The USS Missouri Memorial Association recognized the Church for its many hours of volunteer service performed by members and missionaries on the battleship at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
For the past 10 years, missionaries from the Church have provided service aboard the famous decommissioned United States Navy battleship known as the “Mighty Mo.” The association presented a plaque made out of the ship’s original teakwood deck to Elder Daniel L. Johnson of the Seventy and Hawaii Honolulu Mission President Stephen R. Warner, who received it on behalf of President Thomas S. Monson in a ceremony aboard the ship on Dec. 5.
“I hope as you serve on this ship, as you donate hours, that it will create something inside of you that will also help you value the freedom that this ship and others have helped to bring to us,” Elder Johnson told the young missionaries.
“This historic nature of this ship is really representative of the freedom that we fight for and we hold so dear as a church,” said President Warner.
“The work of the LDS volunteers has been very instrumental to what the ship looks like today,” said Michael A. Carr, president and CEO of the USS Missouri Memorial Association.
Every week on Wednesday mornings, a group of 16 elders, sisters and senior missionaries can be seen cleaning, sweeping, wiping handrails, painting, moving material on and off the ship and setting up and taking down chairs, banners and flags for programs and ceremonies. The service project also includes a history lesson about the ship.
“We just do whatever needs to be done,” explained Elder Lee Cordon of Meridian, Idaho. He and his wife, Vickie L. Cordon, are serving as missionaries in the Hawaii Honolulu Mission.
Church missionaries and members began volunteering on the ship 15 years ago, providing a total of 27,000 hours of service. The missionaries from 10 mission districts on the island of Oahu have been credited with an estimated 15,000 hours of service since they started volunteering on a regular basis in 2010.
Elder Russ Cleveland has been documenting some of the service provided by the missionaries on the ship with his camera. He and his wife are from California, but they are serving as senior missionaries in Honolulu.
“What a treat for us,” is how the couple described an opportunity to serve on the ship last spring. The service project included sweeping the deck, dusting the white folding chairs and moving 97 mattresses from the lower decks of the ship to the pier so they could be transferred to a Canadian ship that was damaged in a fire.