Singles ward tradition helps
kids whose parents are in drug court
By Clay Moffitt
December 2, 2006 | LOGAN -- A group of Logan college
students will get the chance to overlook faults and
provide a local family a Christmas this year that otherwise
First District Court Judge Thomas Willmore sees families
torn apart and children neglected, while presiding over
the district's drug court. Every December, he comes
to realization he sees at least one family that won't
have a Christmas if someone doesn't step in.
When he's not donning his judicial attire, Willmore
also serves in an LDS singles' stake presidency as a
counselor. Prior to being called to the stake presidency,
he also served as a high counselor in the stake, and
asked the members of the stake to give at least one
family in his drug court a Christmas for the past several
"It felt like the right thing to do," Ben Griffiths,
a participant last year, said. "They're family in need.
I felt like I've gotten toys and things for Christmas
when I was younger, so I wanted to help out."
Because of the transient nature of singles' wards
and stakes, the faces change almost yearly, but the
results have remained consistent. But the few returning
ward members that donated last year, such as Griffiths,
this was a can't-miss experience.
"I think it felt pretty darn good to know that he's
going to be able enjoy his Christmas a little more,"
For some people it may be difficult to donate part
of a paycheck to provide a Christmas for kids of parents
with a drug history, but for these students look at
it from a different point of view.
"I think it's really not our job to judge why they
are where they're at, but it's our job to help them
out," Griffiths said. "The focus is definitely on the
kids, they've got it more rough and it's not their fault."
For others it's literally a way to give back.
"When I was younger, it actually happened to me, I
didn't realize it at the time, but my family was that
poor family," Nofo Lilo said. When Lilo was about 7
years old, his family's financial status was shaken
when his father's arthritis reached a point where he
couldn't work anymore and Lilo's mother was forced to
get two jobs to make ends meet for the family.
The news of his family's situation reached an anonymous
contributor who dropped off a box of presents on the
Lilo's doorstep late Christmas Eve, rang the doorbell
"I just remembered that particular Christmas because
they didn't hold back," Lilo said. "They were like good
toys that were given to us, or good clothes that were
given to us, it wasn't like seconds or hand-me-downs."
And they said they hope this family's Christmas will
be that happy too.