From fixing up old cars to preserving pioneer history to cleaning up after natural disasters, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are keeping busy all over the country, and the press is noticing.
Several news outlets, including the Huffington Post, NPR and the Morning Sun, reported on 14-year-old Katheryn DiMaria, a member of the LDS Church in Mount Pleasant, Mich., who is currently ensuring she has a car to drive when she’s 16 by building it herself. Together with her father she is working to rebuild a Pontiac Fiero she bought for $450. Though the project has been lots of hard work, DiMaria told the Huffington Post she’s going to stick with it until it’s finished.
"At first it was just a project and something cool to do, but now it is a part of my past and who I am. So it's staying with me as long as possible," DiMaria said.
According to an article in the Akron (Ohio) Beacon-Journal, which was also picked up by the Associated Press, a 19th century Mormon cemetery was discovered beneath an old elementary school in Barberton, Ohio, that was recently closed down. So far they have found 24 headstones from 1836 to 1893, and researchers believe there were at least 100 people buried there — so there is a lot left to find. Historians believe this location played an important role in Zion’s Camp, a period when members of the LDS Church gathered to head West and protect other Mormons from being persecuted.
In other historical news, The Herald Journal reported on the historic Smithfield Tabernacle, which currently serves as an outdated recreation center that is slowly falling into disrepair. Several community members feel strongly about the importance of this building to their city and are working to preserve its heritage.
“This is a symbol of our pioneer ancestry,” said Ralph Erickson, president of the Smithfield Historical Society. “When I look at the bricks of this building, I don't see bricks, but I see names of families who lived in Smithfield. So you might say it’s a part of me.”
Several newspapers are also reporting on Latter-day Saints around the country who are helping their communities recover after disaster. The Daily Journal in Vineland, N.J., reported that following the widespread power outages on the East Coast, Mormon Helping Hands combined with the United Methodist Church to help the elderly and disabled who are most affected by this disaster.
The Idaho State Journal reported that after the Charlotte Fire destroyed 66 homes near Pocatello last month, more than 2,000 Latter-day Saint volunteers came to help clean up the wreckage. Larry Fisher, regional public affairs officer for the LDS Church, said this was “as many volunteers as we could handle” and more than enough to help the community to recover from the damage.