Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Doctrine and Covenants Lesson #44 "Being Good Citizens"

(D&C 58:21-22,26-28; 98:4-10; 134; Article of Faith 12; OH p. 133-134)

It would be hard to find a better example of good citizens than Pat and Clyde Braegger.  Pat and Clyde lived one block from my home in Providence, Utah when I was growing up.  During the time when Providence City changed from being a small agricultural town to becoming a bedroom community for employees of large corporations, a lot of conflict developed between the different factions.  Subdivisions were cropping up with no zoning guidelines.  The city officials came under attack of a grand jury.  (Later the charges were dropped.)  Nasty letters were written to the newspaper and to the city government.

At this time, my neighbor, Clyde, was approached and asked to run for mayor.  Nothing had been further from his mind.  He had never been to a city council meeting.  His wife, Pat, quipped that she would divorce him if he did.  Both were very opposed to getting involved in the hotbed of conflict in the community.  But the question was posed to Clyde, "Providence has been good to you.  What have you ever done for Providence?"

So Clyde decided to run.  He won, and he did a great job as mayor.  People got angry at him.  He got anonymous letters.  But he worked well with the various factions, he was honest and upfront, and he was smart.  He felt effective enough that he ran for a second term and got it.  Many of the issues were resolved.  Providence experienced a 63% growth in population fairly graciously.  A new city office and two city parks were built using grants and donations.  One of them, Zollinger Park, was furnished with 125 trees purchased and planted together by families of the community.  The Braeggers formed close friendships with the other mayoring couples of the valley and enjoyed a lot of the aspects of their tenure.

Years later, after Clyde died, Pat ran as mayor, and served for several years.

It adds a little to the story to know that Pat and Clyde were both polio victims.  Clyde was paralyzed from the waist down as an infant and had never walked in his life.  He had a wheelchair, a rollerskate he sat on to get around the house and yard, and a modified car.  Pat was paralyzed at the age of 16 from the neck down, but with some use of one arm.  She was confined to a motorized wheelchair, needed a lift to get in and out of bed, and had frequent lung problems.  She could not even comb her own hair; her neighbor across the street did it for her every morning.  Most people with such physical challenges would not expect to become public servants, but to be served by the public.  Such was not the case with Pat and Clyde, however.  They  necessarily received much service from others, but they always gave back more.

D&C 58:27 "Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness."

Sources:  Personal knowledge; Pat Johnson Braegger, Clyde, pp. 91-99; Pat Braegger and Marie Olson, "They Said It Couldn't Be Done," Ensign, January 1984.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That scripture is D&C 58:27 not 58:7.