Recently I spent the weekend with my Mother in St. George. I was reminded of some of the wonderful things that Mormons are doing around the world. It is a shame that more is not done to recognize and encourage these activities, instead of overindulging in GA profiles and repetitive spiritual messages.
On a Saturday night, my Mother and I had dinner with a retired USU professor and his wife who had recently returned from Lebanon: Paul and Lorna Larsen. The pair have made many trips to Lebanon, despite all the recent strife, to help restore the apple industry to a country that used to be a breadbasket for the Middle East. Paul goes to advise the apple growers and Lorna acts as his assistant, keeping him organized. Their story was recently highlighted in the USU publication “UtahState.” According to the article, “(Paul) and Lorna have the good will of every cultural and religious (Christians and Muslims) faction as a result of their generous work with all groups of people.” Paul has also done work in Armenia, Macedonia, and China.
On my Mother’s end table was a recent publication by another family friend who has retired to southern Nevada: Sylvan H. Wittwer. The booklet is titled: “Vegetable Gardening in Moapa and Virgin Valleys” (southeastern Nevada), published by the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. Although the booklet was written specifically for southern Nevada, many of its basic principles have world-wide application. In this day and age (higher energy and food prices, and concern over nutrition) the tract is extremely timely. Sylvan has traveled all over the world and is author of Feeding a Billion: Frontiers of Chinese Agriculture and Food, Climate, and Carbon Dioxide. His garden in Logandale, NV, is certainly an impressive show piece.
Both Paul and Sylvan had important professional careers and have obviously stayed busy in retirement. Paul was the Vice President for Extension and Continuing Education at USU, and Sylvan was the Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station at Michigan State University.
My Father, R. Gaurth Hansen, was also active internationally. He participated in nutrition surveys in Turkey, Thailand, Burma, Ecuador, and elsewhere. These surveys were very important in identifying the nutritional deficiencies in second and third-world countries. My Father ended his professional career as Provost at USU and as a faculty member in the Food and Nutrition Department. All three men have/had exceptional wives and the three couples were together for a time in the 60s in East Lansing at MSU. Paul and my Father were reunited in Logan.