SALT LAKE CITY — Wednesday was a "giant chocolate chip cookie day" for Bishop H. David Burton, presiding bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Bishop Burton marks memorable events in his life with varying amounts of chocolate chip cookies. On Wednesday night, Bishop Burton received the "Giant in Our City" award from the Salt Lake Chamber, earning it a 'giant cookie day' designation.
"Bishop Burton's influence goes way beyond his current role as bishop," said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. "This is a brilliant businessman, but most importantly a caring, loving human being."
Playing on the cookie ranking, upwards of 2,000 guests who attended the award ceremony at the Grand America Hotel, including Gov. Gary Herbert, the First Presidency of the LDS Church, Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker and Senate President Michael Waddoups, toasted chocolate chip cookies in Bishop Burton's honor.
"I'm deeply grateful for the acknowledgment," Bishop Burton said in reaction to the award. "I love this city," the lifelong Salt Lake resident said.
As the 31st recipient of the award, Bishop Burton joins the likes of Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman Sr., Gordon B. Hinckley and Larry Miller. Last year's recipient was Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish.
In his role as presiding bishop, Bishop Burton handles "mostly the business affairs of the church," including humanitarian aid and the development of the $1.5 billion City Creek Center, which is about a year from completion.
Bishop Burton said the City Creek project has already impacted the city's economy, citing the thousands of construction jobs the project has created.
Bill Taubman, chief operating officer of Taubman Centers, the management and consulting arm of City Creek, was the keynote speaker at the award ceremony.
Taubman said Bishop Burton has "a tireless commitment to his hometown" and jokingly said that his hometown of Detroit would gladly give up a few draft picks "if he was willing to be traded."
Taubman and others lauded Bishop Burton's efforts in championing the downtown mixed-use project that has taken up much of Bishop Burton's time for the past 10 years.
"Bishop Burton is not afraid of big ideas and ambitious goals," Taubman said. "(He) has willed the development of City Creek driven by his love of this city and respect for its future."
So what does Bishop Burton plan to do with his extra time when the City Creek project is finally complete?
But after the way his friends and colleagues described his work ethic throughout the praise-filled night, that doesn't seem likely.