“LDS Scene,” Ensign, Mar. 1987, 80
Lt. Gen. Robert C. Oaks, one of the highest-ranking Church members in military service, became Commander of Allied Air Forces in southern Europe October 20. The three-star general is also deputy commander in chief of U.S. Air Forces in Europe for the Southern Area.
Avard T. Fairbanks, 89, who created many statues for the Church, died January 1 of complications from a heart attack suffered earlier. He sculpted the statues of the Angel Moroni atop the Jordan River, Seattle, and Washington temples. He also created monuments for the Church commemorating the tragedy at Winter Quarters. One stands on Temple Square and one at Florence, Nebraska. The renowned sculptor had received many honors during his lifetime, including a knighthood from the king of Greece. He married B. Maude Fox in 1918, and they were later sealed in the Salt Lake Temple.
The Church has been presented an award for outstanding maintenance and beautification of the 8 1/2-acre site occupied by the Sydney Australia Temple and Pacific Area offices. Elder John Sonnenberg of the First Quorum of the Seventy and President of the Pacific Area said the award is particularly significant because it was presented by many of the same people who initially objected to the temple being built in the area.
A proclamation declaring a family week in San Antonio, Texas, and commending the Church for its support of the family unit was presented to San Antonio Texas West Stake President Jan Sterneckert and Texas San Antonio Mission President Dale Huntsman. The presentation was made by Yolanda Vera, San Antonio mayor pro-tem. Area members promoted the week with widespread publicity about the importance of the family.
BYU senior defensive lineman Jason Buck was voted the 1986 Outland Trophy winner November 29. The award is given to the best college lineman in the United States. Because he wanted to be an example to youths in the Church, Buck, who was named an All-American last year, declined an offer from an adult men’s magazine to promote him this year as a pre-season All-American.
In New York City, the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe from the Peoples Republic of China lost their interpreter but gained a pair of LDS missionaries for four days in December. The leader of the troupe, which travels with the Ringling Brothers Circus, was hospitalized after suffering a stroke. Elders John Day and Jeff Warburton, the only Mandarin-speaking missionaries in the New York New York Mission, temporarily replaced the interpreter for the troupe.
The State of California has approved reconstruction of the first San Diego courthouse, built in 1847 in that city’s Old Town section by members of the Mormon Battalion. The site of the original structure was pinpointed by excavation that also uncovered a button belonging to one of the battalion members.
Some five thousand Christmas gifts were distributed to families in sixty-three locations in North and South Dakota, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, and Mexico by Brigham Young University’s American Indian Services and local communities. Some of the funds used were raised last summer at a golf tournament sponsored by the AIS at Utah’s Jeremy Ranch. The tournament featured professional golfer Johnny Miller, former U.S. President Gerald Ford, and comedian Bob Hope.