Minuteman Award: Elder Nelson honored by Utah National Guard
By Marianne Holman, Church News staff writer
Decorated war veterans and members of the Utah National Guard filled a ballroom at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, on Wednesday, June 27, 2012, to honor Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and seven other Utahns with the Bronze Minuteman Award—an award granted to military members and civilians for their service to the state and their communities.
“You are an example of people finding ways to serve,” Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert said. “In the throes of adversity we see the character of the people. We’ve got challenging times; we’ve had some challenging times. It is not just the fires going on today. ... It’s been amazing to see the character of the people in these times of adversity as they’ve stepped forward.”
This year’s honorees come from many backgrounds, including local leaders of religion, business, education, and military service.
“There has been a lot of service, some visible and some not so visible,” Governor Herbert said. “But each one, like a pebble thrown into a pond, has tremendous impact and ripple. Those ripples go through the country and communities.”
The group recognized Elder Nelson for his spiritual guidance and leadership to the people of Utah and the United States and for a lifetime of medical achievement and service.
Prior to his call as an Apostle in 1984, Elder Nelson was internationally known as a renowned surgeon and medical researcher.
His professional work included the positions of research professor of surgery, director of the thoracic surgery residency at the University of Utah, and chairman of the division of thoracic surgery at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City. He served on many councils and boards and in many societies within the medical field.
Elder Nelson served a two-year tour of duty in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, where he was stationed in Korea, Japan, and at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. While stationed in Asia, Elder Nelson and his team worked in nearly every mobile army surgical hospital in Korea, in several battalion aid stations, and in nearly every Allied medical institution in South Korea and Japan.
Also among the honorees was Dr. Craig Jessop, former Mormon Tabernacle Choir director, honored for a lifetime spent enriching lives through the gift of music. Prior to his assignment with the Tabernacle Choir, he served in the U.S. Air Force, where he was director of the U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants in Washington, D.C., and as commander and director of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Band at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. He retired as a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force. He now holds the position of founding dean for the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University.
This year marks the 51st Bronze Minuteman Awards dinner, an event sponsored by the Honorary Colonels Corps of Utah—an organization promoting goodwill and positive relations between the National Guard and local Utah communities.
Major General Brian L. Tarbet and Honorary Colonels Corps Commander Brigadier General (retired) E. J. “Jake” Garn presented those honored at the event with the Bronze Minuteman Award. Other 2012 recipients included Dr. Harvey A. Davis, Tom Guinney, Command Sergeant Major Bruce D. Summers, Major General Brian L. Tarbet, Colonel Richard C. Workman, and Brigadier General Roland R. Wright.