Miracle of love in 1993
repeated in 2018
By Maria Ricks
Mar. 29, 2018
In November 1993, a Fairview man was lost in the mountains after going into diabetic shock. He was a well-known school teacher and farmer.
After three days of searching by volunteers and Search and Rescue, the man was found in a coma; his fingers, toes and ears black with frostbite; and barely breathing.
In those three days of searching and for days following, as the man lay in the hospital, there was an incredible outpouring of love and support for this man’s family. It was just what they needed to get through such a tragedy.
They had been praying for a miracle, but it was not to happen, at least not how they thought.
The real miracle was that during this time of anguish, frustration, fear and sadness, the community came together to bolster the strength of this family experiencing such personal loss.
This family was mine, and this was my father, Richard Christensen.
In March of this year, I witnessed a similar miracle which brought back memories for me.
A local woman, Janeen Sorensen, while undergoing a procedure to remove a tumor, suffered a stroke.
For four months she was in the hospital and rehab.
She was a wife and mother, friend, preschool teacher, bank teller and church leader.
Like my family, years earlier, they too were praying for a miracle of recovery. Every little improvement gave them hope, and every little setback led to frustration, fear and sadness.
The anguish came when the hope for a miracle ran out, and they brought her home to pass away peacefully at home.
What happened next was the real miracle.
A silent auction was announced. The fundraiser was planned by local friends, family and co-workers of Janeen and her husband, Lee R. It was to take place at Fairview Elementary School.
It wasn’t long before donations began to pour in of money, personal items for auction, prizes from local merchants and time by volunteers who wanted to help in some way.
A simple hotdog dinner and movie entertained young and old who filled the school to show their support.
The school was so crowded at times that it was difficult to get to all the items that were put up for auction in the library.
People were overbidding on items. Many people gave $20 bills to purchase a $3 meal. The money jar in the hall was emptied multiple times during the evening.
Tears, words and hugs were shared with members of the family who had left their mother’s side to attend the event.
At the end of the night, it wasn’t the amount of money raised, although that was successful; it was the community’s outpouring of love and support.
And it wasn’t just from the town of Fairview. Condolences by way of donations came from several generous people in and out of Sanpete.
Days later, both the viewing and funeral were filled to capacity as Janeen’s six sons shared stories of their mother and thanked all who spent countless hours by her bedside, sent well-wishes or showed support to their family in anyway.
That night, unable to sleep, I pulled out my journal to record the day’s events, then pulled out my past journal and newspaper clipping of the time when my father went missing 25 years ago.
Time has healed that painful experience in my life and filled it with sweet memories of a town and people that cared for one of their own.
I have never forgotten and today am overwhelmed with pride to be a member of this loving community.
In the words of King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon: “Ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need” (Mosiah 4:16).
Miracles indeed never cease if we have the eyes to see them.
Please share your stories of community support when you were facing a difficult time. We’d love to hear from you. Make submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Together we make our community better.