A pioneer in the world of skiing, a broadcasting visionary, one of the nation's leading HIV/AIDS educators, a Salt Lake County judge and one of Utah's most philanthropic families were selected Wednesday for being "one in 100" Utahns.
Recognition was given by the Salt Lake County Centennial Committee for the five recipients' outstanding commitments and contributions to the community and to the state.Award recipients included: Alf Engen, world-record holder in many disciplines of skiing; Arch Madsen, former manager at KSL and founder of Bonneville International Corp.; Kristen Ries, director of clinical programs in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Utah Medical Center; Ray Uno, a district and circuit court judge in Utah; and the David and Ellen Eccles family and its progenitors, who regularly contribute to educational, medical and cultural institutions throughout the state.
Salt Lake County Commission Chairman Brent Overson emceed the awards ceremony, hosted in the elegant grand ballroom of the new Salt Palace Convention Center. About 550 people were in attendance.
Selected in large measure for his role in bringing world-class skiing to Utah, including roles in establishing Alta, Brighton and Snowbasin ski resorts, Alf Engen emigrated to Utah from Norway in 1929.
Engen's son, Alan, said his father, who turned 87 years old on Wednesday, was given the title "Father of the American Powder Skiing Technique." Alf Engen earned the U.S. National Champion title 16 times and broke the world record for ski jumping twice in one day.
Named "Skier of the Century" in 1950, he coached the 1948 U.S. Olympic team and helped begin the Deseret News Free Ski School, which has introduced 250,000 people to the sport in 48 years of operation.
Madsen was born in Utah County in 1913 and as a young boy fought polio after his father died. Don Gale, vice president of public affairs for Bonneville International Corp., referred to Madsen as a "true broadcasting pioneer and visionary."
After taking the reins of KSL in the early 1960s, Madsen transformed the poorly facilitated and programmed Salt Lake television station into one of the finest broadcast units in America, with a strong emphasis on news reporting.
Madsen then founded Bonneville International, one of the largest radio-television groups in the nation with broadcasting sites from New York to Los Angeles.
Recognized as starting one of the first major HIV patient care programs in Utah, Ries was born in Philadelphia. She came to Utah in 1982 and worked as head of adult medicine at FHP Hospital.
Utah AIDS Foundation director Barbara Shaw said Ries is a literal "giant in her field. And for those with HIV, she's the best giant they can have." Ries has held many teaching positions, and has earned awards from the National Organization of Women, and was Physician of the Year from the Utah Academy of Physician Assistants in 1994.
"She is a soft spoken person with a loud message," Shaw said in a video presentation. Ries has worked tirelessly to educate the public about the AIDS virus, while providing exemplary care to her patients.
In his long-running professional career, Uno has been a social worker, juvenile court referee, professor, attorney and judge. But early in his childhood, he and his family were forcibly removed from their California home in 1942 as a result of racial tension from World War II.
In 1949, Uno served as an interpreter, interrogator, translator and special agent for the U.S. military in Japan and then returned to Utah and pursued a legal career, attending Weber Junior College and the University of Utah.
A long-time minority activist, he also served as national president of the Japanese American Citizens League in the early '70s for two years, and became Salt Lake County's first minority deputy county attorney. In 1976 he was appointed a 5th Judicial Circuit Court judge and in 1984 was selected as a 3rd District Court Judge.
The Eccles family
The Eccles family name is synonymous with entrepreneurship, charity and generosity, but the Scottish immigrants who came to Utah in 1863 were penniless. They did, however, have faith, courage, wisdom and vision.
And while the nine children of David and Ellen Eccles acquired great wealth and inheritance from their parents' hard work and foresight, they are probably best known as great contributors to Utah arts and education.
Many public buildings in Utah and several charitable trusts carry the Eccles' family namesake, which includes: Marriner; George; Spencer; Willard; Marie; Jessie; Emma; Nora; and Ellen.
Spence Eccles, vice president and chief executive officer of First Security Corp., received the award on behalf of the family and said as a third-generation Eccles, he "readily recognizes and accepts the responsibility" to build for the betterment of the community.
Lon Watson, speaking for the family, said without the generosity of gifts from the Eccles family "the state of Utah would be a very different place. Everyone has, or will benefit from what they have done."
Community awards for 15 individuals throughout the county as well as three individuals who received ethnic awards were also recognized Wednesday.