Frutos’ door is always open to friends, neighbors
By Linda Petersen
MORONI—This year’s grand marshals for the Fourth of July festivities in Moroni are Mel and Glenna Frutos.
Mel originally came to the U.S. from Kalera, Mexico in 1972 and worked in Payson for a couple of years before moving to Moroni to work at the turkey processing plant.
He worked there for about four years before becoming a coal miner at Deer Creek Coal Mine. He retired from the coal mine six years ago, after 31 years on the job.
He would like to work toward U.S. citizenship as he has built his life and family here, Mel said. He loves the United States and unlike his home town, there is a lot of opportunity and people are not generally hungry here.
After close to 50 years as a U.S. resident, “It really is about time,” he said.
Mel met his wife Glenna Stephenson at the turkey processing plant, where she also worked. Glenna is a Moroni native and North Sanpete High School graduate. Her mother Glenna Nunly was also born and grew up here.
Glenna, who is very shy, said Mel tried talking to her at work, but at first she ignored him. However, he was persistent, and eventually about six months later she agreed to go out with him.
The relationship progressed and the two were married in January 1975. After about four years at the turkey processing plant, Glenna left to stay home and raise their three children Dustin, Amanda and Miguel.
The couple later fostered and adopted two sons Shelby and Kayden, who were being removed from their birth parents by the state. Mel and Glenna have nine grandchildren, two girls and seven boys.
The Fourth of July is a special time to Glenna, whose father DeVon V. Stephenson served in the U.S. Army in the 864th Engineers Division during World War II from 1943 to 1945 and was due to be called to serve at Pearl Harbor when the war ended. He passed away in 2007 with his family at his side and was buried with military honors in the Moroni Cemetery.
On Independence Day, Glenna remembers him and the many others who have served their country, she said.
Mel enjoys the holiday as a way to celebrate his adopted homeland and the many freedoms he is blessed with here.
“It’s a big day,” he said.
Melissa Olson, who is married to their nephew J.D., said the Frutoses were the first people to welcome her to the family.
“Anyone is family to them,” she said.
“They are just down-to-earth, sweet people,” she said. Their door is always open and their home is always filled with people who love to be around them, she added.
Mayor Paul Bailey said Mel has helped with several community service projects to beautify the city.
“If I asked him to help again, I know he would,” Bailey said.
Mel is known around town as one of the first people to jump in to help with any endeavor when it is needed.
“Mel is one of most hardworking men I’ve ever met in my life,” Olson said.
Even though Glenna is a little nervous because of her natural shyness, the Frutoses said they are honored and happy to have been chosen as this year’s grand marshals.
“They’ve lived here for a long time and are hardworking people,” Bailey said. “Everybody knows who they are and I just thought they were good representatives for Moroni so I asked them to serve as grand marshals.”