“Civil Civics,” Ensign, Apr. 1992, 56–57
For Vespa Gough Fairbanks of Burbank, California, there is only one way to live—involved.
Vespa’s life at age eighty-seven has not slowed down much since she and Walter Fairbanks married more than fifty years ago. She has found marriage to be good for her health. “I’ve never been sick a day since we were married,” she says with characteristic lightheartedness.
With a robustness that is uncommon for women many years younger, Vespa throws herself into the good things life has to offer. For eleven years, she and Walter served as temple workers in the Los Angeles Temple. They pick up “old people” in their ward who have no cars and take them to church, to activities, to community events, and for medical care. From the shut-ins, Vespa faithfully gathers grocery lists each week and shops for their food, medicine, and other needs. Then she delivers the supplies—along with her steady offerings of baked goods and treats for the ill and lonely.
A dependable visiting teacher, Vespa goes so far beyond the call of duty that there’s no question in the minds of those she serves about her love for them.
At the yearly Los Angeles County Fair, Vespa helps set up and serve at booths featuring patriotic displays and patriotic books. One day a week, she volunteers her time to work in a patriotic bookstore. In addition, she serves as a volunteer for Red Cross blood banks in Burbank and surrounding communities.
She can be counted on to canvass her neighborhood, circulating petitions or getting people out to vote. “I manage to keep current on the voting records of my congressional representatives,” she adds.
She attends meetings on city issues; she’s there when her city council meets as well as when state and national leaders hold forums. “We must each participate in the processes of democracy,” she says, “or we aren’t helping preserve our freedom. It’s government by the people. That’s us.”—Velora Stuart Wells, Yucaipa, California