There is one thing President Thomas S. Monson remembers clearly about his "Navy days" at the San Diego Naval Training Station.
"There was only one African American in our company," said the first counselor in the LDS Church First Presidency. "His name was Malsby, and we bunked alphabetically."There was Malsby and there was Monson for 16 weeks of basic training every morning, every noon and every night. A wonderful young man. A man who was a pioneer. . . .
"And I was pleased that he was my partner and I was his friend," he said.
Reflecting upon this and other "early events of my life that have shaped how I feel about things, how I respond to other things," President Monson accepted an award from the National Conference for Community and Justice, formerly known as the National Conference of Christian and Jews and more recently as the National Conference, for a lifetime of advocacy, service and dedication to Utah and the betterment of humanity.
"I know many of the recipients of this honor . . . and I'm deeply humbled that I've been privileged to stand among them," President Monson said.
Similarly honored was Carolyn D. Smith, who, among other things, is the first black female engineer in the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile System Program Office at Hill Air Force Base. She became chief electronic engineer for the ICBM test center, where she directed 150 engineers and technicians, and served as propulsion system integration engineer for the Minuteman and Peacekeeper weapons systems.
Smith, a self-proclaimed "family mom" of four who in addition to her professional work engages in numerous religious and community activities, accepted her award encouraging the young people of Utah to make a difference in life.
"You can make a difference in this world," she said. "You can make a difference in your classroom. You can make a difference in your home.
"Wherever you go, as one individual, you can make a difference and you can be whatever you want to be with the help of God."
In the night's keynote address, National Conference President and CEO Sanford Cloud Jr. encouraged Utahns to be inclusive and respectful of each other as they prepare to host the world during the 2002 Winter Olympics.
"For many (visitors) it will be the first time they have an opportunity to view America," Cloud said. "Will they see and feel a city that embraces them? A world that is inclusive? A world that is civil and respectful of the other?
"Will there be diversity around the table of decision-making and problem-solving to assure that all of you will have an opportunity to participate in the economic benefits that will come?" Cloud asked.
"I think you will, because you are a community of big vision . . . prepared to engage in the honest conversations that you need to have to engage in the challenges that are before you to be hosts to the world . . . (and) because the leadership of this community has a mind-set to be inclusive and civil and respectful of each other."