Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mt. Pleasant Pyramid ~ July 25, 2013 ~ A Genuine Legacy of Love

Dear Editor,

A Genuine Legacy of  Love

In 1859 a little band of Mormon  pioneers decided to settle here on the  banks of what is now known “Pleasant Creek”.   Some of these pioneers had left their homes in Europe, some from back East.  Most had no hopes of seeing their families that they had left behind ever again.  They came to a barren wasteland full of sage brush and cedar trees.  And then, local Indians turned against them and the Black Hawk War was fought. 
 In 1909 the city council of Mt. Pleasant and other appreciative descendants decided to put up a monument to honor these original pioneers.  That monument stands in front of our Carnegie Library.  
After the success of this monument building, this same committee decided to take it a bit further and form a Mt. Pleasant Pioneer Historical Association.  They went through all the procedures necessary and then they encouraged the citizens of Mt. Pleasant to bring in photos, histories, genealogies, artifacts,   etc. to honor the pioneers even more.  They stored these items in the basement of the Carnegie Library and another storage facility on west Main Street.  In 1946 the William S. Seely home was purchased to house these relics and other memorial items in hopes that all future generations could view them and be appreciative of what the pioneers had done to make Mt. Pleasant City the pleasant place it is today. 

 It is very appropriate to house the items  in the  Seely home because William S. Seely was the first mayor and bishop of Mt. Pleasant. The Mt. Pleasant Pioneer Historical Association still exists today.
Not everyone is appreciative of this history.  Some have said that the next generation won’t “give a hoot” about the early pioneers or our founding fathers.  I sincerely hope they are wrong.    But many good citizens don’t take what they have today for granted.  They know it came by sacrifice, faith and love.

I want to tell you of another “Legacy of Love” that has happened in Mt. Pleasant.  I recently went through the log book to count how many hours of volunteer work has been donated by more than fifty   volunteers. 

 This volunteer work includes both work-related  projects as well as hosting at the Relic Home. We were told to keep a log of these hours by the Utah Museum Association because they can be counted as “in kind” donations for many government grants.   In volunteer hours there are over 10,000  in the past five years. That is a modest estimate, because many hours were not logged.  In number of visitors, the numbers keep rising as more people become aware of the many family history type material we house there.   The working-blacksmith shop attracts even more and serves several communities with live demonstrations educating young people as well as old.

 To bring this into present focus let me tell you of a family from Texas. They spent three days   in Mt. Pleasant, staying at a local bed and breakfast   They ate their meals at local restaurants, they shopped here, bought mementos and enjoyed their time here.  Their purpose was to do family history work. They wanted to walk where their ancestors had walked.  They wanted to get a feeling as to how it was to live here in Mt. Pleasant 150 years ago. The volunteers at the Relic Home were able to supply them with all the needed information as well as take them around town to show them where their ancestors lived, where their businesses were located, and out to the cemetery to find their ancestors’ graves.  This example is just one of the many that have been rewarding to both visitors as well as the volunteers.
As was stated in the July 3rd newspaper, the Relic Home is in much need of repair.  The Relic Home and Blacksmith Shop  qualified for  Mormon Pioneer National Heritage funds  more than any other entity in Mt. Pleasant.  We let Bob Bennett, the author of the MPNHA bill, as well as local administrators aware of our needs    We did this from the very beginning when these funds were first available and even before.      U.S. Senator Bob Bennett’s bill passed and the MPNHA was awarded $10,000,000.00 in annual installments of $1,000,000.00 with a local citizen as Executive Director.

  When my husband asked the Executive Director why we haven’t been included, he said “Oh, I forgot”.  
The $5000.00 offered to us   last week was to be divided between the Relic Home and the Depot south of town.  The $5000.00 amount is only a pittance of what has been spent on other so-called historical projects here in town.     Millions of dollars have been spent on projects that really have no “Mormon- Pioneer” focus 
The Executive Director of the MPNHA has received many awards for his historical buildings preservation work.  However, he has totally forgotten the Mt. Pleasant Pioneer Historical Association’s objectives and needs. He has forgotten what the statue in front of the library represents. I hope Mt Pleasant citizens and administrators who believe this Executive Director is such a wonderful asset to our community, remember the people who really have performed a “Legacy of Love”;  that is our pioneer forefathers who had the real struggle in making our community livable and a great place to live.  I hope Mt. Pleasant citizens and administrators will remember the Black Hawk War soldiers who lost their lives, lost limbs, left widows and children to fare for themselves all because of their faith and their courage.  

There was good reason for the Pioneer Board turning down the monies offered.  Details may come out in the future, but the entire board resolved to not make it a political matter at this time because of our 501c3 status that we have struggled so hard to get.  I am not siding with anyone.  I am on the side of those people who have gone before us and lived their lives so that You and I, as well as future generations, can have a pleasant community in which to live.  I hope and pray that future generations can feel a sense of gratitude by walking where their ancestors walked, and get a feeling of how it was even more than 150 ago. 
 The following quote comes from Steve Berry author and founder of History Matters an organization dedicated to aiding the preservation of heritage:

History comes alive when someone is able to not only read about the past, but also able to visit the places, see the artifacts, appreciate the images, read the actual words. For most people, history starts with learning about their family or their community. Imagine trying to discover your genealogy without anything tangible to search. Preservation of our heritage is a vital link to cultural, educational, aesthetic, inspirational, and economic legacies — all of the things that quite literally make us who we are. History plays a vital role in our everyday lives. We learn from our past in order to achieve greater influence over our future. History serves as a model of who to be and who not to be — of what to champion and what to avoid. Every day, decision-making around the world is based on what came before us.”
Yes, History matters to me and my family.  Does it matter to you and yours?
I sincerely hope so,
Kathy Hafen

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Genealogy Quote

"In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage - to know who we are and where we have come from."

~Alex Haley

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