of the Primary General Board spoke to these women and their families in the BYU Skyroom. Wiest said while preparing for this speaking opportunity that she laid out the pictures and bios of the 24 honorees and wrote as if she were talking to them. Already feeling like they were friends, she compared their selfless service to the good Samaritan.
Quoting from Sister Jean B. Bingham’s prayer given at the white house recently, she said, “Help us in our quest that we may be ‘joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.’ May each exercise integrity, humility, and nobility of character in his or her sphere of influence…Heavenly Father, many are in need, and we pray for all who are working unselfishly to improve lives. May we become a land of ‘good Samaritans,’ laboring in love to lift the hands of the downtrodden, the oppressed, and the afflicted.”
When Sister Wiest read this, she immediately thought of these Scouting women who have their sphere and made the most of their talents and abilities to benefit those around them. “Tonight I find myself in the middle of what Sister Bingham was praying for, I find myself in the middle of a land of ‘good Samaritans,'” she said.
The good Samartian was kind of like the first Boy Scout because of how prepared he was to help the injured man on the side of the road, and because he had compassion. In the footnotes under “compassion” she found many Scouting words like kindness, generosity, love of God, and charity. Like the good Samaritan, Sister Wiest said, “You are able to pour out your time and talent and your souls and your hearts into these young men and young women that you help.”
The good Samaritan also set no limits to what he would do for the injured man, which reminded her of one of the honoree’s bios that read, “No task too great, no goal is out of reach and rattle snakes don’t even bother her.”
She mentioned that Scouting had talked about in her home a lot (as it is in many homes recently). There have been many names of old Scoutmasters and leaders said as her husband and son reminisced about how Scouting and leaders have helped them in critical times in their lives.
On the influence that Scout leaders can have on youth, President Thomas S. Monson read this poem,
Sister Wiest recently had the opportunity to visit her husband’s old Scoutmaster, Ray Beckham, who was in the final stages of cancer. Her husband, Mark, described him as the person he looked up to the most. She watched them interact and saw Beckham take her husband’s hand and tell him how proud he was that he stayed true to the things he taught him in Scouting. This Scoutmaster was a rescuer just like the good Samaritan.
“Each of you who are honored this night, you are rescuers, you are believers, you believe in the worth of a soul. Perhaps maybe you think you’ve only touched the heart of maybe one Scout, but I promise that you have touch countless communities, countless neighborhoods, and probably an entire generation. You are the answer to Bingham’s prayer when she said,’Please strengthen homes and families which provide loving guidance in building capable and compassionate citizens,'” she said.
Dave Pack, Scout Executive and Elder Dale H. Munk, Area Seventy for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also briefly spoke at the dinner, honoring the women as “good shepherds” who give their time to the flock. Dave Pack reminded awardees that this is not their retirement celebration and to recommit to serving the youth in their sphere.
See more photos from the event here.
Author: Melany Gardner | Marketing and PR Director, Utah National Parks Council