Newsmaker: President Named for International Literacy Organization
On 1 June 1999 Dr. Richard T. La Pointe of the McLean First Ward, McLean Virginia Stake, was named president of Laubach Literacy, the world’s oldest and largest nonprofit literacy education organization, with 1,100 member programs throughout the United States and 69 partner programs in 36 developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. “It is a privilege to be part of an organization with such a distinguished history and such a noble purpose,” says Brother La Pointe. “The 21st century will pose a significant challenge for those of us engaged in efforts to help make the people of the United States and of the world more literate.”
Brother La Pointe has had a long career in education. He recently served as superintendent of public instruction for the Commonwealth of Virginia and has formerly served as deputy assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education in the U.S. Department of Education under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush.
One of Brother La Pointe’s longtime interests has been the Boy Scouts of America, and he spent 12 years as a Scoutmaster. He has earned the Silver Beaver Award and is currently serving as vice president of the National Capital Area Council, Washington, D.C.
Brother La Pointe, a high counselor in the McLean Virginia Stake, is married to Ruth Ann Williams, and the couple have nine children ranging in age from 13 to 33. Two sons are currently serving missions, one in Montreal, Canada, and one in Durban, South Africa.
Pacific Islands Area Authority Seventy
Elder Eugene E. F. W. Reid, who was named to the Third Quorum of the Seventy on 5 April 1997, was first introduced to the Church when he began dating Ruthdelene Tuputausi, a young woman who invited him to attend Mutual in Pago Pago, American Samoa. He enjoyed the meetings with other youth, and later, when he left to attend school in New Zealand, he decided to contact the missionaries.
“I didn’t know how to find them,” he says. “The only place I could think of to go to find out was the local police station. There, the officer told me, ‘Don’t you know that Mormons are not Christian?’ I laughed and responded, ‘I didn’t come for a lecture.’” Eugene was given the address of the branch president and went to his home. The president assured him the missionaries would stop by the next day.
He was baptized in June 1966. “After my baptism, my friends were curious to find out why I’d joined,” recalls Elder Reid. “I told them, ‘My life has changed, and I feel happy.’” The next year he married his sweetheart, Ruthdelene.
Elder Reid was born on 17 December 1943. He graduated from St. Paul’s College in Auckland and attended Otago University, then went into business for himself. His business interests have included fast foods, a grocery store, and a dry cleaning and laundromat business.
The Reids, who were sealed in the New Zealand Temple, have 13 children—8 boys and 5 girls. Six have already served missions, a seventh is currently serving in the Honolulu Hawaii Mission, and the eighth has just received a call to the Panama Panama City Mission. “As a father I give my children blessings before the beginning of every school year. After each semester we discuss their report cards and set goals together for the coming semester. We hold family home evening and gather for scripture reading and family prayer. I love my children and enjoy being with them.”
Both Elder and Sister Reid have enjoyed a variety of sports over the years, including basketball, tennis, golf, and racquetball. Their children share their enthusiasm for sports and play on school teams. “As busy as we are in our business and Church assignments,” he says, “we always make a point to be with our children when they play sports.” One of their sons, Spencer, plays professional football in the United States.
Elder Reid has served as a branch president, stake president, and regional representative. “The Church has helped me to become closer to Heavenly Father and to my family,” he says. “It has given me the strength to spread this blessing to friends and relatives.”
Swiss Award Winner
Michael Stanek, a member of the Wettingen Ward, Zurich Switzerland Stake, was honored in September 1998 with the Innovation Award from the Power Engineering Society of the Swiss Electrotechnical Association. The award is given annually for outstanding contributions to the field of power engineering and may be shared each year by a number of distinguished contributors. Brother Stanek, who shared the 1998 award with another individual, was honored for his work on synchronous control devices for high-voltage circuit breakers.
Michael was born in Vienna, Austria. His parents, first-generation members of the Church in Vienna, learned of the gospel as young adults. At age 21 Michael received a call to serve in the England London South Mission, which gave him an opportunity to become fluent in English, then returned to Vienna to pursue his education. He studied electrical engineering at the Vienna University of Technology, and during his final year he transferred to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.
While preparing to move to Switzerland, he decided to attend a young single adult conference held at the Frankfurt Germany Temple, where he hoped to meet new friends among the Swiss Latter-day Saints in attendance. As he began associating with his new friends, he met Ilse Barbara Horwath, and the two began dating. They were married in January 1999.
While Michael was finishing his thesis, a large electrical engineering company offered him a job. “I feel the Lord has guided me to serve a mission, then to pursue this particular field of engineering that eventually brought me to Switzerland, where I was able to meet my wife,” says Brother Stanek.
He serves as ward clerk in the Wettingen Ward, Zurich Switzerland Stake.
In the Spotlight
Donald G. Godfrey has been elected president of the Broadcast Education Association by the association’s board of directors. A member of the Mesa Arizona 45th Ward, Mesa South Stake, Brother Godfrey counsels parents to watch good television programs with children: “Watch programs that teach about people, cultures, current events, or the environment.” His duties include the development of teaching, research, and service opportunities for students and faculty in broadcast education.
Overcoming long odds, Shari Avance Buck of North Las Vegas, Nevada, won election in June to a seat on the city council, joining the mayor and one other council member who are also Latter-day Saints. Sister Buck, a 38-year-old mother of four and graduate of Brigham Young University, marshalled a door-to-door campaign with the help of her husband and children. She is a Gospel Doctrine teacher in the Craig Ranch Ward, North Las Vegas North Stake, where her husband serves as bishop.