Dick Harmon: Half African-American, half Haitian recruit is all BYU

Published: Monday, Feb. 9 2009 12:03 a.m. MST

ties and I hid from them," she said. "I thought they were from the FBI or

the CIA or something and they were out to question me about something.

"But one of them was a black guy and he had a white companion. My friend

Jerry, who said he knew a guy who spoke French, meant this black

missionary, who was from Haiti, though his family had migrated to the

Bahamas. He joined the LDS Church when he lived with his cousins in


Emily began taking lessons from the missionaries until her brother found

out and put a stop to it.

"He is Catholic and had heard the Mormons didn't have a good history

with blacks," she said. "Since he was responsible for me, he told me he

didn't want the missionaries to come over any more. I was underaged."

A short time later, she was walking down the street near her home in

Sacramento on a Sunday, heading to a gas station to get a snack, when she

passed an LDS stake center. Out in front of the building, missionaries saw

her and called her name. Standing there with them was the French-speaking

friend, who'd finished his mission and returned to visit. His name was Joel


She admits she "pursued" Timo when he invited her to visit in Florida.

After living with his family for a short time, she returned to Sacramento,

and then moved to Miami.

"I admit it was crazy," she said. "At the time, I didn't think it was


She got a basement apartment for $150 a month, invited the missionaries

over and later joined the LDS faith.

Emily and Joel married in the Oakland Temple. Joel accepted a call as

Haitian branch president, where he served for five years.

"We had three beautiful children," said Emily. Chris came in 1986,

Ashley two years later and Adam in 1990. The couple later divorced and

Emily moved to St. George, where she is currently working as a nurse

assistant and attending Dixie State College.

Chris, who played football at Dixie State College, served as a soldier

nearly two years in Iraq before returning to Dixie State. Ashley is a

member of Utah Valley University's track team, and Adam signed to play

football for the Cougars last Wednesday.

"I am still single," said Emily. "I promised myself when me and my ex

had a falling-out that I would dedicate my life to seeing these kids get an

education. Everything I've done is to help them. I feel sad for them

because I think I'm all they've got. I work really hard to see they receive

everything they can to succeed.

"When they are older and if somebody pops into my life, I'll go from

there, or I will return home to Togo, where I will try and serve my church

with the Ghana temple nearby."

Emily is proud that Adam is headed for BYU, a commitment he made nearly

two years ago, the first to pledge to sign in Bronco Mendenhall's class of


"I want my children to be grateful for their opportunities, to be polite

and kind and respectful," she said.

Adam recently changed his name to Adam Hine, his mother's maiden name.

"For personal reasons," he said.

When Mendenhall visited his home recently, it was a unique visit.

"We didn't talk much about football at all," said Adam. "We talked about

a lot of things. I told him I was still committed to sign."

Last week, when asked if he ever second-guessed himself over the early

decision and commitment so long ago, he said he's never given it a second

thought. He's now 20 pounds heavier and has more fully proven himself.

"No regrets, none at all. It's where I always wanted to be," Adam


Who has had the most influence in his life and his decisions? "My

family, my mom," he said.

In an era of de-commits and torrid recruiting rumors, Hine's signing day

was undramatic. At Snow Canyon High, he was the only one dressed up in a

shirt and tie, a sign of respect for the moment.

To Hine, a commitment is simple. It's for real.E-mail: dharmon@desnews.com

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