Willing and Able
The sign inside his door reads, “Being disabled does not mean being unable.” For Kevin Likes, this motto has become a way of life. A member of the Union Fort Ninth Ward, Midvale Utah Union Fort Stake, he now serves as a home teacher. Kevin has served previously in other wards as elders quorum president and as a counselor in the elders quorum presidency. His life has been dedicated to serving others, with a special emphasis on enabling the disabled.
A victim of a severe form of muscular dystrophy, Kevin knows the real meaning of “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” His muscles are wasting away, and his already limited movement is decreasing. Besides that, he has diabetes and asthma. But Kevin has already lived longer than the disease usually allows.
Appointed by Utah’s Governor Norman H. Bangerter, Kevin has served as legislative chair for the Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities and has spent countless hours lobbying before the legislature to pass important bills that relate to the disabled.
Legislators know and respect Kevin for his advocacy of the cause and for being such an articulate spokesman. At the end of one legislative session, Kevin was given recognition for his outstanding efforts when he received an award from the legislative coalition. Jan Mallett, director of the Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities, said, “Kevin is a respected voice for the disabled.” Because of his condition, he has a tracheostomy, which allows him to breathe. Usually such a hole in the throat prevents speech. “The only way I can explain my ability to speak is that it is an act of God,” Kevin says with an infectious smile.
“Kevin is a real presence at the capitol,” said Marilyn Call, director of the Legislative Coalition for People with Disabilities. “He takes away everyone’s excuses for getting things done, when they all realize how much he goes through just to get there.”
Excuses? Kevin doesn’t know the meaning of the word. In 1981, Kevin earned a degree in business management at the community college, maintaining an A- average. With the help of his sister, Ramona, and his mother, both of whom also suffer severe disabilities, and his friends, Kevin has refused to believe in excuses.
In the past year, Kevin has been hospitalized frequently for congestive heart failure and complications of his diabetes. His faith allows him to see his trials as “helping him grow.” He says, “My philosophy of life is that if we stay close to the Lord, anything is possible.” Friends feel Kevin’s faith and seek the blessing of associating with him.—, Laramie, Wyoming
Ron and Francine Harvey and their five children live in Apohaqui, a small farming community near Sussex in southern New Brunswick, Canada.
They are the only dairy farmers in the province who are Latter-day Saints.
The Harveys joined the Church in 1979 after receiving a copy of the Book of Mormon from missionaries. When Francine read the word Nephi on the first page, she suddenly remembered having read part of the Book of Mormon when she was just a little girl. “We were already searching,” says Ron, “and that one word sparked a happy memory and the beginning of a testimony. The next time I saw those missionaries in Sussex, I stopped them and asked them to come teach us. The rest is history.”
Now serving as president of the 150-member Sussex Branch, Ron maintains, “Latter-day Saints are few and far between out here, but the Church has a great future in New Brunswick. We have good priesthood leadership in the district, our Melchizedek Priesthood activity is very high, and we have strong sisters.”
He adds that the members there faithfully attend the temple, even though it costs around five hundred dollars per person to get to the temple in Washington, D.C. The district meets its temple goals year after year.
“Most of the people here are converts to the Church,” he continues, “so we’re all very thankful to those who send their sons and daughters on missions.”
Foreign exchange students have lived with the Harveys, two of whom have joined the Church—one from British Columbia and one from Malawi, Africa.—, Salt Lake City, Utah
From his Washington, D.C., office, Willard Carlos (Bill) McBride places a series of calls to check on an elderly woman’s Social Security benefits. Later, he stops at a store to pick up groceries for two of the widows he serves as home teacher. Still later, he visits a friend in the hospital, helping her make decisions about her future.
A longtime resident of the Capitol Ward, in the Suitland Maryland Stake, Bill is a distinguished Washington attorney who has used his knowledge of the law to help many troubled youth in court and to help immigrants obtain papers in order for them to become naturalized or to find work. He serves as a lifeline to many people both in his ward and out of its boundaries.
Born on 22 January 1918, Bill acquired a habit of service early in life on his family’s small farm in the Gila Valley of Arizona. His father died at the peak of the Depression, so as the oldest son, Bill took over the plowing, sowing, and irrigating to keep the farm operating.
Occasionally taking on more than he could handle, Bill recalls one incident that taught him the value of carrying out any promise he ever makes. “When I was fourteen, I contracted with a neighbor to cut all the wood in his woodpile for $2.25,” he says. “We needed the money, and I thought I could do it. After three days of hard work, there was still much wood left to cut.
“Fortunately, my stepbrother, Donald, saw my situation and helped me complete the job. Donald had some words with the neighbor for having taken advantage of a boy. But the contract was carried out.”
Such experiences shaped the character of a man who keeps his word and knows the value of someone stepping in with assistance when needed.
Today, Bill and his wife, Georgia, have ten grandchildren, who love to see them visit. The lifeline he throws out for his family is his example of unheralded service.—, Loveland, Colorado