“American Red Cross Honors Church Relief Efforts,” Ensign, May 1988, 93–94
The American Red Cross honored the Church with a plaque presented to Church officials during the Friday evening leadership meeting held April 1 in conjunction with the 158th Annual General Conference.
The plaque cited the Church for the contributions of its members to relief efforts on the African continent and elsewhere.
Richard F. Schubert, president of the American Red Cross, made the presentation:
“Highly esteemed leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this is a special moment in the 107-year history of the American Red Cross and in my personal life, as well. For as long as I can remember, I have been an unabashed admirer of the special choir of special people who have filled this magnificent place with their wondrously inspirational and uplifting melody.
“My opportunity three years ago to get to know and work with Bishop Glenn Pace as a person, as a compassionate leader, and as a prudent steward, and my subsequent great personal privilege to meet with President [Ezra Taft] Benson and President [Gordon B.] Hinckley have added a whole new dimension in my life, and an understanding of the spirit which moves this Church and inspires you all in your many good works.
“Through Bishop Pace and others like him, you have made your compassionate ministries a model for all of us who care about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and healing the sick.
“In the book of Matthew, Jesus is asked, ‘Master, which is the great commandment in the law?’ (Matt. 22:36). As you will all recall, the answer is both simple and profound. ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind’ (Matt. 22:37). ‘The second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself’ (Matt. 22:39).
“Those are the commandments that are honored every day by all of you, by the stakes you represent, and by the members of the Church. I come to acknowledge publicly today that The Church [of Jesus Christ] of Latter-day Saints has been the largest single contributor to the International Red Cross effort to feed the hungry and famine-stricken in Africa. It has been done, not only with compassion, but with the quiet effectiveness that is the hallmark and the handiwork of this Church at work.
“Although you sought no recognition for that contribution, it is altogether fitting and proper that I should be here not just to sing your praises, which, given my talent as compared to the choir that hallows this place, might not really be very acceptable, but to thank you. Thank you on behalf of the American Red Cross, its volunteers, and its staff, who themselves have benefited from your generosity, your caring commitment to God’s children, to the least of these.
“But even more importantly, I represent those who have no voice, who are not able to thank you personally, but are alive today because you and your members gave quietly and effectively.
“There were people in the deserts, in the savannahs of Africa, with so little sustenance, so little help that they might have felt that God and man had forsaken them. You have shown them, quietly without trumpets, that this was not so. You have reached out in your own way, through the Red Cross, in an embrace that has made the difference in tens of thousands of lives.
“We of the Red Cross feel that we have been privileged to become a special partner with the Church in a rare and wonderful form of cooperation in which we combine our strengths to create a resource to each other in our respective human-service missions.
“I have had the privilege and the responsibility to visit Africa. I have seen the child who lives because this Church and its members cared. I have seen the mother’s tears of thanks that overcame the language barrier when words were not indeed possible. I have seen life go on where there had been no hope. I have seen your light in the darkness. I have seen the good works which grow from your strong faith.
“A simple plaque cannot totally convey the appreciation that I and the American Red Cross feel so deeply. But we needed a way, a simple way and yet a lasting one, to say, ’thank you.’ So I offer this plaque which reads: ‘In gratitude to the individuals and families of the Mormon community who help alleviate suffering through the Red Cross movement, April 1, 1988.’
“It is a small and a simple message of thanks. I ask each of you to convey it back to your brothers, your sisters, the members of this great church. Tell them, too, that we are not yet out of the woods, even if we are out of the news. Hunger and famine remain in many parts of Africa. Misery abounds and the spiritual and physical vacuum they have recognized in the past still exist and still need their love and support and prayers. Much has already been done. Much more is yet required.
“Let me conclude, if I may, with a very personal word. I am a blessed man every day of my life, as you are. My family, my personal relationship with my Lord, my job combine to give me a sense of joy and a sense of divine purpose and mission. But this incredible moment with you, this night will be with me the rest of my life. Thank you, gentlemen, thank you very much.”