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Today's word on journalism

Monday, January 29, 2007

Words as weapons:

"When he had a pen in his hand it was like giving a kid a machine gun."

--Peter Hall, theater director, on "Angry Young Man" playwright John Osborne (1929-1994)

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 wouldn't happen.

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 years.

"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," Griffiths said.

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 and ran.

"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.

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