Sunday, September 27, 2015

Court-of-Honor Recognizes Matthew Clarke

Matthew with Mom Denise and Dad Lee
Matthew Clarke, 16-year-old son of Lee and Denise Clarke and a member of Troop 817, received the Eagle Scout award from his grandfather at a Court-In-His-Honor held on Friday, September 25.  The event was held at Gunlock, where his Eagle project was prettying up the location surrounding the Gunlock State Park sign.  Matthew picked up where his older brother Adam left off after completing his Eagle project by adding large rocks, rope and poles and gravel to beautify the entry to the park.

The importance of the Eagle Scout award is more than just having a pin a scouter can wear on his lapel or an accomplishment he can add to his resume.  Studies have shown the impact of completing the requirements for an Eagle Scout award include the following:

·               Eagle Scouts exhibit an increased tendency to participate in a variety of health and recreational activities.
·               Eagle Scouts show a greater connectedness to siblings, neighbors, religious community, friends, co-workers, formal and informal groups, and a spiritual presence in nature.
·               Duty to God, service to others, service to the community, and leadership are traits especially strong in Eagle Scouts.
·               Eagle Scouts are more likely to engage in behaviors designed to enhance and protect the environment.
·               Eagle Scouts are more likely to be committed to setting and achieving personal, professional, spiritual, and financial goals.
·               Eagle Scouts show a higher propensity toward planning and preparedness than do other scouts and non-Scouts.
·               Eagle Scouts are more likely than other Scouts and non-Scouts to recognize they have built character traits related to work ethics, morality, tolerance, and respect for diversity.

Congratulations on your accomplishment, Matthew.  It is another step toward your successful future.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Welcome Home, Elder Woodland

Wesley Woodland, second of Shauna Gardner's four sons and one of Steve and Sylvia Peterson's several grandchildren, has now taken off his black name tag and will resume his life after two years as a full-time missionary in the Idaho Twin Falls Mission.

His call, received not long after graduation from Dixie High School, took him to a field of labor only 8 hours from his Bloomington family home.  "Idaho is a beautiful place filled with people who needed me.  There were many who had been prepared to hear the gospel message and many who are now preparing to serve a mission.  I loved being a missionary.  It was a wonderful experience!" states the former Elder Woodland, a young man his mission president calls "a faithful, dedicated missionary who made an impact on many lives."

His plans for the future - although he says without hesitation, "I would go back and serve another mission if they asked me today" - include enrolling at Dixie State University and returning to his job at the Pizza Factory.

Welcome home, Elder Woodland. You have proven yourself to be a faithful servant of our Heavenly Father and we - as a ward - are moved by your strong testimony and your devotion to family, the Church and your Savior.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Farewell, Brother Bruce Hill

Bruce Hill, beloved and hardworking husband, dad, grandfather, outdoorsman and church leader, passed from this life at age 76 on September 8, 2015.  A lifetime resident of Utah, he was born to Wendell Bown and Lola May Olsen Hill on May 30, 1939 in Fayette.  As a young man, he met and married Deanne Christenson of Gunnison in February, 1956.  Their marriage was later solemnized in December 1962 in the Manti Temple.

Bruce was an avid sportsman who was happiest camping and hunting with his family in the great outdoors, and often reflected on time spent in 12-Mile Canyon where he would go to escape the summer heat.  He particularly enjoyed the time of the year when the leaves changed as the hot summer days transitioned into cooler fall weather. Some of his fondest memories are of the stillness of starlit nights around the campfire and falling asleep to the soothing sounds of a nearby brook.

Brother Hill, a longtime member of the B7 Ward, leaves behind a legacy of working hard and working often; and, he could always be depended on to just show up and "be" whatever was needed.  He enjoyed working side-by-side with family and friends, whether as a member of an LDS bishopric or at the church or family farm.

When his daughter and sons competed at many levels in athletics, Bruce was the quiet voice of encouragement who cheered them on. He was compassionate and non-judgmental with a kind word or deed for anyone in need.

Bruce loved being a home teacher, always providing words of encouragement or lending a helping hand. Some of his final words were a message to his children and grandchildren: "Please tell them I love them."

He leaves behind a beautiful family including his eternal companion Deanne and their children: Jeff (Shawn) Hill of Atlanta, GA; Greg (Jolie) Hill of Saratoga Springs; Mechelle Hill, a member of the B7 Ward; Ronnie (Tiffany) Hill of Logan; Richard W. Hill, a resident of San Francisco, CA; Bryant Kendall Hill of San Diego, CA; 19 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.  Bruce’s only surviving brother, Robert Wendell Hill lives in Seattle; WA.

Brother Bruce Hill will be missed by all who knew and loved him.  Condolences to the entire Hill family.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Four Named Eagle Scouts

Four outstanding young members of B7 Ward’s Scout Troop 817 were recognized as Eagle Scouts at a Court-of-Honor held Sunday, August 9, 2015.  Cache Bertschi, Luke Wilkes, Stephen Larson, and Bryce Nelson have now joined more than 2 million young men who, since 1912, have completed the requirements to obtain the highest advancement rank in Boy Scouting. 

Luke Wilkes, is the 15-year-old second son of Rob and Chardell Wilkes. His Eagle Scout project was planting trees along Pioneer Road to replace the ones lost to frost in the winter of 2013. He goes to Desert Hills High School but is very involved in and dedicated to Dixie High School's Air Force JROTC program.

For his Eagle project, Bryce Nelson, 15-year-old son of former B7 Ward member Emma Warner Abegg, grandson of Claude and Katherine Warner, great-grandson of Lloyd and Luana Warner and a student at Desert Hills High School, offered free identification kits for children and held an open house where he took pictures and collected fingerprints and DNA then put them together for parents. 

Cache Bertschi, is the 15-year-old second son of James and Anne Bertschi and a student at Dixie Middle School.  His Eagle project involved planting trees along the frontage road between Man-O-War Drive and the I-15 freeway.

Stephen Larson, oldest son of Aaron and Rebecca Larson and a 14-year-old student at Dixie Middle School, completed the requirements for his Eagle project by also planting trees, left dead and brown by a winter freeze two years ago, to restore the beauty of nature along Pioneer Road.

As new Eagle Scouts they promise, from this day forward, to “do their best each day to make their training an example, their rank and their influence count strongly for better Scouting and better citizenship in their troop, in their community and in their contact with other people.”

Scoutmaster Matthew Chappell told the young men, “Soon after I became your scoutmaster we were out on a weeklong Scout camp.   From my days of dairy farming, I usually wake up at 4 a.m.  Now the cows are gone so I use this time to study, plan, soul search and pray.  On one of the early mornings sitting in my tent I was taking some pity on myself, deciding it was a burden to be scoutmaster again.  Suddenly the following thoughts come to my mind: first, I became very conscious of my imperfections and the many ways I needed to improve myself. Then the following words came to me very crystal clear: "This group of boys is very important to me and I am letting you have the privilege of guiding them for a short while.  See that you do YOUR BEST."

The message was sobering and caused me to commit to having a program, which would let them have fun, grow, serve and achieve the rank of Eagle Scout if they would do their part.

Just as being a Scoutmaster is a privilege with responsibilities, so is the rank of Eagle a privilege with responsibilities.  Upon taking the oath of an Eagle Scout these young men have pledged to make their lives soar beyond the normal. My challenge to the Eagles and Scouts I may have helped is “ON YOUR HONOR, DO YOUR BEST.”

Thanks, young men.  It was a privilege being your Scoutmaster.

Congratulations to these fine scouts – and their parents – for this important accomplishment.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Jaselle is Baptized

Jaselle Adia Mills, became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday, September 5, 2015 when she was baptized by her dad Randy Simkins and confirmed by her grandpa David Taylor.

On this special day, Jaselle – “an amazing person who is loved more than she knows,” says her mom Shar Simkins - was surrounded by her family and friends.  Oldest-sister Summer Simkins led the music.  Brother Jarett Thomas played the interlude music.  Grandma Sonya Taylor gave the opening prayer. Her mom, Shar Simkins gave the talk on baptism and her mom, Shanna Thomas gave a talk on the Holy Ghost.  Jaselle and her friends, Nellie Green and Meg Fraser sang “When I Am Baptized” and  Grandma Connie Simkins gave the closing prayer.

This beautiful 8-year-old daughter of God and of Randy and Sharlan Simkins has three brothers and two sisters.  Jaselle, a 2nd grade student, loves being part of Bloomington Elementary School's dual immersion program studying half the day in Chinese and the other half in English!

In taking this important step and completing these ordinances, Jaselle has entered the gate to the path of eternal life, has been given the gift of the Holy Ghost and is now also the newest member of the Bloomington 7th Ward.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Meet the Taylors

Adam and Maureen Taylor have covered a lot of ground in their 11-year marriage, which she calls a “non-stop adventure.”  Lovers-of-travel, the Taylors left their home in Atlanta, GA in April headed for southern Utah.  After two weeks of cross-country sightseeing with three kids and a puppy in the family van, they arrived at their Bloomington home at 3009 Jacob Hamblin Drive from where Adam will travel to McCarren Airport in Las Vegas where he works as a pilot for Southwest Airlines.   

Adam was born in Southern California but grew up in Richfield, UT.  He served a fulltime mission in the Mexico Chihuahua Mission (near Colonia Juarez) where he learned to love the “humble members who love the Lord.”  Upon his return home he studied aviation in Farmington, NM and   became a flight instructor, building up sufficient hours to be hired by Mesa Airlines.  When the economy declined he found employment with AirTran, later purchased by Southwest Airlines.  As a commercial pilot, he was given the option to chose his base.  Las Vegas was his choice because it brought he and his family closer to home and family in southern Utah.

Brother Adam has served in a variety of church callings, including nursery teacher (with Maureen), ward missionary and Elders Quorum president.  In his spare time, he loves hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and exploring the out-of-doors with his wife and children.

Maureen was born in Sacramento, CA, then lived for a time in Texas, but mostly she grew up in Aurora, CO.  Maureen and Adam met at a singles ward activity and were married soon after she graduated from high school.  Her leisure time activities also include being outdoors with her family, getting up close and personal with critters of all kinds and attending college for entertainment.  Her Church callings over the years have included Relief Society chorister, Sunbeam and nursery teacher (for 4-5 years).  These past couple of years Maureen has been learning chords on the guitar and completed training to be a Doula (a person who provides support and non-pharmacological pain relief during the birthing process) and is looking forward to getting certified.

The three Taylor children, a lovely addition to the B7 Ward Primary, are 10-year-old Alanis (her name means “shining star”), 7-year-old Maeven (her name means “expert” or “connoisseur”) both students at Bloomington Elementary School; and, a high-energy, tow-headed son, 3-year-old Marek (whose name means “warrior”).

Speaking on behalf of her dynamic young family, Sister Taylor states, “we are thrilled to be in southern Utah close to Adam’s parents and appreciate the warm welcome we have received from our neighbors and the open arms of our ward members.”