This Memorial Day the Alpine Arts Center and Sculpture Park will host a different kind of Memorial event honoring a very unique group of “soldiers.” An outdoor morning-side service will pay tribute to those men and women who lost their lives or suffered serious injury while serving as full-time missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
On Monday, May 31st from 9:00-10:00am, the public is invited to walk the gardens and hear remarks by Elder Ted E. Brewerton, Emeritus General Authority and former mission president; Dr. David M. Tuttle, founder of the Parley P. Pratt Missionary Memorial and Susan E. Woods, author of The Transfer – Stories of Missionaries Who Gave the Last Full Measure of Devotion Vol II. (Digital Legend Press, 2009.)
In addition to hosting the event, The Alpine Arts Center Sculpture Garden is also creating a marble wall and bronze sculpture designed by renowned artist, Dennis Smith, whose work will stand in memory of those who gave their all in the work of the Lord.
“The final sculpture is still years away from completion,” says David Tuttle, who has seen a small maquette of the piece, and gives high praise to Dennis Smith and to the Alpine Arts Center for their vision and generosity in providing a setting where this poignant bronze artwork can be appreciated by families and friends of missionaries who will be honored there.
David Tuttle has been organizing services like this one over the past eight years in response to a sudden tragedy experienced by his friend and next door neighbor; Conrad (Pete) Savage, whose son Bradly was killed in a fiery head-on crash in Iowa along with three other missionaries in January of 2000. The first such memorial event was called The Parley P. Pratt Missionary Memorial Horseback Ride.
While organizing these events and working with the Savage family, Tuttle came to learn of other families who had also lost loved ones and he began to seek out ways to reach out to them as well. This led to a project that involved searching records, contacting families and recording stories of these missionaries. Over time, the work exceeded Tuttle’s capacity and he enlisted the support of Susan E. Woods (a teacher by profession whose own family had lost an uncle while on a mission).
Susan took upon herself the monumental task of coaching loved ones through the sometimes difficult task of writing down their stories, securing permissions, cataloging and formatting records and photos of the many hundreds that poured in over time. To accommodate all the names and stories, Woods ultimately divided the book into three separate volumes. Volume I of The Transfer, featuring 68 individuals was released earlier this year. Volume II is scheduled for release in June and the third volume will debut later this fall.
The Alpine Art Center and Sculpture Park is located at 450 South Alpine Highway, Alpine, UT 84004 Tel. 801-763-7173. Books may be purchased at Deseret Book, Meridian Magazine (on-line) and other LDS Book sellers as well as Amazon or by contacting the publisher, Digital Legend Press at 877-222-1960.