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Catholic Community Services Honors Mormon Apostle and Wife

Elder L. Tom and Barbara Perry provide decades of leadership and service

Catholic Community Services (CCS) of Utah honored Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Barbara, with an award for service to others at the 29th annual Humanitarian Awards Dinner. The event was held at the Little America Hotel on Thursday, November 6, 2014, in Salt Lake City. The award was presented by The Most Reverend John C. Wester, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City.

“It has been a great pleasure and honor for me to work with Elder Perry on a variety of projects that benefit our community here in Salt Lake City," expressed Bishop Wester. "I have a deep and abiding respect for his integrity and for his warm and gentle outreach to all people. It is a privilege to honor him tonight and to assure him of the gratitude of the Catholic community.”

“Now I know why I’m here,” said Elder Perry. “It’s because of my dear, dear friendship with Bishop Wester.”

“Even though the Catholics and the Mormons have different fundamental beliefs, different doctrine, we’ve found out that we can find ways to serve together in a most effective way, because most of the commonality between the two of us is serving others,” he added.

In a video prepared for the event, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said the Perrys make a great team. “They love Utah and they serve wherever they can in a marvelous way. They have done many, many things to assist and bless the lives of others.”

“They are models for any one of us to emulate and care for each other, care for those around them and their desire to make this world a better place in which to live,” added Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who first met Barbara when she was working as a head nurse at LDS Hospital where he was a surgeon.

“She was so compassionate that if a patient started to wince, Barbara would cry,” explained Elder Nelson. “She was just that empathetic. She’s still that way.”

Elder Perry told the audience that his wife was deserving of the award. “She has more compassion than anyone I’ve ever had the opportunity to be around,” he said. “She’s continually serving others in a most loving and warm way.”

The Catholic Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have enjoyed a longtime partnership in charity and humanitarian outreach. Both churches continue to work with other faith-based and community groups in assisting the poor.

Other honorees include former Utah governor Jon Huntsman Jr. and his wife, Mary Kaye (Humanitarians of the Year); the Utah-based ALSAM Foundation (Partners of the Year); and Jan Luger who helps distribute food to the needy in Ogden, Utah (Unsung Hero). The ALSAM Foundation is a charitable organization named in honor of the late philanthropist and businessman L.S. “Sam” Skaggs and his wife, Aline.

“These humanitarians exemplify the mission of CCS to practice gospel values of love, compassion and hope through service, support and collaboration,” said a press release on the event.

The Church has received recognition by Catholic Community Services in previous years. The Church’s Presiding Bishopric was honored last year, and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Harriett, were recognized in 2012 for their humanitarian efforts. The Church’s Welfare Services was honored in 2011, former Relief Society general president Julie Beck was named Community Partner in 2010, and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was recognized in 2009.

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