Today I’d like to thank the many individuals in the Yalecrest community who enrich my life and the lives of those around them. This collective heart of our neighborhood is comprised of not just one or two good people, but thousands of individuals contributing in small and simple ways to a greater good. Sometimes these efforts are gallant and noticeable; others are quietly offered and humbly received. From volunteering at our local schools, conversationally checking us out at the grocery store, organizing community events, or being the friendliest neighbor around, these individuals give us exactly what we need—themselves in the moment they are placed or in a position they must rise to meet.
This Thanksgiving, I want to bring a few of these faces to the forefront for our annual #gratefulyalecrest campaign. These are individuals who have made a significant impression on me in my personal and professional life. Some I have known well for many years, others I have mostly admired from afar.
I challenge you to take a moment to find someone in your community who has enriched your life on a macro or micro level over the next few days. Recognize them in a way that might feel a little uncomfortable: introduce yourself to the kind-looking lady you pass on your morning walks; give a more sincere “thank you” to the crossing guard or the person behind the counter; tell your nextdoor neighbor why you are grateful for them; write a letter to a teacher, a school volunteer, a friend, or a community representative.
Give thanks where thanks is due as we kick of this grand season of giving. Be grateful for the little things that make our lives better and more joyful; these are indeed the big things in life. Let us all be #gratefulyalecrest together.
Don’t let her name fool you; “Bad Betty” as she is affectionately known at Emigration Market is about as good as it gets. She has been checking out and bagging groceries for as long as anyone can remember. Kids who once counted pennies for Betty are now watching their own do the same. She is friendly and almost chatty if you ask her how she is or talk about the good old days. Betty reminds us that Yalecrest feels more like a small town in a big city than a city suburb; we are grateful she is still serving us with a smile (or a nod) after all these years.
JENNIE AND WARREN LLOYD
If everyone in the world were like Jennie and Warren Lloyd, the world as we know it would be unrecognizable. Not only would it be spectacularly designed, but filled with compassion and civility that reaches across lines and beyond borders. Many thanks to Jennie and Warren Lloyd for fearlessly raising an international family, running a conscientious architectural firm, and bringing people and communities together.
While some of us may worry about moving a city or state away, Delilah Martis has never feared a change of scene. She and her husband Gautam moved their family to Salt Lake City from Mangalore, India in 2015. Since then, she has thrown herself into volunteering at the local elementary, middle and high schools. She is the first to give a “hello” when you see her around the neighborhood and is quick to invite you over the best home-cooked Indian meal you will every have. We are grateful to Delilah for showing us all how to get outside ourselves and step into a new community with grace and gusto.
Bryce Jolley recalls fond memories of sauntering from his childhood home on Michigan Avenue to where the Jolley’s building now stands. “I’d stop by Family Variety and then wander into Fernwood’s where I’d sit at the old-fashioned soda fountain and order an ice cream.” Back then, everyone knew his name and at a very young age he understood the value of a close-knit community.
At 103, Phyllis is Yalecrest’s oldest resident. This gritty lady, who doesn’t look a day over 80, is still pressing swedish cookies, visiting family near and abroad, and giving sage advice (read her short biography and Secrets for a Happy Life). She lived through the Depression, supported family and country while her brother and husband served in WWII, found herself divorced and sole provider for her family in the 1950s, and lived another half century after that.
We are grateful for Phyllis’s perspective on life. In her own words, “The hardest part about being  is that it’s lonely. I’ve seen everyone around me pass away. But my attitude is positive. I think positive about people, religion, books, food. I like people—all kinds of people. And I don’t get discouraged easily…I think our country has a lot of things to worry about today. People ask me about the Depression, and the War, but right now feels as tenuous as it was back then. But we need to stay positive, good things always come in the end.”
One would imagine Melissa Ford has been serving on PTA boards since she was young enough to cut her teeth on a No. 2 pencil. In truth, she has been serving in schools since her oldest entered kindergarten and has put in thousands of volunteer hours at Bonneville Elementary, Clayton Middle School and East High since. This mom of four is now a powerhouse for good throughout the Salt Lake Valley as our neighborhood’s representative on the Salt Lake School Board. Best of all, she practices what she preaches—believing that the smallest changes can make the biggest impact in the life of a student.
This year is Nanette Kearl’s sixteenth year directing Clayton Junior High’s musical production and her nineteenth directing the Clayton Dance Concert. There must be some sort of Guiness Book of World Record she has broken for teaching thousands of junior high students to sing and dance like Broadway stars. It is truly miraculous watching her mentor awkward 12-14 year old students into confidant actors. I’ve heard it said, “No one else but Nanette can get those kids to do the things they do.”
We’d like to thank Nanette for the thousands of hours she and her family have given to our community bringing these marvelous productions to life. Nanette acknowledges the many, many hands that help her every year, “The Clayton play is all volunteer, we as volunteers are all on the same level and together keep our collective focus on the kids. It’s the best way.”
Sheri Gibb is a bit like a Russian nesting doll: talent upon talent stacked neatly inside waiting to open under the right circumstance. Sheri’s latest venture as founder and executive director of Clever Octopus, Inc. has unleashed three of her hidden talents: a passion for art, reuse and teaching.
When Sheri isn’t reclaiming and repackaging unique craft and manufacturing supplies at the Clever Octopus Reuse Center, you’ll find her buzzing around the valley in her Octopod teaching STEM-based art programs. She leads a free class for children every Tuesday afternoon at the Anderson Library and is often the first to offer the Octopod for Yalecrest community events.
We are grateful to Sheri for sharing her visionary, environmentally-conscious creativity with our neighborhood and trying to change how we all perceive and use landfill waste. I like to think of her as saving the world (and our creative minds) one saved button, skein of paper, or ball of yarn at a time!
Every Abbott needs their Costello; every Lone Ranger their Tonto; every Lucy their Ricky. I’m not sure who is who in this partnership of 18 years, but I know for a fact that I couldn’t do what I do without Dave. We have been on a grand adventure since our start-up days at BYU Business School: surviving a Wall Street career, pushing through an MBA at UCLA and now growing roots for the past eight years in our blessed city of Salt Lake. Dave has literally given his sweat, blood and tears for our family, home and community. I admire his devotion, passion and brilliant mind. My greatest treasure is Dave and our children.