We went ward-hopping today. My sister-in-law spoke in her ward and we decided to go listen to her – you know – to show support, make her more nervous, etc.
Just as we expected, she did a great job. When the concluding speaker was introduced as Steve Everts. I whispered to my brother, “I know that name. Do you know why?” He didn’t. Bro. Everts was quite a few years older than us, and I figured that maybe we had crossed paths in Scottsdale in our youth.
It wasn’t very long into the talk that I figured it out the first connection. He had been in charge of planning a humongous Regional Conference with Elders Eyring and Scott at Arizona State University. I was on the committee, tasked with taking care of the facilities. (Yeah, I’m all about the grunt work.)
But that wasn’t where I recognized the name from. At that point he was only “President Everts” to me. But Steve Everts triggered something else. He mentioned that he had grown up in Bountiful, Utah, and I thought maybe…
During his talk he told about how he was baptized at the age of eleven, as the only member in his family. Obviously, he stayed active and has provided a lifetime of service in the church. His talk was about how we can help raise better young men, because, frankly, they ain’t doing so well. But I digress…
After the meeting I tracked him down and thanked him for the talk and mentioned that we had served together. Then I asked him the question:
“When did you leave Bountiful?”
“My family left in 1977. Is there any chance you would have know Horton and Marlene McBride, would you?”
His eyes got big. “Horton McBride was my Teacher’s Quorum Advisor. He was one of the kindest men I have ever known.” He went on to talk about how instrumental my dad’s influence had been on him during his youth.
He said that struggled as a teenager, but ended up serving a mission. He had told the ward during his farewell talk that he doubted he would ever serve. After his talk, my father told him, “I never doubted for a minute that you would serve a mission.”
Brother Everts went on to tell me that if he had more time, he was planning on talking about my dad, and the influence he had on him as a young man growing up in the church with no parental support.
He asked what my parents were up to, and was saddened to hear they had both passed away some time ago.
I went back, with tears in my eyes, and told my family and brother about the conversation. In the grand scheme of things it was not a big deal – but to me, it was a precious little gift to know more about my sweet father and the impact he had on others. It was touching to learn that my father had helped a young man that would later become the Stake President I served with. I don’t know if my dad ever knew what Brother Everts felt towards him, but it was a blessing for me to find out.
• Morals of the story:
- Never, ever underestimate the impact you might have on the lives of the youth you serve, whether in YM/YW, Primary, Sunday School or any other capacity.
- Tell people who have impacted your life for good while you still can. Today would be a good day to start.
(This is one of those posts that I wrote for me, to preserve a memory. Once in a while it’s all about me, me, me.)