Utah National Guard honors President Packer of the LDS Church, 7 others
SALT LAKE CITY — Eight outstanding Utahns, including a high leader in the LDS Church, were honored Tuesday at the 52nd annual Bronze Minuteman Awards Dinner of the Utah National Guard.
In a ceremony at the Little America Hotel, the award recipients were President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake Chamber President Lane Beattie, Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank; Mark and Sally Dietlein of the Hale Center Theater; Master Sgt. (Ret.) Mark B. Harrison; Gail Miller, who built a Utah business empire with her late husband Larry; and, in a surprise announcement, Patti Griffith, who organized the program but was unaware of her award before her name was announced.
Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert joined Brig. Gen. (Ret) Jake Garn, a former U.S. senator from Utah who serves as commander of the Guard's Honorary Colonels Corps, and Maj. Gen. Jeff Burton, the adjutant general of Utah, in presenting the awards.
Narrating the awards ceremony, Lt. Col. Hank McIntire gave information about each honoree as he or she in turn was escorted to the awards table and faced the audience.
President Packer has been in the Quorum of the Twelve since 1970. Prior to that, he was a teacher and administrator in the seminaries and institutes of religion of the church. He was an Army Air Corps pilot in World War II serving in the Pacific Theater. As as member of the church's Military Relations Committee in the 1960s, he was instrumental in securing authorization from President Johnson and the Defense Department for LDS service members to serve as chaplains.
Beattie, the president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber, served for 12 years in the Utah State Senate and for six years as its president. He was the chief state Olympic officer for the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympic Games.
Burbank has been police chief since 2006, having served in the department since 1991. In 2010, he was selected as the public official of the year by the local YMCA for his work on behalf of women and children in Salt Lake City, and has received similar accolades from Latino immigrant organizations for his dedication to diversity. Earlier this year he was selected as one of six police chiefs to meet with President Obama to discuss the the administration's plan regarding gun violence.
The Dietleins are co-founders of the Hale Center Theater in West Valley City. Sally is an actress, choreographer, composer and producer, and Mark is a performer, director and businessman. They've combined their efforts to make their theater the best-attended in Utah with more than 24,000 season ticket holder. Sally is a board member of the American Lung Association, and Mark serves on a national level with the Boy Scouts of America.
Harrison was a member of the Utah Army National Guard for 35 years as an artilleryman, administrator and recruiter. He is on the board of directors of the Spanish Fork Chamber of Commerce and is the president of the Spanish Fork Jaycees. He chairs the Spanish Fork Flag Retirement Ceremony, an event where hundreds of U.S. flags are retired by the Guard and by young people in Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
Miller is the owner of the Larry H. Miller Group of companies and chairs the Larry H. and Gail Miller Foundation, a charitable endeavor that assists a number of projects and causes. Since Larry's death in 2009, Gail has been involved in all aspects of the company and foundation operations.
Griffith began working for the Utah National Guard in 1989, first working in human resources and then as executive assistant to Adjutant Gen. John Mathews. She has served in that capacity for each subsequent adjutant general. Her duties include overseeing the details of the Honorary Colonels Corps. Because of her work organizing the event, Burton felt it would be fitting to honor her.
"However, because Patti is the heart and soul of everything the honorary colonels do, we had to employ all of our covert operations training" to preserve the surprise, McIntire said.
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