In January, streets were lined in Ogden to pay honor to fallen officer Jared Francom, who was gunned down while serving a drug-related search warrant.
A month later, we lost little Charlie and Braden Powell. Their horrendous murders at the hand of their father brought the case of missing Utah mom Susan Powell to a devastating peak, making us question what West Valley law officials and social services could have done to save the innocent lives.
“We were doing everything we could to keep them safe and healthy and that was all taken away by a selfish cowardly act--slaughtered two innocent children,” said Chuck Cox, Charlie and Braden’s grandfather.
Four months later, 6-year-old Sierra Newbold was found drowned in a canal, after being kidnapped from her parents West Jordan home in the middle of the night. The community came together to remember the smiling, happy girl, and donations and fundraisers grew in number to help her mourning family. A month later, through a combination of dedicated police work and good Samaritans--Terry Lee Black was arrested and charged with her rape and murder.
Beyond the tragedies, Utah news was also one of hope and rescue. In January, a family of four whose car plunged into the Logan River was saved by strangers who jumped into the freezing water and pulled the mother and three young children out of their submerged vehicle, to safety.
The Presidential Elections brought the LDS faith into the headlines, and the Mormon moment made 2012 history. Mitt Romney was the first Mormon to win the nomination.
LDS missionary applications more than quadrupled when the LDS church announced an age change for those desiring to serve. Women are now able to serve at age 19, instead of 21, and men at 18, instead of 19.
Just this month, Utah lost another little one in the second worst school shooting in history—Ogden’s own Emilie Parker was killed in her first grade class at Sandy Hook Elementary, and laid to rest just weeks ago in Ogden. Silent night was sung at her funeral.
“She had been practicing these songs---she was unable to sing them to us, so we are singing them for her, “explained her aunt Jill.
Governor Herbert spoke at Emilie's funeral, and said that Utahan's have come together in the wake of tragedy, to help, and comfort, and lift.
“All of your tributes.....to see your love be expressed was so meaningful,” said Emilie’s father Robbie Parker.
Charlie, Braden, Sierra and Emilie—and others we have lost—became everyone's children. They were Utah's children.
Governor Herbert concluded, saying "As a state, we can remember Emilie’s example, so that we can all say we are friends.” And he encouraged people to find ways to make life better, just like Emilie did.