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Las Vegas youth conference serves others with "Senior Prom"

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

The youth of the Las Vegas Nevada Stake brought a whole new meaning to the term “Senior Prom” during their recent youth conference on March 26. As they met to plan the conference, the youth expressed a desire to organize a service project at St. Josephs, a local rehabilitation center. It was decided they would hold a dance for the residents, complete with decorations and corsages for all.

A member of the stake has been a longtime resident at St. Josephs. Dale Dulaney, 52, became stricken with muscular dystrophy as a child and was in a wheelchair by the age of 13. He has spent the last 22 years at St. Josephs. He breathes with the aid of a machine that literally inflates and deflates his lungs. He cannot move or do anything for himself, but he listens to scriptures on tape and works on a computer using a straw. He blows through the straw for a right click and sucks for a left click.

Despite such devastating medical problems, Brother Dulaney’s testimony is strong, and he is an inspiration to many of his ward and stake members. He also has an impact on members of the community, the basketball coach at UNLV often brings team members to visit Brother Dulaney, and they too are touched by his remarkable spirit and attitude. He is an active missionary, handing out Books of Mormon to visitors who come to see him. He recently told his bishop that he is far too busy to waste time watching TV!

The "Senior Prom" was scheduled for Saturday afternoon. The young men and women made their way to St. Josephs dressed in their Sunday best. It was a tender moment as the young people walked in to find that their older friends, many in wheelchairs, had also dressed in their best and were proudly wearing the corsages made by the young people. The experience is one that will long be remembered not only by the elderly recipients of such beautiful service, but also the youth who were deeply touched by this amazing opportunity and blessing.

As the stake's youth conference came to a close, youth and leaders gathered for a testimony meeting that began with the taped testimony of Brother Dulaney. His powerful and heartfelt testimony invited the spirit into the meeting and those present were touched by all of the testimonies borne. It was striking to notice how many of the youth mentioned their experience at St. Josephs. They testified again and again of the joy they found in the service of others. There were many activities over the 3-day conference including dinners, dances, meet and greet activities and more, but it was apparent that of all the activities during the conference, this was the experience that had made the most impact on them.

Eliza Harris and Emily Ankenman pose for a photo with one of the St. Josephs residents.
Eliza Harris and Emily Ankenman pose for a photo with one of the St. Josephs residents. Photo: Photo by Lauren Karn

One of the youth who attended, Sebastien Fraser, stated: "May we all learn from Brother Delaney that it doesn't matter what physical state we are in, as long as we turn to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that is why he still presses onward." The Las Vegas Nevada Stake youth have also increased their desire to press forward serving others as well as serving Jesus Christ.