Posts Tagged ‘Orem citizens’
Court McGee, a Utah native and Orem resident, is a mixed martial artist and the Season 11 champion on “The Ultimate Fighter.” He has been a professional MMA competitor since 2007 and now competes with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the largest professional martial arts organization in the world. What is truly inspiring about McGee is how he overcame adversity to become a successful fighter and father. In high school he competed as a wrestler, but became a heroin addict and alcoholic in his early adult years. In 2005 he overdosed on heroin and was declared clinically dead. McGee was fortunately resuscitated and given another chance at life. He decided to give up his addictions and focus his energy on training and fighting. He has been clean since 2006 and is now a professional in his sport, a self-proclaimed “family guy,” and the father of two boys. I am impressed by the way McGee was able to turn his life around and become so successful in his sport. His story is just one of many inspiring stories in our community. I am proud to live in a great community that boasts a citizenry with diverse skills and talents. I wish Court McGee much success in his future endeavors.
Yesterday so many of us wanted to find a memorable way to recognize the last sequential date that we will see in our lifetime: 12-12-12. A year ago, one Orem scout troop leader issued a challenge to his scouts to make this day significant. He wanted to have a dozen scouts awarded their Eagle rank on 12-12-12. In true Orem fashion, the scout troop met and exceeded the challenge. They held a court of honor yesterday to present Eagle Scout Awards to 13 scouts (a baker’s dozen). I had the privilege to attend the ceremony and speak to these fine young men. I was also honored to be in attendance with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, whose grandson was one of the Eagle Scouts. It was an inspiring event and one I’m sure they each will remember for the rest of their lives. Congratulations to Orem’s 13 newest Eagle Scouts. This is no small accomplishment. I have no doubt they will continue to represent and serve our community well.
Kids on the Move. For those who may not know, Kids on the Move is a great local organization that helps families who have children with disabilities or developmental delays. During the celebration breakfast, parents shared their stories. One of the parents, Sarah Samuelson, spoke about her daughter, Lucy, who has a rare disorder called Sotos Syndrome. Sarah is an artist who has always had a passion for painting tulips. Sarah’s bright, cheerful paintings are featured at both Kids on the Move and Primary Children’s Hospital. Visit her blog at tulippainter.blogspot.com to catch a glimpse of her beautiful work and her beautiful daughter. Her tulip paintings are significant in these places that serve children who are dealing with challenges. Have you read the essay called “Welcome to Holland” written by a mother to describe her experience as the parent of a disabled child? It is a heartfelt piece that likens the excitement of expecting a baby with planning a special trip to Italy. When parents find out that their child has a disability, they may find themselves on a different parenting journey than they originally expected. Instead of going to Italy, they are now going to Holland. The journey is different, but there is beauty along the way such as the tulips in Holland. I so admire the strength of parents and the many others who work with Kids on the Move. It is inspiring to see these folks work so hard to provide the best possible lives for our children.
We’d like to take a minute this week to thank one of our citizens for their years of service on the Planning Commission. Karl Gadd has been a well-informed and respected member of the Planning Commission for almost five years, and he served as the Chair during the last year. Just to get an idea of how much service he has rendered, the Planning Commission meets twice a month for 2-4 hours each time. So, in his years of service, he’s logged over 330 hours of non-paid voluntary service just in meeting time alone. What a great example of dedication to our community! Karl has been great to work with over the last several years, and we extend our sincere thanks for his great service. Orem has many amazing volunteers, and I’m so proud to live in a community where people give generously of their time and resources. We wish Karl all the best in the future and hope those he teaches at Oak Canyon Junior High will appreciate his dedication as well. I know that my children who had Mr. Gadd as their teacher sure enjoyed his support and teaching abilities. Thanks, Karl!
assembly for Aspen Elementary School, I had the privilege of meeting Fred William Mason, a local gentleman who had some incredible experiences as a Marine in World War II. Mr. Mason was actually on the hill in Iwo Jima when the flag was planted. He knew the men who are featured in one of the most iconic photos of our time, because he was there as history unfolded. After talking to Mr. Mason, I wanted to hear more about his experiences. Through the Veterans History Project, I was able to read all about Mr. Mason’s experience as well as his insights before, during, and after his service in World War II. I was particularly touched by the following words in Mr. Mason’s bio: “I’m glad I did what I had to do. I’m glad I made it. I was glad to be home. Military service makes a person really think about his life . . . It makes you appreciate the guy that’s doing the fighting now. If I could, if I had to, I would do it all again . . . It makes you proud of who you are and what you stand for and the country that you appreciate. I became a pretty good man in the Marine Corp. I was just a kid when I went in, and I came out a man.” Throughout our history, we have seen young men and women give so much in the service of our country. Some gave all. Many are still giving. As we commemorate Veterans Day this year, I am grateful to all those who have served in the military. I am grateful for the personal sacrifices that have helped to protect the freedoms we all enjoy. It was a pleasure to meet Fred Mason. He is an amazing individual who is still volunteering in our schools today. I appreciate all he did for our country and all he continues to do for our community. Thank you.
If you know of a veteran whose story hasn’t been recorded, please call my office at the City, (801) 229-7035. We’ll connect them with the people who can help record these important voices in our history.