Most Americans never meet a Soviet citizen, but for Norman C. Tanner, retired president of O.C. Tanner Co., developing long-term friendships with Soviet citizens is becoming a familiar experience.
Tanner hosted Russian native Demetry Sakilidi last week, taking him to meet Salt Lake Mayor Palmer Depaulis on a tour of the Capitol, for a ride on the Snowbird Tram and to visit local businesses.Sakilidi, who was in the United States to participate in the Goodwill Games, and Tanner met two years ago on an international peace walk through Russia. More than 475 Soviet and American citizens participated in the walk from the port city Odessa to Kiev, Russia. Since then, Tanner and Sakilidi have corresponded by letters.
Wearing a "Save our Earth: Stop Nuclear Testing" T-shirt, Tanner put his arm around Sakilidi, explaining how the walk had made them friends, while Sakilidi responded with broad smiles and nods.
Tanner was accompanied by five other Utahns on the walk that was designed to unite the people of the United States and the Soviet Union in promoting world peace and nuclear-weapons disarmament.