Twelve Utahns were honored Thursday at an awards luncheon sponsored by the Utah Chapter of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.
The awards program, which highlighted the importance of freedom and the opportunities and blessings of living in America, was held at the Little America Hotel.The recipients included a retired businessman and community leader, teachers, students and journalists, and a school.
"The Freedoms Foundation was founded in 1949 by two men who really understood just how really blessed we are, as they realized that perhaps in this great land we were forgetting some of the great basic institutions given to us by . . . wonderful people who proceeded us," said Arch L. Madsen, a member of the foundation's National Council of Trustees and speaker at the gathering.
A huge American flag formed a backdrop for the program, which included music by costumed children and youth members of the Creative Generation Musical Theater, West Valley City, and a musical-dramatic medley by vocalists Rebecca Glade and Nelden Max-field.
Chapter president William O. Perry conducted the program, applauding award recipients as "great patriots for their contributions to our country, to our state and our community."
Among those honored was:
Ralph J. Hill, a retired insurance executive and former chapter vice president, who was presented with a scuplture of an eagle with an inscription that cites him as a "living example of the American dream." Hill was saluted as an "American hero, a man of enterprise, a patriot, a man of integrity, a man of high values and a man devoted to the service of others."
Recipients of the George Washington Honor Medal (a national award) are:
- The M. Lynn Bennion Elementary School (receiving the award were Principal Patrick Garcia, teachers Shirley Holstein and Duane Gehl and PTA President Jane Willie) for their school's "Plant a Tree" project.
- Deseret News Church News Editor Dell R. Van Orden and the Church News staff for a center spread feature, "What the Bill of Rights Means to the Church," that highlighted the topics freedom of religion, right of peaceful assembly, freedom of the press and freedom of speech.
- Deseret News editorial page editor Richard B. Laney for an editorial, "How Steep a Price Would Americans Pay for Liberty?" The editorial emphasized the importance of a patriot as "someone who understands our constitutional form of government, who draws strength from our nation's past . . ."
- Frederick M. Gedicks, a Brigham Young University law professor, for an editorial, "Don't Curb Free Exercise of Religion."
- Alissa K. Redd, a Highland High senior, for an essay, "Eager to Make a Difference."
- Joseph B. Walker, national media specialist for LDS Church Public Affairs, for a series of weekly "ValueSpeak" columns published in about 400 newspapers.
- Rosslyn Heights Elementary School fifth- and sixth-graders (Gayle Clegg, a teacher, and Natalie McCullough, a parent volunteer, received the award) for a historical novel, "Journey," that depicts the flight of pioneers from Nauvoo, Ill.
- Katie Warner, Provo, a Brigham Young University student, for an essay titled, "Who More Than Self Their Country Love," which urges readers to live for and serve their country.
- Deanna Mecham, Cleveland, Emery County, a Canyon View Junior High School teacher in Huntington, also Emery County, for
development of a free enterprise instructional unit at the school.
Recipients of the Valley Forge
Teachers Medal (also a national award) were:
- Margene B. Conde, West Valley City, for her work in "stirring strong feelings for America" among members of the Creative Generation.
- Virginia N. Cooley, an elementary teacher in Providence, Cache County, for her work in fostering patriotic programs in her school and sharing the information with other teachers in her district.