"It looks like it will have to be amputated."
These are the words my good friend and neighbor told me this last Sunday in describing his right leg and the problems he is having with it. He was in a bad accident many years ago and has suffered through many brain surgeries, lost the use of one of his arms, and endured many other surgeries over different parts of his body. His leg is now failing and it looks like it will have to be amputated.
We were in a church class together discussing trials that we all face in this life from financial to mental to physical to family and to many others. I asked him how he has been able to go through all of the physical troubles and surgeries he has to bear. He said that his faith and his belief in the next life has carried him through.
But he also mentioned that he put together a list of three qualities that he has used to meet his challenges. They are: "desire, dedication, and determination." Each one of us are faced with trials in this life. He said that by using his faith and those three qualities of character, he has been able to meet his trials and still keep a positive and happy outlook on his life.
This made me think about the Orem Centennial kickoff celebration we had just held the day before on Saturday and those who had started and built our city over the last 100 years.
Those pioneers who came to the "Provo Bench," as this area was called then, found little here other than rocky ground, sagebrush, open land, and very little water. They faced many trials in trying to start life in this area and yet they persisted in building a community.
They planted crops, put in fruit trees, built some places to live, and tried to make a go of it. Because of their need for water, they formed a city in 1919 and secured a bond to build canals to bring water up from the Provo River to set up irrigation for their farms. They also secured a rail line from Walter C. Orem and his company to service this area and take the fruit to market.
After the city of Orem was formed, much work was put in to develop an area where families could be raised, where work could produce a standard of living, where children could go to good schools, where churches could be built, and where residents could enjoy a peaceful, safe, and happy life.
In fact, Orem later became known as "Garden City." This area was an area of fruit trees producing tons of apples, cherries, peaches, and other fruit. As late as the late 1970s, Orem produced over 4.4 million tons of cherries per year. The work on the farms and orchards was hard work.
Later, Orem became a steel producing town with the construction of Geneva Steel in 1944. I remember how dependent Orem was on Geneva for jobs. When the steel mill had a strike or went down for a period of time it affected everyone in the area. The work in the steel mill was often hot and physically demanding.
In the 1970s, Orem leaders with great foresight welcomed the building of the University Mall, thus establishing Orem as a major retail center for the county. And at the same time what has become Utah Valley University moved its campus to Orem.
Later, businessmen of Orem helped to establish computer software companies and build a new industry. Much of what we see in our "Silicon Slopes" of Utah County have had their start in Orem.
But through it all the residents, businessmen, teachers, city officials, fathers and mothers, have worked to make our city "Family City USA" and become a successful place to raise a family, to start a business, to get a college or technical education, to go trick or treating safely, to participate in recreation and enjoy the arts, and to grow old.
And so I want to thank all of those who have gone before us for their "desire, dedication, and determination" to work hard and build a wonderful community and a great place to live, work, and play over the last 100 years of our history.