Grand marshal profile: Paula and Mark Jorgenson of Moroni
By Ryan Roos
MORONI—Being honored as the Grand Marshal of Moroni’s Independence Day Celebration this year is truly a calling that Mark and Paula Jorgenson have taken to heart.
Ask the longtime Moroni couple what they look forward to the most each Fourth of July holiday, and the thought of family returning home to Sanpete County will always top their list.
“It’s our children’s favorite holiday to come home for,” says Paula. “My Grandfather served in World War II and my husband was a proud National Guardsman for 14 years. We’re very patriotic and so incredibly honored that the city of Moroni would think of us.”
The Jorgenson’s love of family, country and community make them a natural choice for this year’s Grand Marshal. Mark’s Danish pioneer ancestry entered the Sanpete Valley during its earliest and most treacherous days of settlement, while Paula’s heritage can be traced to the historic Willie and Martin Handcart Companies as they crossed the plains in search of religious liberty. The Jorgenson’s family lines run deep with those who have struggled and died for their freedoms.
It was during a fateful summer night dance in central Sanpete that the couple first met. Though Mark was attending North Sanpete High School, and Paula was attending Manti High School 26 miles to the south, the undeterred pair quickly became high school sweethearts.
After living in Provo during their early years of marriage, the Jorgenson’s felt the security of their Sanpete upbringing drawing them home, and soon moved back to Moroni to raise their family.
“We wanted to raise our children in the same environment we enjoyed as kids” says Paula. The couple has been active in keeping that family friendly environment alive, a goal which led them to coaching youth summer league activities such as softball and baseball.
Professionally, Mark’s work as a skilled machinist took him north to Springville until he retired, and Paula’s career spanned time at both the Moroni Light and Power as well as Moroni Feed.
Today, the Jorgenson’s are the proud parents of six children and 18 (soon to be 19) grandchildren. It’s a posterity that the couple knows will be affected by the direction of our nation. “I hope that our country will never forget its traditional, family oriented values,” says Paula.
When asked if she believes that Sanpete County will continue to hold firm to the traditional family values she cherished as a child, Paula offers only one word: “absolutely.”