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Utah's MS chapter honors community leaders and athletes

The Utah chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society honored local community leaders and athletes during its annual dinner Thursday night.

The night's biggest honor, the T.K. McCarthey Silver Hope Award, went to Bill Marcroft, the "Voice of the Utes," for his contributions to the community. Marcroft recently ended his 50-year broadcast career after calling the University of Utah football team's Fiesta Bowl victory over Pittsburgh earlier this year.

A contributor to the National MS Society's annual Dinner of Champions since its inception in 1978, Marcroft has also worked with charities such as the March of Dimes Association, the Kidney Foundation, the Utah Heart Association and the Arthritis Foundation.

The society also paid tribute to Dave Blackwell, who passed away in March. Blackwell, a local media personality, served on the Dinner of Champions selection committee for 15 years.

Other honorees included:

Jay Gurmankin, Living With Courage. Gurmankin, chairman of the board of trustees for the Utah MS chapter, is a lawyer and father living with multiple sclerosis who has done pro bono cases helping others with MS.

Julia Klein, Above and Beyond. Klein is a family nurse practitioner who sees MS patients and coordinates research to improve the quality of life for individuals affected by MS.

Jim Laub, Man of the Year. Laub is president and CEO of Cache Valley Electric, which has grown into an international corporation with annual revenues topping $80 million since Laub's grandfather started the company in 1915.

John Morgan, Lifetime Achievement. Morgan co-founded the World Senior Olympic Games, now the Huntsman World Senior Games, in 1987 with the goal of promoting health, peace and friendship.

Mike Reid, Professional of the Year. Reid won the Senior PGA Championship in May, building on previous wins such as the 1976 Pacific Coast Amateur, the Utah Open in 1981, 1983 and 1985, the 1988 World Series of Golf and the 1990 Casio World Open.

Elaine Michaelis, Sportsperson of the Year

University of Utah football team, Team of the Year

Alex Smith, Co-Male Collegiate Athlete of the Year

Andrew Bogut, Co-Male Collegiate Athlete of the Year

Annabeth Eberle, Female Collegiate Athlete of the Year

Jason Zundel, Male High School Athlete of the Year

Shawnee Slade, Female High School Athlete of the Year

Proceeds from the 27th annual Dinner of Champions benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's research and local programs while raising awareness of the effects of MS.