President Thomas S. Monson was one of six area leaders who was presented the "Service Above Self" award by Salt Lake City's Rotary Club during its Centennial Gala on Tuesday evening, Sept. 20, in the Salt Palace ballroom.
Along with President Monson, those honored were Ezekiel R. Dumke Jr., co-founder of the Katherine W. and Ezekiel Dumke Jr. Foundation; Kem C. Gardner, chairman of the KC Gardner Company; Jon M. Huntsman Sr., founder and chairman of the Huntsman Corporation; Beverly Taylor Sorenson, co-founder of the Sorenson Legacy Foundation; and Maj. Gen. Brian L. Tarbet, adjutant general of the Utah National Guard.
Charles W. Dahlquist, former Young Men general president and emcee of the awards ceremony, said President Monson has long been in his personal hall of heroes "because of the size and character of his own personal ministry."
He noted the busy schedule President Monson has maintained during the years as a General Authority since he was called to the Quorum of the Twelve in 1963 and especially as President of the Church. "I suppose there is not another in this community, perhaps the world … who spends as much time [as does President Monson] in hospitals, in homes, in care centers and countless other places ministering to the poor and the needy, the sick and the down-trodden, the young and the old — of all religions, creeds, colors and nationalities," Brother Dahlquist said.
He said President Monson's biography, To the Rescue is "not so much a clarion call — which it is — as a description of how President Monson has spent his whole life ministering and teaching by example. And the more I try to emulate his example, the more I recognize the huge heart and capacity for service he has, and the further behind I fall. I go to the hospital to visit — and he has already been there to minister. I prepare a talk for a funeral — and he comes to bless and comfort and lift. Weariness overcomes most of us — and yet, President Monson and his dear Frances continue to reach out, to lift, to bless, to love and to comfort."
Brother Dahlquist quoted President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve who, in the introduction to President Monson's biography, wrote: "He is more Christlike than the rest of us. He's known for emphasizing and elevating things that are most important, the ordinary things. He is the one for whom the widow and the orphan are not just statements in a book."
Brother Dahlquist said "Service Above Self" is the highest award the Rotary Club can give. "In a day when our youth so badly need heroes, mentors and role models, I could and will recommend each of these as a model of living true to the Rotary slogan of 'Service Above Self' in their personal, professional and private lives."