#GiveThanks Gratitude Blog #9: GRATITUDE FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE TOUCHED MY LIFE
By Kevin V. Hunt
As I have recently written a variety of articles on the subject of gratitude, I realized that I would be amiss and totally ungrateful if I did not recognize and express gratitude for people who have touched my life. At my current age in life, I realize that there are probably hundreds of great people who have touched my life and made an impact on me. And taking this on in a blog can be dangerous – in that there is so much possibility that I could forget someone. So, I make an apology up front. I do not want to forget anyone but still, the list could go on forever. Anyway, I express general gratitude for each of you for all that you have done for me. I am sure that your names and faces will come to me as I continue to think along this line of gratitude.
And as I make my list, and again because of age, I sadly realize that many of the great impactors have now since passed on. And even more sad, I did not tell some of them how much they meant to me.
I am grateful for My parents Russel F. Hunt and Alura Larsen – My folks brought me into the world. They taught me to be great and grand. Dad worked hard and never said ill of anyone. Mom is still living and giving as she always has. She taught me to work. She helped me to be a great Scout
I am grateful for My siblings – Lesa, Kyla, Darcy, Laurie, and Ray – Each one is special and taught me many good things. I am grateful for their service, their love, and their continuing association
I am grateful for My brother, Dean who died just a week before his 17th birthday. We had our brother moments and fought. He was the epitome of everything positive, a great leader, and just amazing. I think we have been better friends since his departure as we have shared projects. I am still proud to be “Dean Hunt’s brother!”
I am grateful for My Hunt and Larsen Grandparents. I do not remember my Grandma Larsen. She died when I was just three years old. But she raised my mother to be the great lady that she is today. Memories of Grandpa Larsen are kind of sketchy, but he is Grandpa. Grandpa Hunt … I can not say enough good about him. A pillar of strength! A man of God! And Grandma Augusta – mother of 13, grandmother of 82. The quilt maker! Always there to help in any way. She and I were partners in genealogy and family history.
I am grateful for Clara Hardy, a neighbor of my youth. Another grand lady. A super pie maker. Service was her watchword.
I am grateful for Clyde and Lucille Farr who were some of the greatest people I have ever known. I remember when we lived on their farm in Mesa, Arizona when we moved from Wyoming. Amazing parents of 10 children. They were like my second parents.
I am grateful for Deon Morris. Deon lived for many years on our Park Place street. He was a devoted friend to my father – even in dad’s bad times. Deon never gave up on him.
I am grateful for Jake and Emeda Taylor, who were our back-fence neighbors in my childhood. There was a fence between us, but Jake built a stile up over so that we could easily visit back and forth. They were like grandparents to me. I loved to go to their Walzburg, Utah farm. Jake’s yard and garden were like the Garden of Eden.
I am grateful for Early school teachers: Miss Downer (1st Grade), Mollymae Johnson (2nd Grade), Mrs. Rowena Brewer (3rd Grade), Miss Joyce Crismon (4th Grade – and whose brother Charles later married my sister – so we shared many fun family events together), Mr. Sherrill Newby (5th Grade), Miss Ann Barnes (6th Grade) – all very positive teachers.
I am grateful for Melvin and Virginia Stradling. Melvin and Virginia moved into our Mesa 10th Ward as newlyweds when I was twelve. They taught a two-month Sunday School class on the subject of genealogy and they got me hooked for life!
I am grateful for Russell Dean Kinsey, one of the greatest home teachers in the church. He and I were companions for 4 years. He loved home teaching and passed that love onto me. He was a traveling salesman and was out of town frequently, but he was always home for our standing 3rd Sunday home teaching appointments.
I am grateful for Ariel Ricks, my 9th grade Seminary Teacher. He taught me to love The Book of Mormon. And his promise of strawberry pie from Bob’s Big Boy restaurant in Mesa motivated me to read the Book three times that year. He helped me to be on the championship “scripture chase” team.
I am grateful for My friend Scott Gunnell. Scott and I were good friends growing up. He is one who has always been there – and still is. Always excited to hear about me and my life and times.
I am grateful for My Scouting patrol leader, Randy Maughan. I credit him for teaching me many skills to earn my 1st Class rank.
I am grateful for My Scoutmaster, G. Kimball Nelson. Wow! What a great man. As “Mr. Nelson” he was my junior high science teacher. Photographer … he documented my history of Scouting. He taught me to love Dutch oven and other outdoor cooking. He led us on some fabulous hikes – like Havasu Canyon, 4-Peaks, The Superstitions, and more. He taught science and Scouting together as he took our photographs. He also challenged me to earn four Eagle Scout palms – more than him, Ken Porter, and others on the troop leadership team.
I am grateful for My Scoutmaster and special friend, Jim Johnson. Another Wow! A truly great man. He was self-employed as a painter, but he took off three weeks to take me and our entire troop of 13 Scouts to the 1973 National Scout Jamboree in Farragut, Idaho. The salt of the earth! Would give anything for his Scout “boys”. And his wife, LuNiel willingly shared him with us.
I am grateful for Tenth Ward Friends – There are so many great ones! They were my quorum leaders, my MIA leaders, dance instructors, road show leaders and more. I have written a history of my connections in 10th Ward. Most of these great people remained life-long friends. The greatest of folks – all the salt of the earth!
I am grateful for my fellow Scouts in good old Troop 155 “The BEST ALIVE”. We had such grand times. … Chris Wagner, Ronnie Gardner, Bill Bentley, Lance Gavin, Mike Johnson, Randy Maughan, Scott Gunnell, Richard Ray, Zydel Miranda, Terry Alvis, Dale Crismon, Mark Killian, and all of the rest. Great guys and great times! And I am grateful for those younger than me – with whom I had great times as I served them in various ways – my brothers Kyle and Darcy, Robert Wagner, Kelly Denham, David Porter, DeLane Davidson, Kenny Smith, Don Carroll, Brent Johnson, Danny Cluff, David Killian, Marion and Howard Peterson, Mark and Jeff Johnson, Lance Gardner, Scott Johnson, John Ray, Smith Skouson and others. Troop 155 truly was the best alive.
I am grateful for Park Place Neighbors. We grew up “on the Monopoly Board” with some great people – like the Nulands, Doc and Hazel Douglas, The Watkins, Williams, Perkins, David and JoAnn Moore, and many more. Great folks and great times.
I am grateful for J. Darwin Gunnell, who impacted my life in many roles over many years. Darwin was the Bishop when we first moved into the 10th Ward. He gave me my baptism interview. He was the director of the Temple Visitor’s Center when Dean and I were teen guides. As my young-adult Sunday school teacher, it was him who got me into the mode and habit of daily journal writing. That was 47 years ago, and I still have a daily record for every day since. And after I got married, Darwin was the Director of the Temple Visitor’s Center in Ogden, Utah where we lived, and he got my wife and me on as Temple guides once again.
I am grateful for Bishop Virgil Crismon. Virgil was one of my teen bishops. He recruited me to work in his flower shop and trained me in great skills. Frugal was his middle name but he made me appreciate that skill. And his son later married my sister.
I am grateful for Betty Ray. Betty was my primary teacher and I thought that she was about as near perfect as one could be. Sadly, she died way too young. Her husband, Ellsworth was another great. I thought that these folks were the greatest of parents. They raised eleven fabulous children. An example to all!
I am grateful for Bishop C. Max Killian. I can not say enough about Max. Such a fabulous man. He was the Bishop when my mother was his Relief Society President. He was our Bishop when Dean died. He was the financial strength that got our troop to the National Scout Jamboree. Such a great supporter of youth, Scouting and the church.
I am grateful for Gay Killian. Gay is the wife of Max. She was my Cub Scout Den Leader. She offered me a reward of anything I wanted if I would quit biting my fingernails. All I could come up with for a reward was a pair of socks. A great friend to my mother for many years.
I am grateful for Fred and Wilma Turley. Just like the Flintstones, these folks were rock solid. They lived on my paper route and they constantly invited me in. They treated me as if I were one of their own grandsons. They had a going-away party when they were dying – a few days before. Super folks!
I am grateful for Bishop Egon Johnson. Bishop Egon was my Teacher’s Quorum Advisor and taught great lessons. Later he was my Bishop as I got home from my mission. And he and his wife, Joan, have been the greatest of friends to my mother through the years.
I am grateful for Ron Wilcock. Ron was my Deacon’s Quorum Advisor. Though 50 plus years ago, I can still remember one of his lessons. He taught us the formula of K+CA=P+H (Knowledge and correct action equals progress and happiness!)
I am grateful for Jay Farnsworth. Jay lived on my newspaper route and we frequently had good visits. He and his brother had built one of the grandest and best retirement communities but he lived in a pretty normal and low-key home. He was my “sponsor” to the Eagle Scout recognition dinner.
I am grateful for Bill Wright, who lived next door to Jay. Bill and I became friends through my newspaper route and he hired me to work at his grocery store.
I am grateful for My Mission President, Spencer H. Osborn. “P.O” was a great man. He worked to teach me to teach by the Spirit. He had a great sense of humor. I loved his counsel, guidance, and personal interest.
I am grateful for Ken and Sandra Hawk and Family. I met the Hawk family in Birmingham, Alabama as I served on my mission. It was my privilege to teach them the Gospel and then to see them have the faith and courage to join the church. We have maintained the friendship through these many years – and now their four generations in the Church.
I am grateful for ’Uncle George and Aunt Deena”. They were our next-door neighbors in Santa Paula, California. They loved our children and our children loved them.
I am grateful for Craig Shaltes. Craig and I were in the Salt Lake City “Mission Home” together. We went to different missions but ended up together for our last several months when on special assignment in historic Nauvoo, Illinois at the visitor’s center and restored homes. We have been special friends, ever since. He has come to my birthday gatherings (coming to Arizona from Sacramento, California). He helped us move into a new place when we moved to Santa Paula, California. We were in the Nauvoo pageant together – with our families. We have enjoyed many special times through the years. A true friend!
I am grateful for Rulon Skinner, my Youth Leadership professor at Brigham Young University. Rulon was the example of professionalism in Scouting. He made the Scouting profession sound so wonderful. I will always remember his teaching about the fun, adventure, and romance of Scouting.
I am grateful for Jed Stringham. Jed and I worked together in the Ogden Lake Bonneville Scout council. Jed was one of the hardest workers I have every met and he literally built everything at the various Scout camps. I loved putting my staff with him for “Jed Work”.
I am grateful for Scouters of the Mt. Ogden Scouting District. I served for five years as the District Executive of the Mt. Ogden Scouting district in Ogden, Utah. I had association with a thousand or more Scouting leaders and the district committee members were the best of the best.
I am grateful for Darl Gleed, my first Scout Executive in Ogden. He Scouted me out even before I graduated from BYU and made sure that he got me hired – before anyone else even got to look at me. He was organized and personable.
I am grateful for Steve and Shaunna Flammer. Steve and Shaunna were on my camp staff at Camp Bartlett. She was the staff cook and he was the waterfront director. We have been friends through these many years.
I am grateful for Scott Foley, also a member of my Bartlett camp staff,. He was a guy who was totally dedicated to me. He would perform any service that I desired of him.
I am grateful for Delose Connor, a fellow camp staffer and professional Scouter in Ogden. We had our differences, but I saw him as the greatest Camp Director I have ever worked with and I learned many important skills from him. We also share the love of writing books.
I am grateful for Lowell Clontz, my first District Chairman in the Mt. Ogden District. Lowell was a big supporter of the Scouting program.
I am grateful for Richard Moyle, my second District Chairman in Ogden. A man of God and a powerhouse of service and strength. He was willing to give anything to Scouting and to our program and volunteers..
I am grateful for Darryl Alder. Darryl and I first met as we were enrolled together in a camp school teaching us to be camp and program directors. We were in the same “Boss Hogs” patrol and we had a grand time – with him being the spark plug for our patrol. Years later, it was Darryl who taught me how to be a blogger of Scouting (and other things). So, he changed my life!
I am grateful for Steve Vonasek. Steve and his wife and Lou and I were friends in Santa Barbara, California. Steve was one of those guys who would do anything for you. He worked hard to provide for his family and explored different options to do so. Steve surprised me a couple of weeks ago with a call for some of the recipes that he remembered me making thirty plus years ago.
I am grateful for Alan Chalmers. Alan was my head commissioner when I worked professionally as a Scouter in Santa Barbara, California. He was one of those truly dedicated “red-coat” Scouters. And he was definitely a role model as he and his wife were parents of ten children.
I am grateful for Camp Staff friends through the years. It would be impossible to single out staff members who touched our lives but each summer for many years, we got to know many staff members. Our association was generally just for a summer, but it was amazing to work with these men (and women) who were so dedicated to the Scouts whom we served.
I am grateful for Steve Lazenby. Steve was my special friend when we lived in Santa Paula, California. We were immediately brothers. He did hundreds of acts of service to me and Lou as our priesthood leader and friend. When I was out of a job, he welcomed me to his business – not for pay – but to just hang out. He was a tremendous strength. He was later our Bishop. He and Susan have opened their home to us each time that we have made it back to Santa Paula.
I am grateful for Don and Peggy Hansen. We knew Don and Peggy when we lived in Coolidge, Arizona. It was amazing to watch them with their full dozen children. We have enjoyed special association with them over many years.
I am grateful for Scouts of the 20th Ward in Mesa. We lived in the 20th Ward for some three years and it was a great time. So many super folks there.
I am grateful for Richard Hale. Richard and his wife, Kim, were our special neighbors and friends in Mesa. We lived down the street from them for 25 years. Richard took off work the day that we moved in so that he could come to help us with the move. He was there for our every need. He fixed our computers, our roof, and was the doctor to our children. No sacrifice was too much for him. He was an ardent supporter of my hopes and dreams. One of the greatest men I have ever known.
I am grateful for Mel Stout – “the Stout Scout”. Mel and I became friends in the Sons of the Utah Pioneers organization and got me into the Mormon Battalion – of which I have been a member for 30 years. He taught me to love the stars, the flag, and many other Scouting skills. Mel and I made many Battalion neckerchief slide presentations at Eagle Scout courts of honor. He made me feel great!
I am grateful for David Rodriguez. David and I first served as co-leaders of the Blazer (11-year old) Scout) patrol. He was my assistant. We had great times together. Later he was the Bishop, and it was my great pleasure to be his first counselor. He taught me a lot about humility, leadership, and service.
I am grateful for Audrey Burklund, and Al and Joyce Berry. I was the home teacher to both of these families for some 18 years. Each month was a special experience as various companions and I visited their homes. Truly great folks!
I am grateful for my friend, Jesus Cabrera, a fellow bus driver in Mesa. We were just brothers from the beginning. It was so great to see him and to feel of his spirit and strength. My greatest wish was to share with him my beliefs in the restored Church of Jesus Christ.
I am grateful for Jason Dickson and Family. We were back-fence neighbors for twenty plus years. We had so many great visits back at the fence and as we shared family experiences. One of those true brothers!
I am grateful for Bill Pasquale. Bill and I met in Michigan when I was there to present management training for managers and supervisors relative to safety and claims management. Bill operated a major waste disposal company that was a part of our Allied Waste. We became instant brothers. This Arizona boy went without a coat to snowy Michigan and Bill literally took the coat off of his back and gave it to me – for keeps. Years later I was to be in Michigan – and assuming that everything in Michigan was an hour away from each other – I called him to help transport me from one place to another. He did not tell me that it would be a six- or seven-hour trip (each way) for him … but he was there. Talk about going the extra mile! It was my honor to accompany him to the open house for the Detroit, Michigan Temple.
I am grateful for Jack Crum and Cameron ‘Crum, owners of Crum Plumbing. I worked for Jack for seven years as his office manager. Jack was a super hard worker and was dedicated to his employees and their needs.
I am grateful for Jan Sorensen, my Larsen cousin. Jan and I were somewhat close in age. I loved her enthusiasm each time our families got together. And through all of these years, she is still one of my best blog readers. She seems to read and like them all!
I am grateful for Linda Hunt Bishop. Linda is the oldest of the 82 grandchildren – us cousins – of Ray and Augusta Hunt. She has sacrificed much to write music for many of my Christmas songs – with no expectation of financial remuneration. She also reads and comments on all of my blogs.
I am grateful for my cousin, Roy Hunt. We really did not connect until we were both young adults (since he was from Washington and I was from Arizona), but we became as brothers – not just distant cousins. It was my great honor to compile his biography following his early death.
I am grateful for Raymond Johnson, my Mesa Stake President for many years. President Johnson gave me the opportunity to be the stake historian and to create a major history of the stake each year for eight years. He was definitely a believer in and a supporter of the history effort.
I am grateful for Mike Fleming, also a stake president in Mesa. I learned of the importance of the Temple from him.
I am grateful for President Jeff Cooley of our Mesa, Arizona Pueblo Stake. He was a solid farmer who had very practical and helpful advice which I tried to follow.
I am grateful for two really amazing Scout troops who came to Camp Thunder Ridge when I worked there in 2017. These were troop 26 from Logandale, Nevada and Troop 605 from Richfield, Utah. Their leaders – the whole team for each troop – were absolutely amazing. These men had caught the vision of Scouting and what it could do for their boys. The men were all committed. They saw Scouting as a means to bring their boys to Christ. The troops were in complete uniform and they were fabulous in all that they did. (Troop 26 is still featured in the masthead for my kevinthescout blogsite as shown above.)
I am grateful for a man who came to Camp Thunder Ridge as a Scoutmaster. This was Travis Wood. He was not the “normal” that one would expect from a Scoutmaster. He was a military veteran and had lost one leg through his service. What I noticed and loved about this guy was his smile. Even though he had been through Hell, with multiple operations and trauma, this guy was happy. He smiled literally all of the time. I wrote a blog just about him and have thought of him often. Such a great guy!
I am grateful for Jim Shoaf. Jim and I served together as bus drivers in Maricopa, Arizona after Lou and I moved there. Jim was the operator of the local food bank and gave all of his time and resources to literally feed the community. A great man!
I am grateful for Jonathan Parks. As a high school student at Maricopa High School, Jonathan rode my bus for three years. He always had a smile for me and a cheerful greeting. He knows where he is going in life and is working hard to achieve what he wants.
I am grateful for My In-Laws. I grew to love E.H. and Verna Belcher. She was one best friends with my wife Lou, and they had good times. Verna worked hard to take care of her husband, children, and grandchildren. “H” was a super worker and great at getting everyone else to work. H was always willing to share his resources if we were willing to meet him half-way doing some kind of service. Many of the Belcher clan have come to our assistance often when we were in great need. Holly has been our home away from home and helped with all of our wedding receptions and other gatherings.
I am grateful for My Children. As noted, I have nine children. Yes, and nine is fine! I am so proud of each one and their spouses and families. I could write a gratitude book on each of the children and their families – but I will leave that to another day. Let me say that I love each one and am so grateful for their talents and abilities and willingness to assist me and Lou with anything and everything.
I am grateful for My Grandchildren – all 38 of them! It is not all about the numbers – though this is impressive. I love each one individually and I recognize the greatness of each one. Their hugs are all amazing. I want the best for each of them. I love having them come to see us.
I am grateful for Church Presidents Kimball, Hinckley, Monson, and Nelson. All of the modern Prophets are amazing, and I have known half of them – from President David O. McKay up to Pres. Nelson today. Some have had special influence on me. President Kimball taught me the importance of the law of the fast and giving a generous fast offering (and then reaping the financial rewards of such contributions). I remember him as the great missionary who saw in vision how we would take the gospel to the world. President Hinckley was the Temple builder and an eternal optimist. President Monson was so magnificent as he spoke and shared his life experiences. I loved how he worked every minute to be “on the Lord’s errand”. And President Nelson … the Lord’s prophet today. He has changed our world and taught us so much as he has strived to bring us closer to God.
I am grateful for My wife, Lou Dene Belcher … Lou … how can I say enough about her? She has been my everything for 42 plus years. She is amazing. She spends her entire life in service to me and everyone around her. Her best quality is that she knows all of my faults but still somehow puts up with me and even loves me, too. She supports me in everything that I do. She is an amazing wife, mother, and grandmother. I am grateful each day for Lou.
Well, that is a pretty good list. I am sure that it could have been longer, but I did not try to leave any major players out. I appreciate all of you and what you have done to make my life rich and full. I am grateful for the many people who have touched my life. Thanks to all of you!