Elder Holland Receives Exemplary Manhood Award
By Ryan McDonald, Church News staff writer
WASHINGTON CITY, UTAH
Returning to the area where he grew up, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve participated in multiple events in Washington County celebrating Pioneer Day.
On July 23, Elder Holland was surprised to find himself honored with the Washington County Exemplary Manhood Award, given annually to recognize men in the community who have exemplified what true men ought to be, said Dale Ure to The Spectrum, a newspaper that serves the St. George area.
According to The Spectrum, the award was given at a luau where “semi-retired” Polynesian performers who used to be part of Hawaii’s LDS Polynesian Cultural Center entertained the attendees.
A day later, Elder Holland and his wife, Sister Patricia Holland, were the grand marshals of Washington City’s Pioneer Day Parade. Among other participants, Elder and Sister Holland were joined in the parade by Boy Scouts, full-time missionaries from the Utah St. George Mission, and a contingent of youth who portrayed missionaries and the 2,000 stripling warriors from the Book of Mormon. Participants came from throughout the western United States.
“[We wanted them] to feel that group oneness, being part of a big event and realizing that you are an important part,” said Brother Rick Neilson, the parade organizer and Young Men president of the Washington 4th Ward in the Washington Utah Stake. “You may only be one, but you are an important part of a big picture.”
Dressed as Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell, Silver Beaver recipient David Ott led 47 Scouts along the parade route. Led by two men representing Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, a combined group of about 150 full-time missionaries and youth represented the Church’s effort to preach the gospel. Helaman’s 2,000 stripling warriors were represented by 174 young men. In front of that group were 10 drummers. Elder Holland paraded in between the Scouts and the missionaries.
“I think it was just very symbolic—the past, the present, and the future idea behind it,” said Brother Cary Chamberlain, a fellow ward member of Brother Neilson’s who was dressed as Helaman for the parade. “It was a great experience. Elder Holland was there, and that was wonderful to have a living Apostle there with us.”