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Elder Marion D. Hanks, emeritus general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the recipient of Brigham Young University's David M. Kennedy Public Service Award.

The award is given by the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies to honor distinguished service. Kennedy was U.S. ambassador to NATO in 1972 and treasury secretary during the Nixon administration."The career of Marion D. Hanks has been a career of service. We cannot recognize all of his accomplishments. They are legion. However, the center wishes to honor Marion D. Hanks for his service in two specific areas: refugee work and rural and free enterprise development," said Ray Hillam, Kennedy Center associate and emeritus BYU faculty member.

Elder Hanks, now 74, initiated a church refugee program in Thailand and the Philippines while he was the church's Southeast Asia Area president in the early 1980s. "He did this in the face of much opposition and no little discrimination by refugee professionals who did not want Mormons. But the program was launched and was very successful," Hillam said.

During the past 10 years, Elder Hanks has also been involved with the Quelessebougou Malawi-Utah Alliance, which teaches self-reliance and has dug wells, built fences, manufactured bricks for school buildings and provided medical services.

Elder Hanks, a World War II veteran, was also recognized for his church leadership with American servicemen in Vietnam during the war. "He had a keen interest in what they were doing. He could communicate with their hunger for kindness, for spiritual nourishment. He understood their puzzlement as to why they were in Vietnam," Hillam said.

Elder Hanks was sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1976 and was named an emeritus General Authority in 1992.