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Jamboree chaplain

Alaskan Scouter serves others two years after Virginia tragedy

Scout Jamborees have become a defining element of Larry Call's life.

Brother Call is a family man and faithful Church member. He is a proud Alaskan, a dentist by profession and, in recent days, a chaplain at the 2007 World Jamboree in England. Indeed, Brother Call enjoys a rich life.

But, again, much of who he is can be traced to Scouting and a few life-changing Jamboree moments.

Thirty years ago, Brother Call was a young LDS Scout he attended a national Jamboree. He left that memorable event determined that one day he would return. That wish was realized two summers ago when Brother Call and his Scout son Kendell joined a group of fellow Alaskan Scouters traveling to Virginia for the National Scout Jamboree at Fort AP Hill.

Brother Call's experience there would make national news and cause thousands of Scouts to mourn. On July 25, 2005, he and several other leaders and boys from Alaska were preparing their Jamboree campsite. Brother Call and a few others worked together, erecting a large canopy. As they were raising the canopy's center pole, the pole came in contact with an overhanging power line.

Brother Call was injured in the accident. Four other men were killed, including his close friend and fellow Church member Michael LaCroix.

Amid extreme sadness, Brother Call found comfort in priesthood blessings and the prayers of several fellow members attending the National Jamboree. Counted among his supporters were a pair of LDS Scout leaders from Las Vegas, Nev., who Brother Call had met moments before the electrical accident. Paul Moffat and Todd Moody were serving as chaplains at the Jamboree. Their shepherding duties were called upon in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy. In a few short days, Brother Moffat and Brother Moody had become lifelong friends with Brother Call.

Given the dark memories of that recent summer, it would be understandable if Brother Call opted to avoid future Jamborees. But when an invitation came to serve as a chaplain at the 2007 World Jamboree, "there was no hesitation at all — it's been a privilege to participate."

As an LDS chaplain, Brother Call served under the direction of event head chaplains Charles W. Dahlquist II and Michael A. Neider of the Young Men general presidency. His fellow LDS chaplains were Brother Moffat and Brother Moody, along with Don Ellison. Brother Call was also joined at the World Jamboree by his son Evan, 15.

"We have a bond because of a common, tragic experience," wrote Brother Moody, who presides over the Las Vegas Nevada Highland Hills Stake.

"Larry is a great, great person," added Brother Moffat. "He is so anxious to give back in large ways."

Pedaling bikes to navigate the massive English encampment, the team of LDS chaplains helped friendship and minister to the some 40,000 Scouts attending the Jamboree from more than 150 countries. Much of Brother Call's time was spent handing out commemorative LDS-themed coins and patches to the many Scouts who visited the Church's information tent at the Jamboree's Faith and Beliefs section. He also offered a listening ear to homesick Scouts eager for a seasoned friend.

Brother Call said he was often recognized at the World Jamboree by Scouts and leaders who participated in the 2005 National Jamboree. Many shared tender feelings, recalling the tragedy and unity that defined the Virginia gathering.

Thoughts of Brother LaCroix and the other fallen Alaskan leaders were always present. "Mike had a huge impact on my life," he said. "It was a privilege to know him."

Reporting from the World Jamboree, Brother Dahlquist called the international gathering "an incredible experience" that brought LDS Scouts of many nations together. He wrote of the global unity found in the Aug. 5 sacrament meeting held under a large tent.

"The invocation was given in English by a young man who spoke French. The hymns were sung in many languages. The sacrament was administered by priests speaking two languages. Three testimonies were given by youth participants, one from a Tahitian Aaronic Priesthood holder. And the closing prayer was given in Spanish by a Venture."

At that meeting, Brother Dahlquist spoke of the small things that can yield great results. He told of how the lessons learned earning a lifesaving merit badge prepared a boy to save a drowning younger brother. And how a boy who learned to pray at his mother's knee would once again pray in a secluded, sacred grove and bring about the gospel's restoration.

Brother Neider also spoke of prayer's sacred power, sharing personal stories and lessons from the Book of Mormon.

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