November 29, 2022
101 North Commercial Street Morgan, Utah 84050
Life Style

SUP summer meetings consisted of speeches of scholarship recipient, retired dentist, and long time law enforcement

The Morgan Chapter of the Sons of the Utah Pioneers held their May and June luncheons before taking a summer break in July and August.  The next gathering is the Summer Social with their wives in September.  

In May the meal was  provided by a Barbeque company.  Dr. Eric Anderton , a retired local dentist and a member of the chapter, discussed with those in attendance his involvement over 11 years with “Smiles for Central America.” 

 What began as a humanitarian project to rebuild a school in storm ravaged Honduras in 2003 by two Orem neighbors.  This quickly evolved into the largest semiannual humanitarian dental clinic in Central America. Every six months, in May and November, a group of about 130  medical doctors, dentists, oral surgeons, lab techs and support staff would set up a clinic in Latter-day Saints Stake Centers for a week.. Each of the six locations, El Salvador, Nicaragua, two locations in Honduras and Guatemala would host a clinic every 3 years on a set rotation.  Early in the evolving assessment of the area’s needs it was determined that the vast majority of young people desiring to serve a full time mission for the LDS church did not have access to medical and dental screening before leaving their home.  Many times this required missionary laborers to be interrupted for health reasons, sometimes for extended periods of time.  By 2005 “Smiles” clinics were, for the most part, only providing treatment for 16 to 18 year old young men and women who were planning on serving full time missions.  LDS Stakes would organize buses to the clinic on their assigned day. Upon arrival the youth would register, fill out missionary applications, have missionary haircuts when needed, medical exams, lab tests, x-rays and then lastly, necessary dental work, including, when appropriate, removal of wisdom teeth. All their work needed to be completed the same day as some of the buses came from areas hours away from the chapel.  During the week 700 to 1200 pre mission young people would go through the  clinic.

Dr. Anderton participated in 14 of the group’s 35 trips to Central America, including one to China.  His wife, Sharon, volunteered on most of the trips as did several office staff members and both of his sons. There were many spiritual experiences and wonderful memories.  “Smiles for Central America” held their last clinic in 2020 after 17 years, 33 clinics and having treated over 17,000 young people. 

The June Lunch was catered by a Mexican restaurant.  After the meal Morgan High School senior, Garett Pitcher, son of David and Heather Pitcher, was recognized as the recipient of the Morgan Chapter of the SUP’s 2022 annual pioneer essay scholarship.  He had officially received the $1000 award at the High School’s scholarship night in May. Garett read his essay about his ancestor, Major Howard Egan who played a prominent role in early church history,  organizing cattle drives to California, pony express routes and serving as wagon train captain and bodyguard to Joseph Smith.

The group then heard from Ralph Powell, a longtime member of SUP who has recently moved from Morgan to Cache Valley. Ralph talked about his many years in law enforcement in Idaho. He spent the summer after graduation from BYU in a patrol car with the Idaho State Police.  With a Bachelor’s degree in pre-law he returned to school in the fall to begin his 1st quarter of law school at the University of Idaho.  He was soon prompted to return to law enforcement, a difficult decision but one he has never regretted.  Officer Powell worked his way up the ranks in various law enforcement  agencies, including  detective, head of Forensic Services for the State  of Idaho for 11 years and ultimately appointed as director of the Department of Law Enforcement for the State of Idaho, serving two terms.

Powell talked about multiple occasions where listening to the promptings of the spirit protected his life, the well-being of others and helped him make difficult executive decisions in his management of law enforcement affairs. 

In 2016 Col. Ralph Powell, representing the Idaho State Police, traveled to the Pentagon in Washington DC to accept the 2016 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. This is the nation’s highest honor given to employers for exemplary support of the National Guard and Reserve employees. The Idaho State Police was one of 15 public and private employers  from across the United States selected from 2,424 nominations submitted by members of the National Guard. “Thank you Brother Powell for your years of public service and helping to keep  the dream alive that our pioneer ancestors sacrificed so much to create”.  Said the members.

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